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This post discusses all you need to know about the shacket trend. Read what this garment is, why it is so popular, why it’s a trend to jump the bandwagon with an investment piece, when to wear it, and how to style it for work and play.

  1. What Is a Shacket?
  2. What Is the Origin of a Shacket?
  3. How Did the Plaid Get into the Mix?
  4. When Did the Overshirt Become Mainstream?
  5. What Made the Shacket a Fashion Must-have?
  6. How to Best Wear a Shacket
  7. Shacket Outfit Ideas
  8. Shacket in a Nutshell
  9. Stylish Monday October Shackets Linkup Party


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What Is a Shacket?

A shacket (ˈʃæk.ɪt/ ) or overshirt is a hybrid shirt-jacket with slightly wider cut than a shirt. It is worn as a jacket due to its thick fabric. Besides the thicker fabric, a shacket usually has two chest pockets instead of one, and bigger buttons than a dress shirt. Most overshirts are unisex.



What Is the Origin of a Shacket?

The origin of the overshirt has roots in workwear, military and household wear of the 19th to early 20th century. In all cases, the garment served to protect the civilian clothing from spills and spots that were inevitable when carrying out the work.

In the 19th century France, blue collar worker wore boxy blue shirts over their everyday wear at work. The overshirts of the workers in the industrial production were blue for two reasons. First, indigo was cheap prior to the invention of the jeans. Second, dark blue still looks great when it is dirty. In other words, the spots and dirty were less obvious then on fabric in other dyes.

French worker pulling a chart in a shirt-jacket which is one of the origins of the shacket trend
Eugène Atget (French, 1857-1927). Chiffonier, 1899–1901, Albumen silver print. 22.2 × 18.1 cm (8 3/4 × 7 1/8 in.), 90.XM.127.4. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles


In the US military, soldiers stationed in the sub-tropics and Tropics wore a shirt in hard-wearing canvas over their T-shirts. More in the history of the plain T-shirt. Due to the soil dust the canvas had a sandy brownish Khaki color to look clean and for camouflage. The British army issued overshirts with bellows pockets on the chest as well as with chunky four-pockets, which have similarity with the style of today’s utility jackets. The pockets served to store everything from shotgun cartridges to a water bottle.

Besides the military and blue collar work fields, artists, housewives, chemists, medical personnel, and other non-blue collar professionals wore a smock over their suits or dresses. Their overshirts were thigh length. White was most common followed by gray.


How Did the Plaid Get into the Mix?

Canadian and North American lumberjacks wore flannel plaid shirts in summer, and plaid wool shirts in spring and fall. On chilly summer evenings in the boreal forest, tightly woven wool shirts are a better protection from the abundant mosquitoes than a knitted cardigan. Furthermore, the properties of wool were advantageous over canvas and /or cotton in the humid coastal climate of British Columbia. More on what to wear in the Pacific Northwest.


When Did the Overshirt Become Mainstream?

Practicality and comfort were reasons for the soldiers to wear part of their old uniforms after the war with their weekend wear. At the same time, the former suppliers had to sell their overstock. They needed the space in their warehouses for the civilian garments that they now produced. People could buy former high quality military clothing at incredibly low prices. See also the history of the duffel coat. The shacket’s function moved from protection of the civilian clothing or uniform to protection from the elements of weather.

Over time, military-inspired trends introduced the shackets to become mainstream. Some people started wearing a thick shirt like a shacket. In the 1970s, trendsetters wore both plaid or military-inspired overshirts over a fine knit turtleneck sweater with jeans or corduroys.

The baby-boomer software developers were too busy to dress in suits, and wore their garage style jeans, Tee, and shacket uniform everywhere. The shacket became work appropriate in the business casual work places with Casual Friday culture on Fridays. In universities in the sciences, it became everyday wear for students and faculty alike. Today, some chemistry and biology students even wear their white or gray lab smocks instead of a jacket when dressing for the transition seasons.


What Made the Shacket a Fashion Must-have?

Not being so stiff like a colored or white denim jacket, the overshirt is as comfortable as a jean jacket. However, since the shacket comes in more different styles, fashionisters and fashionistas alike love it as an alternative to the eternal classic jean jacket. Learn more on why white and colored denim fail to be as soft as jeans.


