The best men's overshirts

  • When there's a chill in the air but it isn't cold enough for a heavy jacket, it's time for an overshirt.
  • The best overall goes to the Everlane Heavyweight Overshirt for its workmanship, price point and clean, slightly boxy look that stays true to the style's utilitarian roots while remaining thoroughly modern.

The overshirt, also known as the shirt jacket or "shacket," is a fall and spring staple that combines the best of a shirt and a jacket. It's lighter than a coat, heavier than a typical button-up shirt, and a bit dressier than a hoodie since its collared. It's the perfect layering option for both spring and fall.

This apparel style derives from 19th-century workwear that is worn over street clothes to keep them from getting dirty. The overshirt continues to retain a bit of a utilitarian feel, with a dash of the outdoorsy and a streetwear aesthetic thrown in for good measure. It's generally roomier than a regular shirt since it's made to be worn as a jacket or mid-layer.

What also differentiates an overshirt from a regular shirt is the heavier material, which can be anything from flannel to denim or corduroy. Other features include the use of oversized pockets and larger buttons or the addition of a zipper closure. The overshirt category encompasses a broad range, from more shirt-like versions in mid-weight cotton to others that are more jacket-like and have linings. There are even quilted versions.

In terms of style, the overshirt's potential is nearly limitless. Wear it like a regular shirt or unbuttoned with a T-shirt underneath; as a mid-layer with a heavier jacket on top; or as a jacket with a collared shirt or turtleneck beneath. It pairs really well with jeans and other five-pocket pants, chinos, or even dress pants (depending on the style of overshirt you choose). I typically wear mine like an unstructured blazer with a turtleneck and chinos or with a thinner button-up shirt underneath, jeans, and a bandana for a bit of a throwback workwear look.

The Everlane Heavyweight Overshirt takes best overall for its workmanship, price point, and clean, slightly boxy look that stays true to the style's utilitarian roots while remaining thoroughly modern.

Here are the best men's overshirts you can buy:

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The best men's overshirt
From Everlane comes a solidly made and handsome overshirt at a great price.

The Heavyweight Overshirt from Everlane is a well-made product with an appealing price tag. It's made in a factory based in Shenzhen, China that's been around since the 1950s and is known for its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint. The Heavyweight Overshirt is made form an 8-oz heavy-cotton twill that's sturdy but still soft. It's heavy enough to wear as a light jacket and roomy enough for layering with a good bit of stretch for a 100% cotton garment. Its slightly boxy look stays true to the style's utilitarian roots while remaining thoroughly modern.

When I received the overshirt, a close inspection revealed no defects or loose threads and it appeared to be very well crafted. There have been no issues due to washing. Just be sure to air dry to prevent shrinking. It comes in five colors, from heather gray to ochre (the color is actually closer to camel), and features two oversized front pockets.

Pros: Made from heavy cotton, ethically produced, great price

Cons: Has to be air-dried to prevent shrinking

The best budget overshirt
This Wrangler flannel overshirt is warm, comfortable, and an affordable price.

Wrangler's classic quilted lined flannel overshirt is made from 100% cotton and features a quilted polyester lining for added warmth. It's a little bulkier than the other overshirts on our list but is warm enough to get you into winter.

I've had one for a few years and it's held up well — no tears, loose threads, or lost buttons. I wear it hiking and for other outdoor activities. It definitely has an outdoorsy look and because of the bulkiness, I don't wear this out as I would the other overshirts on this list.

Pros: Warm, soft, and a good value

Cons: A little bulky, not super versatile

The best sustainable, versatile overshirt
Attractive, warm, and, nicely constructed, the Outerknown Blanket Shirt is versatile enough to get you from a beach party to a weekend brunch.

Pro-surfer Kelly Slater and designer John Moore launched Outerknown in 2015 with the idea of making a true connection between sustainability and style. So far, the company has done a good job of it, with a focus on environmental issues, working conditions, and animal welfare, while garnering a loyal following along the way. Ninety percent of its production uses organic, recycled, or regenerated materials.

The Blanket Shirt is manufactured at Cheng Feng (Jiangsu) Apparel, a Chinese company that has a good labor record and has been reducing its environmental impact. "They've been making clothing since the early 1960s and were the first supplier to join the Fair Labor Association and are fully accredited," Mark Walker, Outerknown's CEO, told me in an email. "They share our values and work hard to ensure that their employees are treated fairly."

