The Le Laboureur Work Jacket



Warning: My wife often comments that I dress like a foreign exchange student. That I have no sense of color or clue about how pieces of clothing are supposed to coordinate with one another.

That said, I love my Le Labourer work jacket. It is one of the few pieces of clothing I own that fits me well. I have long arms but I am not stout enough for a typical XL shirt. This is cut long enough in the arms and I’m not swimming in the thing.

Made in France, the workmanship is impeccable. The moleskin is lightweight, breathes and moves easily while I’m working at the bench. Nothing pinches or restrains me from reaching, sawing, planing or chiseling.

It’s so comfortable that it has become my new bathrobe. I wear it while editing, cooking, reading, whatever.

I’ve had this one for 18 months now and am considering buying another one just in case I lose this one. (I can’t imagine it ever wearing out.)

It’s $120, but worth way more than that.

In the United States, you can buy them from Hand-Eye Supply. I bought mine in England from The Shopkeeper Store before they were available here.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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32 Responses to The Le Laboureur Work Jacket

  1. jmwagle86 says:

    OK, you buy a jacket made in France and wonder why your wife says you dress like an exchange student? Let me think, “how can I help this guy?”

  2. Marilyn says:

    Nice jacket! But it’s a bit short for a bath robe. (yikes!)

  3. Mark White says:

    Ironic, a labourer can’t afford one.

  4. momist says:

    Are those tool chest tills you are spraying? WTF?

  5. jarvilaluban says:

    I bought one after I spied Chris wearing his some months ago. I wear it constantly this time of year. It’s light enough to wear in the shop, but warm enough to take the edge off outside down to about 30 degrees. One caveat though, if you think this is going to make you look stylish because it’s French, think again. When wearing mine, my friends and family now call me The Maytag Man. I would buy another one in a heartbeat. And its not expensive, if you consider you’ll go through two or three cheaper versions before this one is even broke in.

  6. toolnut says:

    Um Chris … I’m sure your family has probably mentioned this already, but that is a wee bit too short for a bathrobe.

  7. Looks like a short version of the old French farmer’s coats.

  8. Rachael Boyd says:

    you could us that as a robe at my house anytime……..oh damm did I really say that.

  9. It’s great having something to put on that fits great and will work as hard as you do. I wear the chamois flannel shirt from llbean(it comes in long!). At half the price of the French version it’s worth a try.

  10. I had to look it up and GQ covered the history of the garment a bit with a short story profiling photographer Bill Cunningham and his always present blue french jacket.

  11. Is that your normal sprayer? I don’t want to spoil a tool review, but if you can say anything is be interested if it’s a good first sprayer?

    If you can’t say anything yet that’s cool too.


  12. hildacorners says:

    Did anyone else translate the post title as “The The Laborer’s Work Jacket”?

    My French is not too good, but …

  13. frenchcarpenter says:

    hi sorry for my English. In France this jacket is the carpenters’ traditionnal jacket. It is called the “coltin” and it is always black for carpenters and cream for masons. For winter there is another model in corduroy. If i meet someone with a coltin there are a lot of chance for him to be a carpenter. In France it is not that expensive, around 60-65 dollars

  14. Interesting, French working jackets have been made in that same blue color since the 18th century at least. A friend of mine owns one. I’ll see if I can get a pic of it to you.

  15. edfurlong says:

    Since we are on the subject of woodshop couture, do you have any suggestions regarding a real beret of similar quality. This is serious. For the follicularly-challenged woodworker, head covering is critical when the heat source is true internal combustion (or at least when the shop is drafty). I have worn a beret in the shop for decades and my old basque beret is worn to tatters. Any suggestions would be welcome–and just imagine the sartorial splendor of a Le Laboureur Work Jacket and a true beret (a real sized beret, not one of those one-size-fits-most poseurs)!

  16. Scott W. Kay says:

    Thanks for this recommendation, Chris. I’ve been looking for a good jacket to work in at the bench. I think I’ll get one in black. But just one question before I pull the trigger…have you found that this moleskine fabric acts like a magnet to sawdust?

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