How to Best Wear a Shacket

You can wear an overshirt in all seasons. It is a perfect layering piece for casual and weekend style. Wear it with jeans and a plain or graphic T-shirt from spring to fall. In winter, layer it over a crewneck, Henley or turtleneck sweater for style instead of just wearing a heavy sweater. Best shoes to wear with a jeans-top-shacket combination are sneakers, ducks, desert boots, hiking boots, walking shoes, loafers, and on rainy days some type of rubber boots like Xtra-tuffs, or Wellies.

When wearing a shacket with a dress or skirt, you can add a feminine vibe to the shacket by adding a belt. Another alternative is to style it like a Tomboy or go for a gamine style.


Shacket Outfit Ideas

The following photos show outfit ideas with three of shackets’ roots and an example of wearing a shirt as a jacket.

Stylish Monday October Shackets party logo showing bloggers featuring the overshirt trend
Hostesses of the Stylish Monday October linkup party. From upper left clockwise Lucy Bertoldi, Amy Johnson, “Shelbee”, Julie Augustyn, Nina Anders, Nicole Mölders


Amy of Amy’s Creative Pursuits and Julie of Fashion Trends and Friends wear their plaid overshirt weekend style with jeans. Julie demonstrates that you can wear plaid with a graphic T-shirt.

Nina of Sharing a Journey keeps her outfit in all neutrals with dress pants and a turtleneck sweater. She demonstrates that you can look posh business casual style in an overshirt in fall. Her outfit is also a perfect winter look in regions with warm or mild winters.

Shelbee of Shelbee on the Edge went for a cute tomboy inspired look with an Empire waist print dress, blue tights boots, wrist warmers and a red beret. She is living proof that you can wear a tomboy look over 40. Her outfit reminds me of what my younger me wore.

Lucy of Lucy presents that you can wear a shirt as a jacket. Her sheer shirt covers the cleavage of her dress. She only buttoned the upper part. Leaving the rest of the buttons open creates an inverted V. It’s a great trick to widen your hips if you want to. Keeping the look monochromatic gives the illusion of height.

My shacket is jeans (see the next two photos) like those of the French workers. The patching is a DIY. I made this shirt-jacket a while ago for a tutorial on how to make a patched shirt. Interestingly, I always styled it with skirts.


blogger showing all you need to know about the shacket trend regarding to styling
Oliveo shirt patched myself, Loft top, H&M skirt, Modalu Pippa tote, L.K. Bennett snake print plateau open toe pumps, DIY belt Hermes collier de chien bangle, Hipstik pantyhose, personalized cuff and name necklace both c/o ONecklace


stylist wearing the shacket trend with a skirt
DIY patched Oliveo denim shacket, DIY white leather belt, Vintage Silk shirt turned into a skirt, Salvatore Ferragamo shoes, Festina watch and Hermes collier de chien bangle.


Wrapping Up All You Need to Know about the Shacket Trend

The shackets roots in the work and military wear mean that this garment is incredibly comfortable and permits movement. Being lighter than a jacket, but thicker than a shirt made the piece perfect as a season-transitional outerwear and coverup on summer evening when the downdrafts from thunderstorms and evaporation chilled the air. Therefore, everyone needs one.

As demonstrated in this post, overshirts are versatile to style. While the boxy style can be unflattering, belting permits a flattering feminine look. Depending on the fabric and whether it is a solid color or plaid the shirt-jacket can be even work appropriate in a Casual Friday setting or with the right companying clothes and accessories even posh business casual.

It’s a big trend right now and has the potential to stay as an ageless classic wardrobe staple. Therefore, this trend is worth investing in a high quality overshirt that meets your lifestyle.


Stylish Monday October Shackets Linkup Party

Welcome to the Stylish Monday October linkup party. You are invited to linkup your awesome Instagram and blog outfit posts. Visit my friends’ blogs for more overshirt outfit inspirations.


Entrance to the Party Room


Photos Courtesy to these bloggers
Photos of me: G. Kramm

© 2013-2021 Nicole Mölders | All Rights Reserved

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Lucy Bertoldi

    I love how you styled your shacket! And you know how much I love a good dose of interesting fashion history- thanks for sharing all this good stuff!! You look amazing and always so interesting to drop by here and read your posts xx

  2. shelbeeontheedge1

    Nicole, I really enjoyed the history of shirt jackets and your denim one is so incredibly cool! I love all the patches on it and the different ways you have styled it. Well done!


  3. Amy Johnson

    Such a good write up about shackets. Thanks for sharing this. Love your jean shacket!