What is the Purpose of Bib Overalls?

Men with bib overalls

Overalls, otherwise known as bib-and-brace overalls or dungarees, are a type of protective clothing used when working.

The purpose of wearing bib overalls is to protect your inner clothing and yourself from work and weather elements. This type of clothing was invented by Levi Strauss and Jacob W. Davis in the 1890s at Levi Strauss & Co.

Throughout the years, overalls have evolved and made their way into high fashion. They were initially used as protective clothing in work settings, but have become a trendy streetwear and ski suit.


Bib Overalls Pros

  • Allow a wider range of upper body movements
  • More airflow around the torso
  • More coverage
  • Adjustable to your body shape
  • Many storage options
  • Protect you when crushing
  • Superior protection from the elements
  • Comfortable


Bib overalls are a good choice of clothing for winter activities because of the warmth and protection that they provide. If you still don’t have one of your own, we definitely recommend that you get one. If you’re not sure which overall to get, check out our article about the best insulated bib overalls where we shared our top recommendations. 


Bib Overalls Cons

  • Not ideal if you are working in extremely cold conditions and need self-contained warmth
  • Not ideal if you are looking for total wind seal


What to Look for in Bib Overalls


Bibs can either be made of denim, corduroy, chino cloth, or other rugged materials like sandstone duck and firm duck.

Bib overalls are meant for harsh and heavy work environments. Thus, the material and construction should be able to handle wear and tear, dirt, mud, spills, and other debris.

Invest in Gore-Tex or good waterproof fabric and choose between two-layer or three-layer fabrics that come in different weights, waterproofing, and breathability ratings depending on your activity.


You can either choose a relaxed or more athletic fit. However, you need to note that sizing may differ from a manufacturer to another.

If you prefer an unrestricted range of motions, go with a relaxed fit. On the other hand, if you get easily cold, consider insulated bib overalls or size up so you can wear thicker layers.

Furthermore, a good fit will depend on the length of your torso and legs.

Bib overalls can also be a versatile option for growing kids as the length can be adjusted easily by simply tightening or loosening the shoulder straps.


Protect yourself from the coldest temperatures by considering the amount of insulation that the bib overalls offer. The higher the amount, the more efficient the insulation.

The insulating material should also be breathable enough to dump excess heat and wick away moisture so that it can keep you warm and dry. However, if you get cold easily, you should wear thicker layers for extra warmth.

Additionally, bib overalls have the advantage of offering more warmth as they can insulate you from up until your core. Ski pants can only provide warmth up to your waist, so if you plan to use ski pants for less active outdoor activities in the winter, bib overalls can help provide the body heat you need.


Which should you wear for skiing, ski pants or bib overalls? We’ve compared these two pieces of winter clothing to help you decide which one to wear for your next ski trip. 



The pockets that come with insulated overalls may be one of the reasons why skiers and snowboarders are interested in wearing them.

Outdoor work will indeed be easier if you can store all your valuables, tools, and equipment in many different pockets. Therefore, you have to make sure your bib overalls have spacious, lined, and secured pockets.

Flexibility and Comfort

You have to make sure that your bib overalls offer a wide range of mobility so you can handle extensive tasks.

Being comfortable is also very important to enable optimum flexibility and minimize the risks of accidents. You should look for features that can add extra comfort, like adjustable straps, reinforced paddings, and soft fabric materials.


Choose a pair of bib overalls that can last a long time. To do so, look for a pair that is made of durable materials and has some reinforcements that can minimize wear and tear, and is preferably engineered with high-quality ballistic materials.


Your overalls should also be multi-functional to offer a wide range of mobility so you can handle extensive tasks. Look for a pair that allows you to stay in control while keeping you comfortable and warm during the cold season.


Do overalls keep you warm?

Overalls can keep you warm if they are insulated and made with the right materials that can withstand cold weather conditions. Additionally, if you get cold easily, you can add layers and remove them when it gets warmer.


Features to look for

Knee Pads

Some overalls will have a double front that is compatible with knee pad inserts.

Although, keep in mind that not all types of knee pad inserts will fit into all types of knee pad openings. The truth is, most knee pads will fit. However, it is still best to buy your knee pads from the same manufacturer who made the overalls to ensure they fit.


One major benefit of overalls is that you can keep your gear and other essentials within reach.

The more storage options you have, the more functional you can be. Here are common storage options you may want your overalls to have:

  • Multi-compartment bib
  • Zip pockets
  • Pen slots
  • Pass-through seam pockets
  • Side leg utility pockets
  • Side leg tool loop


Adjusters and Suspenders

Adjusters will allow a more comfortable fit, while elastic suspenders will allow for an optimum range of motion and will make fastening so much easier.

When choosing overalls, make sure they can be adjusted to fit you and the layers you may need to wear underneath.


Recco Technology

Some overalls have a small RECCO unit sewn somewhere into them, although this does not by any means provide the level of safety of an avalanche beacon. It is designed to work with a RECCO transponder, which is a relatively large unit that many resorts or rescue operations have on hand for search and rescue.


Are overalls good in winter?

Overalls are good to use in winter. However, you shouldn’t wear just any overalls. When working in cold, wet, and windy conditions, you need durable, waterproof, insulated overalls to protect you from the elements. You can also wear layers for extra warmth.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are bibs good for skiing?

Overalls are good for skiing because they offer a lot more storage compared to regular ski pants. They can also help you stay comfortable and prepared on the slopes and allow you a wider range of movements. Just make sure you pick a pair with good adjustability and the features you need.

Are bibs warmer than pants?

Bibs can provide more warmth than regular pants as they feature an extra layer of warmth and protection at your core. Pants, on the other hand, can only provide warmth up until your waist, which can allow snow and cold air in as your upper torso is exposed.



Bibs can protect you from the weather and work elements. They can keep you warm and dry while providing you wide a good range of movements and comfort.

Choose a good pair of overalls that is made with durable materials that can withstand wear and tear, dirt, mud, spills, and other debris. It must also be insulated and waterproof and features everything you need to be able to adjust it to your fit and make you comfortable while on the slopes or while working outdoors in cold conditions.

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