The designer and style icon divulges her do-it-all item that also makes any outfit "secretly sexy."

By Jennifer Ferrise
Updated Mar 23, 2020 @ 9:00 am
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Every morning when I get up and think about what I want to wear, dungarees — or overalls, as Americans call them — are the thing that pops into my head most often. They’re like a comfort blanket for me in terms of style. I know that they suit my body shape. I know that they’re a good reflection of my tomboyish personality. And I also think that they just look cool, especially nowadays when everyone else is wearing body-con things like cycling shorts with bustiers. I see your bra top and I raise you my dungarees!

My love for them goes all the way back to when I was 10 years old and had the best floral pair, similar to the ones Blossom wore on TV. In my 20s I used to wear them on dates because whenever I’d try on something sexy, I’d just freak out and put my dungarees back on. The idea of being in my prime and not wanting to show off appealed to me, so as my own churlish way of refusing to play dress-up for the boys, I’d also wear them when I was modeling or hosting on TV.

Credit: Chung’s favorite dungarees from her own line. Photo: Courtesy

When I started my own fashion label in my 30s, I saw it as an opportunity to design my ultimate pair. I’d always been partial to indigo blue vintage ones by brands like Lee, which are sort of a baggy, dad style, but for my own line I wanted to make them more formfitting so that they are snug at the hip and then relax into a flare. That way you can see that you have a bum and a waist, and they can be kind of secretly sexy. They’re less sexy when you need to go to the bathroom and have to disrobe entirely in the stall, but still.

I love to wear them when I travel because I can pack just one pair and a bunch of tops and have a new look every day. If you do a cream blouse with billowing sleeves, suddenly you’re French. Put a T-shirt underneath and you’re instantly a ’90s kid. And with a body-hugging knit, it’s like va-va-voom. I honestly can’t imagine an age when I won’t be wearing them. I’ll just switch back to the boy-cut ones when I’m 70.

As told to Jennifer Ferrise.

Chung is the creative director of her namesake fashion brand, ALEXACHUNG, and can be seen on Netflix’s Next in Fashion.

For more stories like this, pick up the April issue of InStyle available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download March 20.