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I have never been particularly interested in fashion, and to be honest, my tastes definitely have always veered more towards function than style. Starting a farm was a great excuse for me to be even lazier in my clothing decisions – “ah, matching doesn’t matter! The chickens don’t care!” -but at the same time, I realized I needed to pay even closer attention to what I was wearing to ensure I could be as productive as possible.
While your farmstead closet will definitely veer more toward the practical than the eye-catching, there are a few staples you should have in order to be well-outfitted. You want to be comfortable while you’re tending to your pigs, feeding your chickens, or turning that compost pile!
Here is my ranking of everything you need to be “stylishly” dressed on the farm.
I’m obsessed with virtually everything Arborwear makes, and so is my husband. This sweatshirt is a must for layering. It lets you put bibs or a coat on top, as well as multiple layers underneath. However, you really don’t need to layer with this sweatshirt unless it’s particularly chilly. My husband wears his double-layer sweatshirts outside in sub-freezing temperatures all the time with nothing on top. Although I don’t own an Arborwear sweatshirt – yet – my husband said I HAD to include these on the list because they are so breathable and comfortable for wearing around the farm. You get all the warmth of multiple layers, without feeling bulky or constricted.
Next on the list is a solid pair of gloves. The husband and I are the worst when it comes to gloves. It feels like we are always losing them, or always ending up, somehow, with TWO lefthand gloves out of separate pairs. Part of this is because we get so frustrated while wearing them and toss them off to the side, where they are later buried/eaten by a pig/peed on by the dog, what have you. Most gloves designed for farms are made out of bulky materials.
This is good because you want them to be warm and rigid enough so that you don’t scratch your hands on various materials, but also a major hindrance. When you need dexterity in your fingers, bulky gloves can be a serious hindrance. Enter these awesome, adaptable gloves, made by Kinco. Because you can peel back the fingers to have fingerless gloves when you need them, or keep your fingers covered for a toasty mitten-like feel, you will always feel like you have your bases covered here.
Next up – a good hat! Now, your chapeau-related needs will likely vary depending on where you live, but where we live, throughout much of the year we are cold. Very cold. So a high-quality hat is necessary to keep your head warm and protected from the wind. There’s nothing worse than getting an earache from the cold air blowing at your ears while you’re trying to unload a bale of hay! And if you live in a warmer climate – as we do for about two weeks out of the entire year – you’ll want a good-quality hat to protect your head and scalp from the sun. My husband and I both have dark hair, so wearing a hat is important to keep our heads cool. In addition, there’s nothing worse than that dreaded “hairline part” sunburn – am I right, ladies?! But I’ll talk specifically about winter hats here. I prefer hats made out of durable materials, and while I usually steer towards wool fibers, I find that wool is often too itchy for a hat. This hat, by Carharrt, is perfect. It’s warm without being too hot, and I like it’s a fold-over style. This means that I (with an abnormally large head), as well as my husband (with an abnormally small head), can both wear the same hat. Why would we need to wear the same hat? I already mentioned we have a tendency to lose gloves. We have the same tendency when it comes to hats. Therefore, it often becomes a, “well, I’ll just grab whatever happens to be lying around, then!” kind of situation.
Pants. They’re a necessity. Unless you live on one of those nudist farms, which, though I hear great things about, sound a little painful to me (I mean, come on…hay is itchy). I have a ton of different pants I wear around the farm, as does my husband, and our preferences vary depending on the task and the time of year. The ideal farm pant will be loose fitting and offer good ventilation, drying quickly and allowing for maximum bend and comfort. Sunday at farm chore time is not a good opportunity for busting out the skinny jeans, folks! While I’ve yet to find the perfect pair of pants for me, my husband absolutely loves those made by Dickies, Arborwear, and Carharrt. The pair I’ve recommended below is a product I’ve ordered countless times for him – he just can’t get enough.
I’ve already mentioned that I tend to gravitate toward wool when I’m selecting clothing fibers, and that’s especially the case when it comes to my socks. I prefer those that wick moisture away from my feet, helping to prevent blisters, chafing, stench (yep), and other awkward situations. There are a lot of great socks out there, but I personally can’t get enough of these Darn Tough socks. Made in Vermont, they are made out of a blend of merino wool, nylon, and spandex. They wick away moisture almost immediately (I once stepped in a huge pile of pig muck-mud that went above my boots while wearing these socks – they dried almost instantly) and are incredibly comfortable. They are cool enough to be worn in the summer, yet warm enough to be worn all winter long, too.
Alas, the boot. Where the rubber meets the road. Quite literally. A good pair of boots on the farm is essential, making the difference between a day of comfortable hard work and one of absolute misery. You also have your safety to think about! One of my biggest challenges has been finding a pair of steel-toed boots that are also warm. As a woman, there aren’t a ton of awesome options on the market for us. My husband, on the other hand, RAVES about these boots. Made by Husqvarna, they are designed for loggers working in wet conditions and are therefore waterproof. They also can be purchased with liners to make them extra warm, and I also know people who have added studs so that they can grip ice and snow when working outside during the winter. OH-and they have steel toes, making them safe and functional, too.
7. Muck boots
While I haven’t found a rave-worthy pair of steel toes yet, I do have a pair of muck boots to recommend. Muck boots are crucial, allowing you to – of course – muck out your animal stalls without worrying about having an unpleasant dollop of animal doo-doo slide down next to your toes. They also allow you to work in adverse weather conditions, from light snow to rain, without getting your toes cold. I own these muck boots and wear them with my Darn Tough socks during the winter, which keeps my toes dry and warm. I can also wear them with the summer, as they are lightweight enough to not be too restrictive in the heat. The brand I have comes to my mid-calf, but you can get them at varying heights depending on your preferences and leg shape.
You’re probably BEYOND sick of hearing this – but I live in the Great White North. Here, where we have winter from October to May, a good coat is vital. However, as a woman, I have always struggled to find a good-fitting coat that is also functional. They seem to be made either entirely for warmth or entirely for function. We’re talking ten-pound puffy coats or stylish pea coats- nothing in between. Luckily, Arborwear makes a fantastic coat that can be worn by both men and women. The one I’ve linked to is the one I have, and although it is technically a menswear coat, I own it in a small because it allows me to fit tons of extra layers underneath. I’ve always struggled being warm enough, even in a heavy down coat, because they were so movement-restrictive that I couldn’t wear much underneath. With this coat, I can layer a thermal shirt, sweatshirt, and down vest with nary a problem. I highly recommend it!
Well, that’s it for my list of recommendations! There are countless others I’d love to point out, but alas, nobody wants to read a 5,000 page blog post! What do you recommend? I’m always looking for new options when it comes to my farm chore attire – so make sure you weigh in by leaving a comment or suggestion! As always, thanks for reading, and be sure to follow us on Instagram (@jrpiercefamilyfarm) and Pinterest (J&R Pierce Family Farm).