If you are shopping for winter coats, perhaps you have come across a chore coat. These types of coats have been around for several generations, but what exactly are they used for? What is the purpose of a chore coat?
The chore coat is primarily used as an outdoor work coat, although in recent decades it has gained popularity as a casual coat. It is often worn by farmers, ranchers, and other outdoor trades that need a work coat that has plenty of pockets for storage. Chore coats almost always finish past the waist to provide extra weather protection below the waistline.
Chore coats are most typically made with either cotton denim, cotton canvas, or cotton twill, although other materials can also be used. Twill and denim make for a comfortable work coat, while canvas provides abrasion resistance and is good for those working in rugged environments.
Some chore coats are insulated, but not all are (if you need something insulated, Carhartt does offer a blanket lined chore coat). They are often loose-fitting coats that can be easily slipped on over normal work clothes. The loose-fit design also allows for plenty of space to freely move while wearing the chore coat.
Many chore coats have 4 front-side pockets (2 chest, 2 hip), which are the signature design aspect of a chore coat. You can also find chore coats that just have 2 or 3 front pockets. Some chore coats may also have an internal pocket for storing essentials.
In this article let’s take a closer look at the purpose of chore coats and examine the pros and cons so you can decide whether or not they are a good option for you.
What is the Purpose of a Chore Coat?
As we discussed above, the chore coat is primarily used as an outdoor workwear coat, although in recent decades it has gained popularity as a casual coat.
The chore coat is often worn by farmers, ranchers, and other outdoor trades that need a work coat that has plenty of pockets for storage. Chore coats almost always finish past the waist to provide extra weather protection below the waistline.
What is the History of the Chore Coat?
The idea for the chore coat came from overseas in France and was fashioned for the comfort of the working person who needed something comfortable to wear to be able to get the job done. To see more about the chore coat and its use, see below.
It was designed as a hardy piece of outerwear made from a cotton drill, woven to be solid and dense, and used specifically for this type of garment. This coat was used by:
- Railroad Workers
- Construction workers
- Truck drivers
Since the time of its creation, the coat has traveled to the United States and is used by workers. Some aspects of the coat make it suitable for accomplishing your chores without your attire getting in your way.
Material Used for a Chore Coat
Although a wide range of materials may be used to make a chore coat, the primary three are:
- Cotton Twill
- Cotton Canvas
- Cotton Denim
Chore coats are most typically made with either cotton denim, cotton canvas, or cotton twill, although other materials can also be used (for example, wool). Twill and denim make for a comfortable work coat, while canvas provides abrasion resistance and is good for those working in rugged environments.
- Canvas Chore Coats – Canvas is an ultra durable material that can take on rugged work environments. Because of this, canvas is a popular material in chore coats for farmers, ranchers, and other outdoor trades. To see options, visit our article about the best chore coats made with canvas.
- Denim Chore Coats – Denim is also reasonably durable, but it is not as durable as canvas. Denim is the most classic design for a chore coat, and is more comfortable to wear than canvas. Because of this, most casual chore coats are made with denim.
For example, here is a close-up look at the canvas material used in my Patagonia chore coat. The reason I like the Patagonia chore coat is they use a canvas fabric blend that is more comfortable to wear than other types of canvas.
Design of a Chore Coat
Chore coats are loose fitting and finish just below the hip. Initially, chore coats were made with buttons down the front, but now you can find them with heavy-duty snaps. The coat is made with:
- Either one or two large external chest pockets
- Roomy hip pocket on each side
- Button front closure
- Buttons or snaps at the wrist
- Loose-fitting design
Some chore coats will also have an internal pocket for storing essential in out of the weather. Many companies (for example, my Carhartt chore coat below) like to accent the collar with corduroy or sherpa to add style and warmth.
Chore coats have a sturdy design that does not get in your way when you are trying to complete your work. It is designed to provide plenty of pockets for storage.
It is important to note that chore coats do not have an attached hood. The loose fit allows for the addition of a jacket with a hood underneath if needed.
As we discussed earlier in the article, most chore coats are not insulated with a lining. But the loose fit design allows you to layer underneath as needed.
Many companies will use a bi-swing back design for their chore coats. This means the shoulders will be gusseted so that you arms are able to move freely while wearing the chore coat. Here is a look at the bi-swing back of my Carhartt chore coat:
Unfortunately, most chore coats present day are imported and made overseas. If you prefer American made workwear, and want to explore your options, visit our article about the best chore coats made in the USA.
Cruiser jackets are designed similarly to chore coats. To read more about cruiser jackets, and their purpose, visit my article What is a Cruiser Jacket?
Pros and Cons of the Chore Coat
Advantages of a Chore Coat
- Durable – Material used can often take on a rugged work environment.
- Drop Tail – Chore coats finish past the waist and provide extra weather protection below the belt.
- Storage – Plenty of pockets for storage
- Loose Fit – Allows you to layer underneath and provides needed space to move freely
Disadvantages of a Chore Coat
- Unlined – Most chore coats are not insulated with a lining, meaning you will need to layer underneath in extreme cold.
- No hood – Most chore coats do not have a hood
- Tool Belts – Because chore coats don’t have a cuffed waist, they don’t pair easily with tool belts.
- Button Front – If you prefer a zipper front, most chore coats are designed with a button front.
- Heavy – Because chore coats are long and use durable materials, they often weigh more than normal jackets.