When a certain menswear style proves itself truly timeless, reliable and durable over and over again – like the chore coat – it’s worth giving that style a good, long look. Over the years, I’ve found the chore coat to be an indispensable fall layer.
It features plentiful pockets for your everyday carry, it expertly blends rugged appeal with easygoing style, and it’s the sort of jacket I tend to throw on at a moment’s notice.
It’s just plain useful and it’s also casually stylish and effortlessly cool, from a day hike to a brewery visit to an afternoon in the field. Personally, there aren’t that many days when I’m not wearing a chore coat in the fall months.
Chore coats deserve a rightful place in your fall wardrobe, alongside rugged staples like your new favorite henley, and there’s a laundry list of reasons why you need one.
If you really need to get the most out of your chore coat – particularly on cold fall and early winter mornings – then a tried-and-true workwear brand should be your go-to shopping move.
Take Carhartt, for instance: The company’s hard-working gear is the stuff of legend, and this duck canvas chore coat is overbuilt in all the right ways, from the insulated blanket lining to exceptionally tough hardware. It’s also cut with room to move, so you can layer up to your heart’s content.
I grew up wearing Carhartt during frigid winter mornings and crisp fall days in the yard back in Michigan, and I still trust the brand for its timeless appeal.
The fact that Carhartt jackets are exceptionally warm and yet perfectly on-trend is a nice added bonus for my days and nights sipping craft beer in Brooklyn.
This is the kind of piece I personally love from the L.A.-based Americana brand. It looks timeless, it functions as a blazer or as a perfectly useful travel jacket, and it’s also the right weight to rock over everything from a thermal crewneck to one of Buck Mason’s super-soft pima cotton tees (another personal favorite of mine).
Wear this heavy-yet-soft wool coat to the office or wear it out and about with the collar gently upturned–or bring it on a camping trip for brisk fall mornings. It’s one piece that can do a bit of everything.
Spring and fall days can throw a bit of everything your way, from a dewy morning to a blustery afternoon. The chore coat is the right menswear move to take on those challenges in terms of weather and a variety of fall pursuits, but here’s the thing: Some chore coats tend to show wear and tear. Not the Wills Wrinkle Free Chore Coat, specifically engineered to avoid wrinkles over a hard day’s work.
The polyester-linen blend is also lighter and more breathable than other chore coats on this list.
Remember what we said about old-school workwear brands still delivering some of the best chore coats for men on the market? Dickies proudly carries on that lineage, and that’s saying something coming from a brand with more than a century of history.
Its 100 percent cotton canvas exterior is treated with a DWR finish for weather-ready performance, but Dickies didn’t stop there. The famed workwear brand outfitted this coat with triple-needle reinforced stitching and snap-closure pockets for added utility and toughness. It also comes in the company’s classic Brown Duck colorway.
Be prepared to see the chore coat in a whole new light with this edition from Bonobos. I personally appreciate the way the brand designs its excellent chino pants with a range of fits, fabrics and colors – a new way to see the chino – and this chore coat carries on the brand’s penchant for swerving (ever-so-slightly) from the norm.
The use of British tweed, blended with classic chore coat details, gives this jacket a countryside sensibility, as with old hunting jackets. That fabric is also polished enough to wear to the office, though.
The chore coat might have roots as a hard-working jacket made for down-and-dirty situations, but Todd Snyder levels up the classic silhouette with a dash of refinement and elegance. That process is something of a specialty for the famed American designer, and he’s spared no expense designing one of the best chore coats out there.
Italian corduroy cotton should prove smooth and soft, while the boxy fit makes it easy to wear this chore coat atop a Snyder-approved chambray or Japanese Oxford shirt.
Chore coats are the ultimate hybrid jacket, in my personal experience. The best chore coats can be worn in situations beyond just tackling yard work – Alex Mill proves that the design can look classy, cool and highly versatile, especially in a pleasingly faded garment dye.
The use of recycled denim and natural cotton gives it a touch of sustainability, while the details are all right on the money, including a useful button chest pocket and three front patch pockets for your EDC. Alex Mill suggests wearing this jacket casually or using it as a blazer substitute.
I’ve personally styled my Alex Mill jackets with everything from a henley to a classic Oxford shirt, and then mixed in combinations like dark blue denim or tan corduroy pants.
