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

MiH boiler suit (old); Oak & Hyde ‘Malaga’ sandals, £40 (oakandhyde.com); Bailey Nelson ‘Tyler’ sunglasses, £105 (baileynelson.co.uk). For a similar boiler suit try M.C. Overalls (mcoveralls.com)


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.


Topshop pink corduroy boiler suit, £50 ([AD] topshop.com); Red Wing Moc boots, £

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

I’ve seen a few great boiler suits around for the new season, which is why I wanted to update this feature. I bought two from Topshop last week – which is absolutely killing it when it comes to all-in-ones right now – both of mine are corduroy (bonus) and I went for the petite in black as well as the pink you see above. The fit is absolutely perfect for me. The same style also comes in blue and black denim, and I really love the workwear style ones they have in khaki colours (though these aren’t available for the shorter-of-leg). 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.

Topshop denim boiler suit, £59 ([AD] topshop.com); Topshop cream denim boiler suit, £59 ([AD] topshop.com); Topshop olive boiler suit, £59 ([AD] topshop.com)

M.C. Overalls orange overalls, £150 (mcoveralls.com); Monki gingham boiler suit, £35 ([AD] monki.com); Weekday cream boilersuit, £60 ([AD] weekday.com)

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!