Do This Don't: Sexy Overalls

Think of them as full-body jorts you can carry a cat in.

Feb 2, 2012 at 10:00am | Leave a comment

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If you're like me, people are always telling you what you should and shouldn't do.

Don't drink Diet Mountain Dew after 4PM, Julieanne. Don't put your home address on the Internet, Julieanne. Spit that out, that isn't food, Julieanne. Listen, do you own this parking lot full of rusty screws? Then leave me alone.

But people love nothing else more than telling me how to dress. Specifically, not to wear overalls. A lot of you seem to think that overalls aren't attractive and shouldn't be worn by people who aren't in pipefitters unions or en route to one of those adult baby fetish parties.

So when I realized the old house I just moved into was going to need a bunch of work, I was secretly excited. One, because it would probably give me an opportunity to make a bunch of caulk jokes on Facebook. And two, because I would finally have an excuse to wear overalls.

Historically, people from all walks of life have chosen a two-strapped denim full-body pant. Fly girls, cartoon prospectors, Okies, small children, clowns, Teddy Ruxpin, pregnant women, those guys from "The Perfect Storm," and so on.

In college, I owned a pair that were olive khaki, roomy, and soft -- like wearing paté. I enhanced them with striped shirts and baby bangs, creating a look I call "if Gallagher had ever had a daughter who was way into Mudhoney."

But that was 2004, and they'd been long out of favor even then. My various paramours never really seemed to be that enthusiastic about them, even though I would be mostly nude if I accidentally shrugged too hard. What's sexier than that, I ask you?

People felt the same way about cargo and carpenter jeans. For some reason, superfluous hammer loops on women's clothing aren't considered erotic. But what if the hammer loop weren't superfluous? What if it my overalls were filled with an actual tool?

I've never been a great dresser, and as someone who values substance over style, overalls offer a flowy dress's freedom of movement, while solving the modesty problem of my preferred splayed-legged, drunk-mariachi-leaning-against-a-bar method of sitting.

In Joyce Maynard's memoir about life with JD Salinger, she describes his writing process, which involved changing into coveralls every day before starting his work. Because as we all know, crotch bunch is the cousin of writer's block. I've always wanted to be more like JD Salinger, so it's this or drink my own pee and shoot at people from my porch.

But, practicality aside, overalls do present a few aesthetic issues. How often do you look at yourself in a pair of jeans and think, "These are great, but what if they completely hid my waist and added about six inches of length to my ass?" Often? You're gonna love overalls! Everybody else, consider creating a waist by belting your overalls with a tied-off hoodie. I call this look "Mario Getting His Period," and it's very hot.

There's also the issue of sizing. Not many people make women's overalls in our post Salt-n-Pepa era. Choosing a guy's pair can be difficult, as friends aren't much help with making the conversion. Sample text conversation:

Julieanne: Hey, question I'm a 27" Regular in women's jeans at J. Crew, so what am I in Dickie's extra-sturdy overalls for men?

Unhelpful Friend: Uh, I'd say you're probably a 32" Please Don't.

I went with the smallest men's size available, which turned out to lack just a skunch of give on my woman hips and wet nurse's bosom. No matter -- my new overies (slang patent pending) are soft, warm and roomy, if a little heavier than I expected. Which, incidentally, is exactly how I hope to be described after I wear them on a blind date.

As I refuse to have a photo of me out there on the Internet that isn't sexy, I was hesitant to take a picture for this piece, because, you try smoldering in these things. They're made for comfort and utility, like a sleeping bag or one of those fake vaginas that looks like a flashlight. It's a combo that doesn't necessarily venn diagram into anything approaching skanky, which is what I usually try to go for when taking pictures with Photo Booth.

I briefly considered going full Funky Bunch and doing a shot of me wearing the overalls… ONLY the overalls, like one of your French girls.

But then I thought, man, my Google Image results are already kind of screwed. Plus, the comment has been made before that XOJane is just a bunch of glue addicts trying to show people their breasts. Which, like, not true, Internet, because Helena is really tasteful about her cleavage flashing, Rachael is addicted to couch stuffing, and Bryan doesn't even HAVE breasts (total glue addict though -- v. sad).

But, if you've never called in to one of our editorial meetings, you can mimic the effect at home by doing a Charlie Brown adult voice, but with the word "boobs" instead of "mop mop wop wah." And instead of adults, it's me and Emily.

Lesley: Hey, so I had an idea about --

Julieanne: Boobs Boobs BOOB Boobs

Cat: [Something something orphans Darfur]

Emily: Booby Boob Boob butts? Boobs.

Ultimately, I decided to go for the classic black tank and sports bra look. And look, overalls are hot, but man, is it hard to take a naughty picture of yourself in them.

I live alone and I'm used to contorting into all kinds of weird positions to take smoking hot shots of my lower butt (difficult!), and yes, my boobs are magnificent, but even I had difficulty making this work. The bib, historically, may be the unsexiest adult clothing item since the three-cornered hat.

First I tried my usual foxy duck pucker, but something wasn't right. I wondered: Who had SUCCESSFULLY rocked sexy overalls in the past? Were there some necessary accoutrements was I missing?

Would this work?

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How about this?

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Finally, though, I nailed it.

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Anyhow, I've spent the last couple days painting, writing, eating and generally living out loud in sexy overalls, and I have to suggest you give it a try.

How many clothing items do you own that allow you to drive men insane while drinking a juice box with no hands? It's incredibly freeing, both from a physical and spiritual standpoint.

Fashion being what it is, these things will have to come back into vogue some day, and you and I can say we were on the bleeding edge. In the mean time, I'll feel bad for all of those poor saps still carrying their hammer manually.