An old wives’ tale states that: at one time or another, every discerning middle-aged man has either owned, yearned after or dreamt about the perfect overshirt. And while we can neither confirm or deny whose wife actually said that, we’re certain it’s fully, 100% true.
For those not familiar with the term, an overshirt is a shirt-jacket hybrid that can be worn as a single layer, mid-layer or — as the “over” suggests — a top layer. Such is its unrivaled versatility, the humble overshirt has become a mainstay in every fashion-conscious man’s wardrobe, whether they like it or not.
Originally worn by labourers and artists across Europe in the early 20th century, the overshirt was initially devised to cover up suits and ties in an era before uniforms and overalls. Slightly oversized and box-cut, each piece traditionally boasted three pockets: one on the breast to stash tools and two bellows pockets on each side — a feature still common now.
During the war, British troops even began sporting their own four-pocket iteration of the overshirt — often out of cotton drill or flannel — seeing it as a practical garment thanks to its foray of pockets.
Fast-forward almost a century and the perfect “shacket” — as boring menswear poets tend to call it — has been attempted by a myriad of labels over the years, yet only one really continually manages to hit the spot: Italian outerwear aficionados Stone Island.
Unlike a lot of its product, Stone Island’s focus is less on functionality and innovation when it comes to overshirts, but more on aesthetics and experimenting. From shimmering iridescent nylons that change colour in different lights, to crinkled cotton hemp blends and breathable cotton-nylon poplins, the brand’s penchant of playing with fabrics and dying techniques to create unique pieces has ensured it continues to push fashion’s boundaries — all the while still retaining the original DNA of a classic overshirt.
While the brand offers a plethora of cotton and understated overshirts in almost any colour you can think of, its garment-dyeing technology has led to some of its most outstanding pieces. Through a blend of nylon, cotton and polyester (a trio that rarely works), Stone Island is able to experiment with colours and tones like no other. Such is its sheer attention to detail, the resulting garment is always something that can only that of Stone Island (with or without the patch).
So whether you’re after a zip-up lightweight jacket for the summer months, a flannel button-up for the winter or a iridescent showpiece that will make you look as hard as nails and glow like you deserve, you can’t go far wrong by shopping for an overshirt from the game’s very best outerwear oracle.