The Blanket Shirt is one of Outerknown's best sellers and for good reason. It's made from 100% organic cotton and features buttons made from corozo palm nuts that are "all-natural, renewable and biodegradable," according to Walker. The same level of care goes into the design of the Blanket Shirt, with its thick twill-weave that won't wrinkle, reinforced side seams for strength, and the beautiful assortment of mostly plaids and stripes that the overshirt comes in.

It's warm, comfortable, and roomy enough to be worn as a light jacket. If you're looking for a slimmer fit, consider going down a size, but in my opinion, that defeats the purpose of an overshirt. It's versatile enough to wear hiking or to a weekend brunch.

The Blanket Shirt is costly but is worth the price because of the sustainability that goes into its construction and the exceptional workmanship involved. Outerknown also makes an even heftier version that will get you through the winter.

Pros: Sustainably made, well-constructed, versatile

Cons: A bit pricey

The best overshirt for chores
Patagonia's Farrier's Shirt is durable, made from a hemp-and-recycled-poly blend, and can double as streetwear.

Patagonia is another clothing company known for its high ethical and environmental standards. The Farrier's Shirt is made from a 9-ounce hemp-and-recycled-poly blend that's sturdy and abrasion-resistant (the striped version is made from a 7-ounce organic cotton-hemp blend) and is Fair Trade Certified sewn, meaning it's made under fair working conditions. Surprisingly, it has a really soft hand-feel. It's designed for labor so it's got a lot of ease of movement built into it, from a box pleat at the back to long plackets on the sleeves with buttoned cuffs so you can easily roll them up. The Farrier's Shirt also features metal buttons, pleated front pockets, and a straight hem so it looks good untucked or tucked in. It comes in four earth tones and an old-school railroad striped version.

I've given my Farrier's Shirt a fair amount of abuse over the last two years of testing. I've worn it hiking, doing yard work, helping a friend move, and working in my art studio, among other activities, and have washed it countless times — it still looks pretty much new. I also wear it out for casual evenings over a T-shirt and paired with dark-wash jeans and leather sneakers. I'm not a label person so my biggest beef with the Farrier's shirt is the prominent Patagonia logo over the left front pocket. It's also not heavy enough for winter weather, although it does work well for layering and as a light jacket.

Pros: Sustainable, abrasion-resistant, versatile

Cons: Not heavy enough for colder weather, the Patagonia logo is highly visible (unless you like that)

The best for dressing up
While many overshirts can have an outdoorsy vibe, Ted Baker's version, the Regle Overshirt, has a refined character with a sleeker look and elegant details.

Besides producing a quality product, Ted Baker's fun and unexpected design elements can give your look a sense of playfulness while still being on point. The company started in Glasgow in the 1980s and has amassed a global presence over the last 30 years in part due to the quirkiness of its designs.

The Regle is a sleeker version of the classic overshirt. It's refined but manages a bit of whimsy thanks to its placket and cuffs with a contrasting geometric pattern and an oversized chest pocket. It comes in deep khaki and grayish-blue colorways. I've found the brand's shirts fit true to size.

The Regle is made from a lyocell-cotton blend, meaning it's a lighter-weight material. It'll work for the spring and fall, but it isn't as cold-weather friendly as many of the other overshirts that made the list. It's closer to the shirt side of the spectrum than a jacket. Lyocell is an eco-friendly cellulose fiber made from wood pulp. It has a supple hand-feel, is breathable, and resists wrinkles.

Pros: Beautiful detailing, sleek, able to elevate your look

Cons: Not cold-weather friendly, pricey

What else we considered

There are a ton of great overshirts out there. Here are two that nearly made the list.

Stio, a Wyoming-based outdoor apparel company, is best known for its technical outerwear, but it also produces some really handsome essentials. The Saratoga Cord Shirt is made from a soft cotton corduroy with a relaxed fit that includes 2% elastane for a touch of stretch. It has a bit of Western flair, thanks in part to the curved yoke at the back of the shoulders and its metal snap buttons. It comes in five colorways.

Frank And Oak is a Montreal-based direct-to-consumer clothing brand focused on sustainability. The company's Good Cotton Denim Overshirt is made with organic cotton harvested using sustainable methods. It's got a contemporary, boxy oversized look with four pockets, and metal buttons. It's made from heavy denim with contrast stitching that gives a nod to the overshirt's origins.

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