First created in 1913 by Henry David Lee for his own factory workers, the pragmatic Lee coverall went on to become the trademark of workman attire, selling over a million units in just three years. Due to its popularity amongst urban blue-collars and rural farmers alike, the U.S. Army adopted it as an official uniform for soldiers in WWI, immortalising the classic image of masculinity.

Bottega Veneta’s fall runway alluded to Lee’s era, opening with a pair of steely blue industrial coveralls, cuffed over heavy black shoes and worn unassumingly under a taupe leather jacket. New York menswear designer Adam Kimmel modernises the look for his collection, combining the rough connotations of the silhouette with the durability of denim for a hybrid that is equal parts rugged and playful. Worn by 90s supermodel Stephanie Seymour in this month’s American Elle, the understated seductiveness of the macho piece is highlighted with white Calvins and chunky gold chains, proving there is unisex appeal to utilitarian chic.


Seymour in Sep 2008 Elle


Bottega Veneta F/W 2008


Vintage ad for Lee coveralls