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Coveralls vs. Overalls — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Maham Liaqat — Updated on March 7, 2024
Coveralls are one-piece protective garments used for heavy work or safety, whereas overalls are bibbed pants for casual or work wear.
Coveralls vs. Overalls — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Coveralls and Overalls


Key Differences

Coveralls are designed as a single-piece garment that covers the entire body, including the arms and legs, primarily used for protective purposes in industrial and mechanical environments. Overalls, on the other hand, are a type of garment usually made of denim or heavy cotton, designed with a bib and straps over the shoulders, leaving the arms free
While coveralls offer more comprehensive protection, covering the body entirely, overalls provide ease of movement and are more suited for tasks that do not pose significant risks to the wearer. This distinction makes coveralls a common choice in industrial or hazardous work settings, whereas overalls are preferred for everyday work in less dangerous environments or for casual wear.
Despite their different applications, both coveralls and overalls share a common history of being workwear designed for durability and protection. Originally, both garments were made from sturdy materials to withstand hard labor and protect the wearer from work-related wear and tear. However, over time, overalls have also been adopted into casual and fashion wear due to their comfort and style, while coveralls have remained primarily in the realm of work safety and protection.
Coveralls are chosen in professions that require full-body protection, such as in automotive work, painting, or chemical handling. Overalls are often worn in farming, gardening, and by artists or woodworkers who need durable clothing but not necessarily full-body coverage.

Comparison Chart


One-piece garment covering the entire body
Bibbed pants with straps, leaving arms free


Full-body protection in industrial or hazardous work
Durable clothing for casual wear or less comprehensive work


Often made with reinforced fabric for durability
Typically denim or heavy cotton


Automotive, painting, chemical handling
Farming, gardening, casual wear

Protection Level

High, provides comprehensive body coverage
Lower, mainly protects the front torso and legs

Compare with Definitions


Workwear for industrial settings.
In the plant, all workers must wear coveralls for safety.


Bibbed pants for work or casual wear.
He wore overalls for the gardening project.


One-piece safety attire.
Fire-resistant coveralls are essential for welding jobs.


Casual attire with a front bib.
The child's overalls had a cute cartoon on the bib.


Protective garment covering the whole body.
The mechanic wore coveralls to protect against oil stains.


Denim garment with shoulder straps.
Her overalls were stylish yet functional for the art class.


Garment with integrated features for protection.
His coveralls had reinforced knees for extra durability.


Durable pants with chest protection.
The farmer's overalls were worn but still functional.


Suit for hazardous material handling.
Chemical-resistant coveralls are a must in the lab.


Workwear with easy movement.
Overalls are preferred by carpenters for their comfort.


A loose-fitting one-piece work garment worn to protect clothes.


Overalls, also called bib-and-brace overalls or dungarees, are a type of garment usually used as protective clothing when working. The garments are commonly referred to as a "pair of overalls" by analogy with "pair of trousers".Overalls were originally made of denim, but they can also be made of corduroy or chino cloth.


(US) A coverall.


From one end to the other
The overall length of the house.


Including everything; comprehensive
The overall costs of medical care.


Regarded as a whole; general
My overall impression was favorable.


On the whole; generally
Enjoyed the performance overall.


Chiefly British A loose-fitting protective outer garment; a smock.


Overalls Loose-fitting pants, usually of strong fabric, with a bib front and shoulder straps, often worn over regular clothing as protection from dirt.


A loose-fitting garment worn over regular clothes to protect them.


Loose-fitting pants with supporting cross-straps and a panel of material in the chest (called a bib), often associated with farm work.


Traditionally worn by cavalry.


Plural of overall


A kind of loose trousers worn over others to protect them from soiling.


Waterproof leggings.

Common Curiosities

Can overalls be used as protective clothing?

Overalls can offer limited protection, mainly for the front torso and legs, and are suitable for less hazardous work.

Are coveralls and overalls made from the same material?

Not necessarily; coveralls are often made from reinforced or specialized fabrics for protection, whereas overalls are typically made from denim or heavy cotton.

Do coveralls provide more protection than overalls?

Yes, coveralls offer comprehensive body coverage and protection, unlike overalls.

What are coveralls used for?

Coveralls are used for full-body protection in industrial or hazardous work environments.

Are overalls suitable for all types of work?

Overalls are suitable for work that does not involve significant risks that require full-body coverage.

How do you clean coveralls?

Cleaning depends on the material and purpose; some require special cleaning methods due to protective coatings.

Can coveralls be used in any work environment?

While coveralls are versatile, they are specifically designed for environments that require full-body protection.

Can overalls be considered casual wear?

Yes, overalls have been adopted into casual and fashion wear due to their comfort and style.

Are there different styles of overalls?

Yes, overalls come in various styles, including traditional denim, gardening, and artist styles.

Is there a difference in the durability of coveralls and overalls?

Durability depends on the material and construction; however, coveralls may have reinforced features for industrial use.

Do both garments come in children’s sizes?

Yes, both coveralls and overalls are available in sizes for children, often for play or casual wear.

Are coveralls comfortable for all-day wear?

Comfort depends on the fit and material, but they are designed to be worn for extended periods in work settings.

What are the main factors to consider when choosing between coveralls and overalls?

The main factors include the level of protection needed, the work environment, and personal preference for style and comfort.

Can overalls be fashionable?

Yes, overalls have been incorporated into fashion trends and are available in various styles.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Maham Liaqat

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