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Dungarees vs. Overalls: What's the Difference?

By Janet White || Updated on March 4, 2024
Dungarees and overalls are both types of protective garments; dungarees refer to denim pants, while overalls have a bib and straps over the shoulders.

Key Differences

Dungarees originally referred to a type of durable cloth from India and have evolved to mean denim work pants or trousers. These garments are typically made of heavy cotton twill fabric, known as denim, and are characterized by their durability and comfort. Overalls, on the other hand, are a type of garment that includes trousers with an attached bib and shoulder straps. Overalls are designed to provide protection and convenience for manual work, featuring multiple pockets and loops for carrying tools. They are made from a variety of materials, including denim, and are used in both work settings and as casual wear.
While dungarees focus on the lower body, providing a sturdy and comfortable option for work pants, overalls offer more comprehensive coverage by incorporating a bib. This bib adds an extra layer of protection and utility, making overalls suitable for a broader range of manual tasks and environments.
The transition of both dungarees and overalls from workwear to fashion items illustrates their versatility and enduring popularity. Designers have reimagined these garments in various styles, fits, and colors, expanding their use beyond traditional labor-intensive settings.
Despite their shared origins in workwear, the contemporary use of dungarees and overalls in fashion has led to a blurring of lines, with some using the terms interchangeably. However, the fundamental difference remains: dungarees are pants made of denim, while overalls are trousers with an attached bib and shoulder straps.

Comparison Chart


Denim pants or trousers
Trousers with an attached bib and shoulder straps


Durable cloth from India, now refers to denim pants
Protective garment for manual work

Key Feature

Made of heavy cotton twill fabric (denim)
Bib and straps over the shoulders


Originally for manual labor, now also fashion
Protection and convenience for manual work


Primarily denim
Denim, cotton, and others


Lower body only
Upper and lower body

Fashion Adoption

Common in casual and fashion wear
Worn as both workwear and casual fashion

Dungarees and Overalls Definitions


Heavy denim pants for manual labor, now a fashion staple.
She wore her favorite pair of dungarees to the concert.


Trousers with an attached bib and shoulder straps for work.
The farmer wore his overalls while tending to the fields.


Casual wear made from denim fabric.
Dungarees are her go-to for casual outings.


Garment offering protection and utility with multiple pockets.
Her overalls had pockets for all her gardening tools.


Comfortable and durable denim trousers.
His dungarees had faded to the perfect shade of blue.


Made from denim or cotton, suitable for manual labor.
His cotton overalls were lightweight yet durable.


A synonym for denim jeans in some contexts.
He ripped his dungarees while fixing the bike.


Casual or fashion wear, redesigned in various styles.
She styled her overalls with a striped shirt for a chic look.


Fashionable denim pants with various styles.
The store offers dungarees in both classic and contemporary designs.


Workwear that has transitioned into fashion.
Fashionistas have embraced overalls as a statement piece.


A sturdy, often blue denim fabric.


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


Dungarees Pants or overalls made of sturdy denim fabric.


Including everything; comprehensive
The overall costs of medical care.


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.


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.


What are dungarees?

Dungarees are denim pants or trousers, known for their durability and comfort, and have become a fashion item.

What distinguishes overalls from dungarees?

Overalls are distinguished by their attached bib and shoulder straps, offering more coverage than dungarees.

Can dungarees have a bib like overalls?

Traditionally, dungarees do not include a bib; garments with a bib are referred to as overalls.

How have dungarees evolved in fashion?

Dungarees have evolved from workwear to fashionable garments, available in various styles, fits, and colors.

How should overalls be styled for casual wear?

Overalls can be styled with t-shirts, sweaters, or stylish tops for a casual and fashionable look.

Are overalls suitable for professional work environments?

While overalls are practical for manual labor and protective work environments, their suitability for professional settings depends on the dress code.

Can dungarees be considered formal wear?

Dungarees are generally considered casual wear, but creative styling can elevate them for more formal occasions.

Do overalls offer any practical benefits?

Yes, overalls provide protection, convenience with multiple pockets, and are suitable for various manual tasks.

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

Both can be made from denim, but overalls may also be made from other materials like cotton for specific work needs.

What types of shoes pair well with dungarees?

Sneakers, boots, and casual shoes pair well with dungarees for a relaxed and comfortable look.

How can overalls be styled for a formal occasion?

For a more formal look, overalls can be styled with a smart blouse or shirt and accessorized with elegant shoes and jewelry.

What is the history behind overalls?

Overalls were originally designed as protective workwear for laborers and farmers, valued for their durability and practicality.

Can dungarees be tailored for a better fit?

Yes, dungarees can be tailored, especially in the waist and leg areas, for a more personalized fit.\

What features should I look for in overalls for work purposes?

Look for durable materials, comfortable fit, and practical features like adjustable straps and multiple pockets.

Are overalls only for outdoor work?

No, overalls have transcended their original purpose and are now worn for fashion, gardening, and casual activities.

Can dungarees be worn in all seasons?

Yes, dungarees can be styled for all seasons, layered with sweaters in the winter or worn with light tops in the summer.

Can overalls be worn for athletic activities?

While not typically designed for athletic activities, lightweight overalls can be suitable for light, outdoor activities.

How do you care for dungarees to maintain their color and fit?

Washing them inside out in cold water and air-drying helps maintain their color and fit.

Are dungarees suitable for all body types?

Yes, dungarees come in various styles and fits that can suit different body types and preferences.

How have overalls been adapted for fashion beyond traditional denim?

Fashion adaptations of overalls include variations in materials like corduroy and linen, as well as diverse colors and patterns for personal style expression.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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