Spring Shopping Guide: Overalls

Once upon a time, I was a teenager and it was the '90s. I was in high school right at the peak of the grunge era, so I have a particular sentimentality for plaid flannels, babydoll dresses, and Doc Martens. And while fashion has been flirting with a '90s revival for some time now, so far I've passed on most of it because, let's face it, a woman of my age should not be wearing a bustier top in public. But, one particular item has been popping up on the street style blogs lately, and  I. Cannot. Resist. That item is overalls. Yes, overalls. I had a fantastic pair from the Gap; they were a very lightweight denim with wide legs, and the sides drooped just so. I used to wear them with everything from thermals to, yes, those cropped baby tees, but my favorite thing to do was wear a (relatively) sexy bodysuit underneath. (Side note: remember bodysuits? Those were fantastic. Can we bring them back, please, fashion industry?) Now that I'm feeling rather nostalgic for my 15-year-old self, I will note that today's overalls have been somewhat updated given the denim trends of the last few years, but I have a feeling they will still be straight-up man repellers. Don't let that stop you.

Remember two years ago when we were all wearing leather leggings? Apparently the fashion world has moved on, because now there are these roomy Chagall leather overalls from Acne, arbiter of all that is hip. The shape actually recalls that of my old Gap faves--wide-legged and androgynous--but the thought of wearing these makes me want to sweat. Well, that and the $2200 price tag.

These Milly overalls are also leather, but at half the price of the Acne pair and, in white with the classic buckle straps, somewhat more traditional looking. I also like the Helmut Newtony way they're styled here with just a bra underneath (although this might also be a good time to break out that bustier top).

I love the straight-up '70s look of these Philosophy overalls, and with the flared shape of the leg, elongating seams, and high waist, they might be the most flattering of the bunch here. Which isn't saying much, but you know.

My 15-year-old self would have loved these Levi's Bib & Brace overalls, and my current-day self does too. They're so androgynous and perfectly aged, and they look like they're straight out of Madonna's "Express Yourself" video, so bonus!

Current Elliott's Ranch Hand overalls are arguably the pair that inspired this entire post; anecdotally speaking, I'd say they're the ones that turn up the most on the aforementioned street style blogs. They're streamlined, with a straight leg that's relaxed but relatively flattering. They're slouchy, but not sloppy.

These Citizens of Humanity overalls are an equally solid choice, with a more traditional front patch pocket at the bib. I like the faded wash and the subtly slimmer leg. With a cute top and the right shoes, they might even qualify as sexy. Might.

These Big Star overalls sound promising, thanks to a lightweight cotton-linen blend (also making them summer-friendly), and the crisscross back makes them kind of hot. Also a good leg shape--a nice balance between slim and relaxed.

Of course Nasty Gal has overalls. (In case you were wondering, it also has crop tops, plaid, and so on.) I like this pair's light wash, and the fact that they're unapologetically man-repelling. Hello, weekends.

And I don't know why these Forever 21 patchwork overalls are so cheap, but they look a lot more expensive (um, hello Levi's) than they are. My thrift-shopping inner teenager approves.

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