My Life In Overalls

I didn’t balk at the fashion trendsetters when they proclaimed overalls were back. I actually became giddy with excitement inside. You see, overalls have been a part of my wardrobe repeatedly throughout my life. But it hasn’t always been a love affair. I actually tried to breakaway from the convenient onesie, only to revisit the look a few times later. My mom had a habit of dressing me in pastel-colored overalls with a matching top and socks when I was 3 or 4 years old. She wanted me to have clothes that were easy to take off and put on because the daycare teachers weren’t allowed to help the little kids undress. It all makes sense to me now, but back then, I thought she was stifling my creativity.

After one shopping trip, my mom was showing me all that she bought for me. She kept pulling out overalls and tops and socks. I couldn’t contain my disappoint any longer and exclaimed, “Openralls, openralls, all the time openralls! Whadya think, I’m a farmer?”

My mom looked slightly crushed, and my grandmother, who has always had my back when it comes to fashion, was dying of laughter. She too had noticed my mom often dressed me in overalls, and, knowing I was a highly opinionated loudmouth child, was probably waiting for me to express some displeasure. My mom stopped buying me overalls, and once I grew out of the ones I already owned, I didn’t get any new ones.

That is until I was about 7 or 8 years old and Punky Brewster had the flyest fashion to me. I rocked my denim overalls just liked she did. I wanted to be like her so much that I even had her Punky Power sneakers and wore a bandanna tied around my knee like she did. I would wear those overalls until they were filthy and my mom had to beg me to let her wash them. Ah, those were the days, when a kid could be dirty and content. What’s even better is that my older cousin, Tia, grew much faster than I did, so when she outgrew her denim overalls, I got them!

It’s funny how a child can be so fearless and couldn’t care less about style or how others judge her, but then a few years later her style is stunted by wanting to conform. I remember my mom coming home from Bloomingdale’s one evening and excitedly showing me a pair of white cotton overalls and a T-shirt with a large question mark. My cousin assured me that Guess? was the height of fashion for kids around age 10. I didn’t care, though. All I could think about were the kids at day camp saying I looked like a painter. Even though I don’t remember getting teased when wearing my white overalls, I never wore them with confidence and, as a result, had a bit of guilt because I knew my mom paid a lot for them. I was glad to be rid of them when I outgrew them and they were given to charity.

After I had come into my fashion own several years later and liked standing out amongst the conformist teenagers, I once again owned my overalls, which happened to be Guess? again. Gone were the days of my top and socks matching my overalls and the haphazard Punky dressing. I juxtaposed my workwear-style, stonewash overalls with more refined items. I loved wearing a white button-down shirt that had French cuffs that tied, a mustard yellow oversized blazer, yellow print scarf tied around my neck, and brown lace-up oxford ankle boots.

Now that I think about it, that’s exactly how I would wear overalls today, but I’d switch the boots for a killer pair of platform shoes. I’m excited for overalls once again because they’re basically a jumpsuit. Also, overalls aren’t something you’ll see everyone wearing because some folks aren’t that fearless or creative. Below is the way I imagine I’ll wear my new overalls when they’re actually in my possession. And I wonder when the next wave of overalls for me will materialize. Will I be 35, 45, or 55?

1. Paxton Tweed Blazer, $59.50, Delia’s
2. Women’s Bib Overall, $34.99 to $36.99, Dickie’s
3. Walkhigh Strappy Sandals, $89, Jessica Simpson Collection
4. Fossil “Vintage Reissue Lock” Leather Crossbody Satchel, $238, Nordstrom
5. Aerie striped Boatneck T, $24.50, American Eagle Outfitters
6. Boudoir Scarf, $39.20, Hayden-Harnett