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The Uskees Smock | Traditional workwear brought up to date for the 21st Century

Posted by David Wall on
Close up of man with hood up wearing Uskees army green smock.

Spring/Summer 2021 has seen the introduction of a new product to the Uskees collection - the Smock. The Uskees Smock is a hardwearing and practical garment which is ideal for layering and suitable for many work and leisure pursuits.

Wearing black Uskees smock with BMX.

A bit about the history of the Smock

The fisherman's or sailor’s smock was an item of workwear that became a symbol of Cornish identity. These smocks were made from rough cloth - quite often canvas, and were worn as an outer garment to protect the wearer from the rigours of their day to day working lives.

The traditional dress of the Cornish fisherman can be seen in the many paintings made during the 19th and early 20th century by the Newlyn School of Artists. The oil on canvas painting below was painted in 1901 by Walter Langley and is called Between the Tides. It shows a Cornish scene featuring a fisherman wearing a traditional workwear smock.

Painting by Walter Langley - 'Between the Tides'.

In France the authentic Breton fisherman's smock, colloquially known as the ‘vareuse’ is made from thick cotton drill, similar to the original boat sail drill used by generations of seafarers. With its origins on the coast of Brittany, the Saint James smock has a breast pocket on the inside, traditionally to keep a fisherman's tobacco dry.

As well as being an over-garment for fishermen to keep out the elements, the smock is a classic item of outdoor clothing for men and has always been popular with gardeners, painters, artists, woodworkers and so on. They are known for still looking good as they fade and wear with age.

The Uskees Smock

I asked Paul Clapham, the Uskees founder, what was the background behind the new smock design as it’s quite a different direction from the current workshirts and overshirts in the Uskees range. How did the Uskees smock come into being?

Paul said – ‘We wanted to expand our range and felt that a smock fitted perfectly into the smart/casual, workwear Uskees look. The inspiration firstly came from the Monty Don gardening smock feel, with the addition of a hood giving a nod to the athleisure, football fan looks from the 90’s. We were playing on the Uskees principles of workwear that is practical and fit for purpose whether you’re hard at work, or just having fun. It’s designed as the sort of garment you can fling on when it gets a bit chilly when you are out and about doing stuff.’

The Highlights of the #3008 Smock

The Uskees smock has updated the traditional design and is not made of heavy drill canvas like its historical cousins, but from 100% organic cotton.

Range of Uskees smocks on hanger.

It has a simple, loose boxy design with ribbed cuffs and drawstring hood and base. The utilitarian design also features two large patch pockets on the front and reinforced elbow area for extra strength and durability. It has a generous cut and is meant to be worn as an overgarment.

The Smock is designed with longevity in mind and it comes with the Uskees mini repair kit for minor repairs at home and our free Repair Service for those repairs you can't do at home. We hope it wil be a garment you will enjoy wearing for many years. More details of the repair service can be found here.

We love this new addition to our range and hope you will too. The #3008 Smock is available in Army Green, Faded Black, Navy and Ultra-blue.

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