How the Cynthia Ashby Overall evolved into our iconic style.

Let's go way, way back in time when my love of the overall took root.

Being a 80s teenager in Southern California, overalls were imprinted on my mind as the quintessential feel-good garment (think Bananarama, Cruel Summer). There is something about the feeling of wearing overalls as they hang from your shoulders, while your body dances around freely underneath. Whether you call them rompers, jumpers, or overalls, put them on and immediately you’re part kid, part adult untethered from physical and metaphorical restrictions.  Is there anything better?

1990 wearing my denim overalls.
I had no idea how much they would influence
my perspective as a designer



When I became a designer and created my own natural fiber label, I had to include this iconic style. In my first linen collection, I created an overall with buttons made from cut-off spoons. I met my husband, Dan, during this phase and immediately put him to work. We would spend hours in the shop grinding and drilling spoons together, turning them into buttons. What better way to get to know someone then through a project?

First Photo: My guy, Dan around 1998. Of course I fall for a guy in overalls!
Second Photo: 1999 in the Wicker Park studio. Back when we thought 
every idea we had was great.

Felice lived in the building where I had my Logan Square studio - she became a great friend - she is wearing the Spoon Button Overalls from my first boutique collection in 1997.


A great helper making those spoon buttons in the back yard of the studio.

Circa 1998, My friend David Grozinsky took these photos of our sexy friend Andrea in these raw silk overalls. I used snap rings as fasteners.



Through the years, I would invent and reinvent the linen overall in pursuit of the ultimate work/play garment. Sometimes I design my garments with “feel” in mind, and sometimes I work from a narrative point of view. Overalls are both. There is a story in the details that hint at a history.

There is also the emotion of how one feels in the garment and the nostalgia that this particular style evokes.

Snap shots in the alley behind the Ravenswood space, early 2000.



Chehalis Hegner took this photo of Helen
at 12 years old modeling the iconic
overalls that I made in 2009.


The overall is transformative like no other garment. Put on overalls and giggle, tell a story, explore new places, or daydream and let the mind wander. It’s also practical. It can be layered in so many ways. Over the years we’ve leaned into the layered look. It’s simultaneously casual, stylish, sophisticated, boho, classic, quirky, artsy, trendy, nostalgic, and ageless.
Overalls are the uniform of the curious and kindest beings,
in my opinion.


My gratitude goes out to all the fabulous women who have worn each version of this natural fiber favorite throughout the years. As I continue to reinvent this timeless style, I’ll be thinking of you embarking on your next adventure.

Sneak peak! Christine is modeling
our upcoming Fall 2023 flannel overall,
the style is called Vernon, the
color is On The Rocks.