The 1989 issue of the Oxford English Dictionary lists:
The word "overall" (as garment):
First in 1792 as "overalls" or "overall trousers" = "trousers worn outside the normal trousers to protect them" (from which the "bib-and-brace" use).
First in 1815 as "overall" = "any outermost coat or cloak", with a long list of examples, which do not show when "overall" began to mean "boilersuit".
The word "boilersuit" first on 28 October 1928 in the Sunday Express newspaper.
The first mention of boilersuits known here is in a special rule for manufacturing explosives, laid down in 1891: "Overall suits and head covering shall be supplied to all workers…"
The one-piece work overall arrived in 1891-1916, in tough cotton or in linen, to fit over a shirt or vest and trousers. (The cloth cap began to spread through the working class, and some women wore them too.
In the beginning of the 20th century, coveralls came in as protective garments for mechanics in the USA.
Women wore overalls in factories in England during the First World War in 1916.
Rules were implemented in match factories: Suitable overalls are required for all workers employed in the phosphorus process, except for people who only put the matches in boxes.
During the Spanish Civil War, the Communist soldiers used boilersuits as their uniform. Early aeronauts also wore specially designed one-piece suits.
In the 1930s, overalls were used as comfortable children's clothes.
After W.W.II, many athletes also utilised the advantages of overalls.
Overalls have sometimes been items of fashion, in the 1960s and 1970s. By analogy with protective clothing, technical students started wearing overalls to specific events in Sweden and later in Finland, and later the practice spread to all students.
The fashion world began to sell one-piece overalls as high-quality leisure wear. Ski-overalls were and still are especially popular.
Several years ago there was a time when boiler suits were very fashionable, especially jeans-type coveralls.
Overalls (Bib-and-brace)Construction worker wearing an overall.
These are trousers with an attached front patch covering the chest and with attached braces which go over the shoulders. Often people use the word "overall" for the bib type garment only and not for a boilersuit. In the U.S, boilersuits are also called "coveralls" to distinguish them from the bib-type overall.
Bib overalls are usually made of denim and often have riveted pockets, similar to those on jeans. Bib overalls have long been associated with rural men and boys in the U.S. South and Midwest, especially farmers and railroad workers. They are often worn with plaid flannel shirts, long johns or a red union suit underneath, or with a T-shirt or no shirt at all in warmer weather. These workers seldom wear neckties because of the inherent safety risk it would bring. All over America in modern times, painters, farmers, certain factory workers, some train locomotive engineers, carpenters and other tradesmen or workmen often wear overalls as protective overgarments. Cowboys (beef ranchers) are not typically known to wear such garments in their customary garb. Since the 1960s, different colors and patterns of bib overalls have been increasingly worn by young people of both sexes, often with one of the straps worn loose or unfastened along the side and under the arm. The bib overalls fashion trend among American youth culture peaked in the latter half of the 1970s.
Overalls became clearly work clothes and were reserved for this purpose for a long time.
Etymology of "dungaree"
The term "dungaree" was associated with a coarse undyed calico fabric that was made and sold in a region near Dongari Killa (also called Fort George) in Bombay (now Mumbai) in India. The cloth was cheap and often poorly woven. As such, it was used by the poorer classes for clothing and by various navies as a sail cloth. Sailors often re-used old sails to make clothes. In time, the name of the cloth came to also mean an item of clothing made out of it.
In British English such a bib type overalls are usually called a pair of dungarees.
In the U.S., carpenter jeans are often referred to as dungarees.Boilersuit
In the British Army, male Officers' mess dress in most regiments includes a pair of very tight wool trousers which extend above the waist and are worn with braces. The first use of overalls as part of a military uniform was by the Americans. In fact, the earliest written reference to "overalls" in the English language dates to 1776 in the uniform regulations of various American militia units organized to fight in the American Revolution. Overalls were also used by loyalist units, as well as by patriots. As with the gaiters they replaced, military overalls of the Revolutionary War were very tight in the leg, and while some styles retained the full buttoned sides, most relegated the buttons to the distance from mid-calf to the hem. The gaiter style foot covering was retained, as the first military overalls were intended for infantry soldiers. Early regulations and military records show that overalls were strictly a protective layer of clothing for the breeches and stockings for the first couple of years of war. However, the 1778 uniform regulations for the Continental regulars specifically state that overalls, made of linen for summer and wool for winter, will be issued as a replacement for breeches. This is the first purposely non-protective use of overalls in place of breeches as a regular piece of clothing. Specialist battledress was developed primarily during the Second World War, including the Denison smock - originally for parachutists but also adopted by snipers. Specialized jump clothing was perpetuated by the Canadian Airborne Regiment who wore distinctive disruptive-pattern jump smocks from 1975 until disbandment in 1995.
Special patterns of AFV uniform were also worn beginning in the Second World War, initially black coveralls, later khaki coveralls as well as the padded "Pixie suit". Olive drab tanker's uniforms were adopted with the Combat uniform in the 1960s, including a distinctive padded jacket with angled front zip.
The Canadian Army has made extensive use of plain coveralls as a field uniform, commonly using khaki coveralls in the Second World War to save wear and tear on wool Battledress. In the 1950s and 1960, the cash-poor Canadian military adopted black coveralls which were often worn as combat dress, replacing them in the 1970s with rifle green coveralls.