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Dungarees vs. Overalls — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Maham Liaqat — Updated on March 12, 2024
Dungarees refer to heavy cotton fabric or garments made from it, often blue, used for workwear, while overalls are protective garments worn over clothes, typically with front and back coverings and straps over the shoulders.
Dungarees vs. Overalls — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Dungarees and Overalls


Key Differences

Dungarees originate as a term for a particular type of heavy cotton cloth, commonly blue, used especially for workwear, such as pants or coveralls. This fabric is robust, designed to endure rigorous activities, and is often associated with manual labor. On the other hand, overalls are a type of garment typically made from denim or heavy cotton, designed to be worn over regular clothes to protect them. Overalls cover the body from the chest down, featuring a bib and brace design, and are used in various work environments.
While dungarees in modern usage are sometimes synonymous with what many consider overalls, traditionally, dungarees refer to the fabric itself or the trousers made from this durable material. Overalls, however, specifically denote the style of garment that includes both trousers and a bib with straps over the shoulders. This distinction highlights the evolution of fashion terminology and the overlap between these two terms.
Dungarees, when referred to as garments, usually imply a full-length trouser style made of the sturdy dungaree fabric. They are often preferred for their durability and comfort in demanding work conditions or casual wear. Overalls extend this concept by adding a bib held up by straps over the shoulders, providing additional protection and space for tools or personal items in their large pockets.
In contemporary fashion, dungarees have been embraced as a casual or statement piece, evolving beyond their workwear origins. They are now available in various cuts, colors, and designs, catering to a broad audience. Whereas overalls maintain their practical utility in work settings, they have also seen a resurgence in casual wear, blending functionality with fashion.
The use of dungarees and overalls spans different contexts, from their traditional role in workwear to their modern incarnation as fashion items. While dungarees emphasize the material and pants, overalls offer a unique style with added coverage and practicality, making each suitable for different purposes and preferences.

Comparison Chart


Heavy cotton fabric or garments made from it.
Garments worn over clothes, with front and back coverings.


Term originally referred to the fabric.
Name derived from the garment's style and purpose.


Refers to trousers made from durable cotton fabric.
Includes a bib and brace design with straps over the shoulders.


Workwear or casual clothing made from dungaree fabric.
Protective wear for manual labor or fashion.

Fashion Evolution

Evolved into a fashion item from its workwear roots.
Maintained its workwear utility while becoming fashionable.

Compare with Definitions


Often used interchangeably with jeans or denim pants in modern vernacular.
His dungarees were his favorite piece of clothing for casual outings.


Protective garment worn over regular clothes.
The farmer donned his overalls before heading out to the field.


Heavy cotton fabric used for work clothing.
The worker's dungarees were nearly indestructible, surviving years of labor.


Features a bib and brace design with straps.
The overalls' straps ensured a secure fit, essential for safety at the construction site.


A style of casual wear derived from work garments.
The fashion line included dungarees that were both stylish and comfortable.


Have evolved into a fashion statement beyond workwear.
Fashion-forward overalls featured in the latest runway shows, pairing utility with style.


Garments characterized by their durability and typically blue color.
The blue dungarees became a symbol of hard work and reliability.


Offer additional storage with large pockets and compartments.
The numerous pockets on his overalls made it easy to carry tools and personal items.


Trousers or coveralls made from dungaree fabric.
She preferred wearing dungarees while painting to avoid ruining her clothes.


Used in various work environments for protection.
Overalls are a must-have in any mechanic's wardrobe for their utility and protection.


A garment consisting of trousers with a bib held up by straps over the shoulders, made of calico, denim, or a similar material and worn as casual or working 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.


A kind of coarse Indian calico.


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


A sturdy, often blue denim fabric.


Including everything; comprehensive
The overall costs of medical care.


Dungarees Pants or overalls made of sturdy denim fabric.


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


Heavy denim pants or trousers, usually with bib and braces, worn especially as work clothing.
Helen donned a pair of faded dungarees and grabbed her knapsack before rushing off to school.


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

What are dungarees made from?

Dungarees are made from a heavy cotton fabric, traditionally blue and used for work clothing.

Do overalls offer more protection than dungarees?

Yes, overalls offer more protection by covering more body areas, including a bib and straps over the shoulders.

Are dungarees still used for workwear?

Yes, dungarees are still used for workwear due to their durability, but they have also become popular in casual fashion.

Can overalls be considered dungarees?

In modern usage, overalls can be considered a type of dungarees, especially in regions where the terms are used interchangeably.

What distinguishes overalls from other protective wear?

Overalls are distinguished by their bib and brace design, offering comprehensive protection and utility.

Is there a difference in the material used for dungarees and overalls?

While both are often made from heavy cotton or denim, the specific material can vary based on the intended use or fashion trends.

How have dungarees evolved in fashion?

Dungarees have evolved from workwear to fashion items, now available in various styles and designs for casual wear.

Can overalls be worn for casual occasions?

Yes, overalls have been adopted into casual and fashion wear, blending functionality with style.

Are dungarees and overalls suitable for all seasons?

Both garments can be adapted for different seasons, with variations in material and design for warmth or breathability.

Can dungarees be tailored for a better fit?

Yes, dungarees can be tailored, just like any other garment, to achieve a better fit or customized style.

Can overalls be considered formal wear?

Traditionally, overalls are not considered formal wear, but creative fashion choices can incorporate them into more formal settings.

How should overalls be washed to maintain durability?

Overalls should be washed according to the fabric's care instructions, typically in cold water and hung to dry to maintain durability.

Do dungarees only come in blue?

Traditionally, dungarees were predominantly blue, but now they come in a wide range of colors.

How do dungarees fit into modern workwear?

Dungarees fit into modern workwear as durable, comfortable, and practical options for various occupations.

Are there gender-specific styles for dungarees and overalls?

While there may be styles marketed towards specific genders, both dungarees and overalls are universally wearable.

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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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