Faherty puts incredible fabric at the forefront of its designs, from shirting to sweaters, and they’ve taken some of that same care and translated it into a warm, blanket-lined coat that certainly ranks among the best chore coats for men.
The CPO style was worn by Chief Petty Officers in blustery, brisk conditions, and the cotton exterior and useful hip pockets should prove mighty useful in navigating treacherous fall weather.
Looking for a chore coat well-suited for more temperate weather – like that of San Francisco, perhaps? California’s own Taylor Stitch looked to its own backyard for style inspiration, using breezy, durable cotton hemp in a rich Espresso shade to build this hybrid fall jacket.
Touches like dark horn buttons – secured with a back ring – make it exceptionally durable, while the style once again hits the mark between that of a rugged fall jacket and a cool-as-can-be blazer replacement.
Pair it with faded Taylor Stitch jeans and a sturdy henley for high-low autumn style. Seven additional styles available.
Seeing as the chore coat originated in France and was trusted by tradesmen and women across the region for years, it only makes sense that this French heritage brand would deliver a style that’s pleasingly designed for today’s modern age.
This is described as a “genuine French work jacket” by the retailer Huckberry, who knows a thing or two about rugged style. And it’s got all the classic trappings of the piece, from three sturdy front pockets to soft-yet-durable cotton moleskin fabric. It also comes in timeless colors like a rich blue, but other earthy shades are just as fall-friendly.
Patagonia is a dream brand for anyone who appreciates high-performing gear and a commitment to sustainability. They’ve boiled that all down into its Iron Forge line of work pants and work coats, namely by using a proprietary 12.5oz. Iron Forge hemp canvas fabric.
That fabric is incredibly abrasion-resistant, while hemp is a plant that regenerates soil as it grows. It doesn’t hurt that this coat is impossibly tough, made with a bi-swing back for ease of movement, and designed with half-a-dozen pockets for everything your EDC requires.
There isn’t exactly a menswear hall of fame, but if there were, Filson would be deserving of an esteemed place within those walls.
The brand has humble roots as a Pacific Northwest outfitter, an aim from which they’ve never wavered over the years. That means the Tin Cloth Work Jacket should prove every bit as reliable now as decades ago.
This edition uses the brand’s abrasion-resistant and weather-ready Tin Cloth fabric to turn an archival wool jacket into a weather-ready waxed option for years of wear.
Finding the right chore coat at the right price is all part of the journey to building out your rotation of expertly crafted fall layers. Legendary Whitetails makes it easy to check off a few boxes at once with its aptly named Tough as Buck Chore Coat.
This jacket is priced extremely affordably, for starters, but it’s the added bells and whistles that take it from “nice to have” to a “must-have” this fall (and beyond).
Red plaid lining delivers warmth, a front storm flap provides coverage in dicey weather, and riveted pockets can stand up to anything (as can the reinforced front chest design).
For crossing over into brisk fall days, it’s best to level things up in your layering rotation without overdoing it. So, while it’s not quite cold enough to throw on a down-filled parka or bomber jacket, you very well might want a jacket with a bit more substance to it.
Most chore coats are made from hard-wearing materials like canvas or sturdy cotton denim, the better to take on autumn breezes from day to night when worn atop a fall flannel or thermal shirt.
I personally love to wear my chore coat that very same way – atop a flannel shirt for added warmth, or over a henley for classically rugged style. I’ve found either of those options perform well for fall’s best pursuits, like upstate apple picking, farmer’s market visits or brewery beers (or a combination of all three).
I’m of the opinion that you can (and should) wear your chore for casually cool style situations. And yet, the right chore coat – one from a workwear brand like Carhartt, for instance – is a rough-and-tumble piece when your endless list of fall projects beckons.
Chore coats stay true to their original roots even in modern times, with a variety of chest and hip pockets, some secured by buttons and others featuring rivets. The design also often features a front button-up build, with oversized buttons for easy access.
The chore coat also often hits below the hip, giving you valuable coverage when you need it the most. Yes indeed, the best chore coats really are made for taking on tough chores (or just making your way across town in rugged fall fashion).
The style was valued by tradesmen and workers, originally in places like France and eventually, in places like the Wild West, as items made of denim found their way into dusty workwear wardrobes, but today’s chore coats use stretch fabric and modern designs.
History lesson aside, let’s get one thing straight: You definitely can use a rugged, dependable chore coat in your autumn style rotation.