Overshirt - The smart casual layering piece


A little bit jacket, a little bit shirt and a whole lot of style. Overshirts are the casually elegant alternative to unlined jackets for the transitional season and perfect for the layering look.

Discover the other must-haves of our clothes and complete your layering look with chinos, polo shirts, t-shirts or shirts.

Where does the overshirt come from?

The history of the overshirt or "shacket" (short for shirt + jacket) dates back to the last century. While the traditional dress shirt has been around since the Middle Ages, this variation of the most classic of all menswear pieces is still relatively young. In the 1980s, US Army soldiers were outfitted with uniforms made of cotton that was soft and lightweight, yet kept them warm. With chest pockets for more functionality and dyed in the green tones of the army, it was called "Battle Dress Uniform". This was the birth of the overshirt, which has been popularized by a variety of fashion brands over the past 40 years.

So the shacket, or overshirt, is definitely of military origin, as are so many other garments. And that makes sense, because military clothing needs to be both durable and comfortable, and after all, those are two factors that make a good garment. By the way, some troops still wear the so-called "Battle Dresses".

olive green overshirt

What does an overshirt look like?

The shacket is like a classic shirt only more robust, more casual and less figure-hugging, because it is worn as a layering piece over other garments. The similarity starts with the typical shirt collar, whose collar leafs are usually kept straight and short on an overshirt.

Then come the buttons, which are just as present on a classic overshirt as they are on a dress shirt. Of course, there are also some overshirts that tend more towards the jacket and have a zipper instead of buttons, but we prefer the original and timeless style of the typical overshirt with a full-length button placket and buttoned shirt sleeves. This way, you can easily roll up the sleeves. And because it's so practical, we went for two buttoned chest pockets where you can safely stow your keys, chewing gum or credit card.

Speaking of secure: two side pockets round off the overall package of the shacket. On our overshirts, the right pocket has a hidden zipper, making it the perfect place for your cell phone. Much better than your back pocket and less risky to end up sitting on it.

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How to style overshirts?

Do you wear an overshirt open or buttoned up? That's the real question here. We like both and that's the beauty of it, the simple matter of personal preference.

You can see your shacket as a supporting actor and wear it open over the actual key piece of your outfit, such as a special shirt. In that case, go for stripes or checks in similar or complementary shades of your overshirt.

However, you can also make the overshirt the main character and wear it buttoned up over a plain t-shirt. This way, the details like pockets and buttons will show up better.

blue overshirt

And when it's cooler, a light fine knit sweater also fits under the shacket. So the overshirt becomes more of a jacket and serves as a windbreaker.

For the rest of the outfit, anything goes, from chinos to jeans to shorts. Since the overshirt is a bit more casual than dressy, the choice of bottoms can set the tone of your look.

lightweight overshirts

What fabric are overshirts made of?

Shackets are now available for every season. In winter they are made of thick wool flannel, in summer of pure linen and in between of cotton or other natural blended fabrics.

Our overshirts are made of 16% linen and 84% cotton. For us, this is the ideal mix for a robust but light summer fabric that still provides enough warmth on cooler days. Visually and to the touch, linen makes for a pretty texture that we especially like for summer looks.

Linen and cotton are also easy-care, antibacterial and absorbent. This helps prevent unpleasant sweaty odors from the start. If simply airing out your shacket isn't enough, it can easily be washed in the washing machine. As always follow the instructions on the sewn-in care label.