Now we need brands called “Equality!” and “Fraternity!”

I haven’t written about The World’s Greatest Overalls Collection* lately, so…let’s talk overalls. Specifically, the Liberty brand.

Liberty is a common brand that’s been around forever, but I’ve never owned a pair, until now. I have to admit that I’ve avoided the brand, because of their association with a teevee show.

Billy Carter appeared on Hee Haw, for some reason.

Imagine doing the whole 80s-poof thing with your hair and then having to put on a straw hat to stand and tell bad jokes in a fake indoor cornfield!

I have nothing against Hee Haw, as corny a show as it was–and let’s be honest, in the annals of corny earnest teevee, Hee Haw is way up there. There’s so much corn in that show that it could be squeezed for oil. Imagine The Waltons or Little House at their corniest, double the corn, and you’ve got Hee Haw.

Put simply, I’m acutely aware that at times I run the risk of looking like a backlot cast extra from Hee Haw, and I didn’t want to underline that by wearing the literal brand of overalls most associated with the show!

More recently, though, I’ve concluded that maybe I’m overthinking it a bit. I mean, how much cultural cachet does Hee Haw even have, at this point? No new episodes have been made in almost 30 years (it was finally canceled in 1993), and today it exists on cable channels and you can find episodes on YouTube. And heck, it’s not as if people would have really been paying attention even in the show’s peak of popularity as to the brand of overalls being rocked by the cast!

(Though I may be wrong on that particular point, because these things exist out there in the world:

That’s…a bit too on-point for me. The 70s were apparently a time for occasional overalls in various novelty prints….)

I must admit, too, that Hee Haw‘s status as a teevee staple in my household when I was “but a wee bairn!” is a likely influence in my lifelong sartorial tastes…and that probably wasn’t even its only influence on me:

Johnny Cash and Archie Campbell, both in Liberty overalls. Campbell’s face is obscured by a pie.

Liberty is still going strong as a company, and they maintain a nifty presence on social media. In recent years they’ve added a women’s line of overalls, of which I am jealous because they come in some nifty colors, particularly this “Frosted Sage” color:

Image from Liberty Brand’s Facebook page. I’m not sure what that gizmo is she’s holding…maybe it’s the smoke thing beekeepers use? Hmmmm….

I actually love that color, and if the Liberty folks made those available for men, I might very well snap up a pair.

I ended up not buying a new pair directly; my general taste now in overalls is for vintage, so that’s where I went. Also, I’ve read some reviews of the current manufacture that the new buckles Liberty is using tend to break,  I also didn’t want blue denim; Hickory stripe is one of my favorite things, and sticking with my original hang-up, you didn’t see Hickory stripes much on Hee Haw. So, a couple of weeks of lurking around eBay auctions later, I ended up with this nifty pair!

It’s July and WAY too hot for double-denim; these last two were just to see how they look with the denim shirt, since Autumn will be here before we know it!

What differentiates Liberty overalls from others is the styling of the bib pocket. It’s a triple pocket, believe it or not: the main one has a zipper enclosure, and then there’s a second, smaller pocket with a flap enclosure that snaps. There is also the standard hidden pocket watch pocket (the “button” hole on the top of a bib is for a pocket-watch fob), and the slots for pencils. (I never use these, but the stitching adds nice highlights.)

In addition to the buckles being different on the vintage pair, there are also a few key difference in the way the fabric is laid out. On the vintage pair I got, the band across the top of the bib, the top of the bib pocket just below the zipper, and the flap enclosure are cut so the Hickory stripe pattern runs horizontal, which to my eye creates a neat contrast. The newer design has all the Hickory striping set vertical, which is still neat-looking but…not as neat as it used to be.

Image from the Liberty Overalls website. Note the differences in the bib pocket between this new pair and my vintage pair.

A few detail shots here, because Liberty uses green highlights to nifty effect, with the bib label, the fabric setting the zipper, and even the enameled inlay in the button engraving:

Apparently Liberty actually carries a patent for the design of their bib pocket. I suppose that makes sense, but I’d never thought about that before. There are other overalls on the market with a similar, but obviously not identical, set-up with the bib pockets.

As for the fit and comfort? These are terrific, to the point that I’m regretting avoiding Liberty overalls for so long. I really like the way they look and feel when I’m wearing them, and as long as the forecast isn’t absurdly hot, I’m hoping to wear them to the Sterling Renaissance Festival when The Daughter and I attend next weekend. Here’s hoping!

*My overalls collection is now officially The World’s Greatest Overalls Collection. I have dubbed it thus.

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1 Response to Now we need brands called “Equality!” and “Fraternity!”

  1. Roger says:

    FWIW, at the nadir of my life, in Feb 1975, I watched everything on the one YV station I could get, and that included Hee Haw.

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