En Brogue In Full: boiler suits

How to wear car mechanic-chic.

Contrary to what recent fashion features might have you believe, street style is still alive and kicking. That’s street style in its true form; in the getting sartorial inspiration from people you actually see on the street capacity, rather than the getting no inspiration from the highly groomed, non-imaginative girls pictured at fashion week wearing a full look from one designer (who has paid them to do so) form. I can confirm that authentic street style inspo is back with authority, though, because recently, I became obsessed with a boiler suit being worn by a woman in my local pub. She looked amazing.

Hannah Rochell Photographed by Zac Frackelton


It’s not like I wasn’t already a fan of boiler suits – when I originally wrote this feature in the summer I had three (I’ve since purchased two more. I’ve also cut my hair!). But I hadn’t worn them for a while and this was the impetus I needed to brush them off (and in one case, chop off the over-long arms and legs) and get wearing them again. The boiler suit I’m wearing here is a few years old from MiH but I couldn’t track down Woman In Pub’s boiler suit in my size and besides, she owns that particular look in my neighbourhood of south east London, and who am I to take that from her? Not only that, but the key to making this look work is finding a boiler suit that is exactly the right fit for your body – not always an easy task, particularly when you are 5ft3 with a fleshy tummy and big boobs – and this MiH one is ideal for my frame. So it pays to hold on to one when you find the perfect fit.


Woman In Pub’s boiler suit was also ideal for her frame and I loved that she had styled it with Birkenstocks, a printed head scarf and a flash of red lipstick. Thanks to my excellent investigative skills (and the logo on her back pocket), I deduced that it was from workwear specialists Carharrt. I popped into their Covent Garden store to try on – always a must with boiler suits because arm and leg length has to be just right – but they only had size medium, and while the length was good it was just too generous in the body for me.

Hannah Rochell Photographed by Zac Frackelton

Right now I’m wearing mine with chunky hiking boots and classic Red Wing moc boots, but come summer I’ll be switching to Birkenstock-style sandals.

As usual, please let me know your thoughts. Have you been inspired recently by someone’s outfit you saw on the street? Have you ever stopped a stranger to ask them where their shoes/bag/coat is from? And how do you feel about boiler suits? A cool take on the one-piece, or a step too far in the direction of car mechanic?! Leave comments below!


  1. I love a boiler suit but totally agree it has to fit very well. I too spotted one in a very stylish lady at an event and after trying to squint on the label on her rear (!) I eventually asked her where she got it, Carhart. Tracked down said item finally but so disappointed, as was huge despite being a small, which I am not. The search continues, have you tried Spry Workwear??

    • Oh really? That’s so funny – you basically had the same experience as me then! I’ve not found a small to try on yet. I do like a slightly big fit on a boiler suit but only if the legs aren’t too long. I haven’t tried Spry…will take a look!

  2. I have a lovely soft denim/chambray version from Boden a couple of yeas ago, in a lighter blue. As far as I’m concerned, it’s timeless and comes out every year still looking good. It has little straps for holding up rolled sleeves (does that make sense?) which is a good idea. Very comfy and stylish in my opinion.

  3. Have definitely stopped strangers in the street to ask where they got their shoes. Never do it at work though, as I’m surrounded by London fashion students who’d rather eat their livers than divulge their sources!!!

  4. Mine’s not really a boiler suit, as the wrap top makes it more dressy – I love wearing it as it’s so like wearing pj’s! There are a couple of ways your outfit can inspire mine -navy jumpsuit with sky blue sandals, or if I want a more statement shoe, instead of yellow sandals I’ll do red sneakers.

      • After a scorching may and first week of June, we’re now back to the more usual overcast and not warm summer weather. So sneakers are back on the sartorial menu, for the time being at least!

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