In Praise Of Coveralls

My esteemed colleague and coverall advocate David Tracy with a fine double-full-zip number. Via David Dissects
My esteemed colleague and coverall advocate David Tracy with a fine double-full-zip number. Via David Dissects

It didn’t take me long in my days of wrenching on a shitty, terrible, always-broken old Volkswagen before I realized that I was quickly running out of junky clothes. Too many of my pants and too many of my shirts retired to running duty were getting greasy beyond use. I needed something.


Things were particularly bad if I ever dared to wear anything nice in my Volkswagen. If I happened to take my Baja out for a drive on a day that I wore some clothes that I actually liked, my car would sense this (probably by smell) and immediately choose to break down.

This would set me with the choice of saying goodbye to, say, my cool old Yosemite shirt, or saying hello to a tow truck driver because the starter gave out again.

If only, I thought to myself, I could have a set of clothes, sturdy and wear-resistant, that I could wear instead of my regular clothes. Maybe I could even procure a single item of clothing that could go on as a cover on all of my clothes. Some kind of all-covering clothing unit.

It came to like a shock of electricity, like the time I used my finger to test replacing a spark plug wire with a set of jumper cables: coveralls!

Now, coveralls weren’t alien to me. I used to wear a big grey mechanic’s jumpsuit on rainy days with a big raincoat, as it reduced number of items I would need to hang to dry when the day was done. Plus I liked the look. I also used to always see construction workers in overalls while I was in Germany all the damn time, in a way that you never see America’s jacket-over-t-shirt-over-dickies construction workers dressed.

That’s right! Coveralls.

So now I’m equipped with two pairs of coveralls, one thin for the summer and one insulated for the winter. Not only have they proved extremely useful, keeping my normal people clothes clean while rooting around doing carburetor adjustments in the snow or scrubbing off the corrosion on a busted headlight connector, but they have also proved themselves to be remarkably comfortable.


Every time I go out to some car event I am stunned that coveralls are not being worn by literally everyone I see. It’s madness!

I am bummed that I can’t always be in a loose and relaxed set of coveralls, springing up where ever I need to go. I mean, I could, but my coworkers would look at me weird. And I’d become the guy in the coveralls. And I’d probably eventually get fired. And people would wonder where that onesie guy went.


In any case, it is now the time for me to conclude this rambling, bad, trash blog. I do hope that in reading this you consider to look into the potential of coveralls. You yourself may have wondered what to do about your wrenching getting your normal people clothes dirty. You may have thought that wearing a jumpsuit would make you look like an old-timey train engineer. But coveralls are practical, comfortable and stylish, too. Give one a try, you will not be disappointed.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.


Wait. So which coveralls do you recommend?