I almost feel like this post may belong in Meaningless Drivel or something, it seems like such a silly thing to discuss, but I'm genuinely curious - what clothes do you find stand up the best to working outside?
I feel like everything I own is that spandexy polyestery flimsy junk, and just tears and stretches and catches on everything while I work. I'm thinking of sifting through the goodwill racks for some nice sturdy cotton tops and cargo shorts.
My main thing is, I'm in the sun anyway, and I'd like to get my vitamin D and boost my melanin, so I want to expose as much of my skin as is socially acceptable within the confines of my backyard to capture those glorious UV rays. I'm not an exhibitionist, but I want to make sure I'm getting some rays, and can add layers if needed to protect myself
Whatever I wear also needs to be sturdy enough for fencing, digging, easy to move in, and breastfeeding friendly, as about every hour my son still likes to grab a milk snack.
I'd considered just doing primitive wrap type tops, like this one, though maybe finding some way to cover my belly with it.
So this one's for everyone, but I'm particularly curious to hear from the ladies - what do you wear for your outdoor chores?
For pants, I wear closed bottom baseball pants. Sliding into home and working out at the orchard seems to stress pants in similar locations, so baseball pants have extra material in just the right spots. Also, the elastic around the bottom makes it a bit harder for the ticks to get in. For a shirt, a 100% polyester T-shirt is my go to choice on hot summer days, and finally an Asian conical hat goes on top of my head.
Of course, my ancestors come from the frigid parts of the world, so soaking up UV rays is generally associated with burning and peeling for me.
In the summer, as little as possible short of nekkid (in case the UPS guy shows up or the neighbors fly their drone over). So, very brief shorts and a tank top. That wrap top in the photo actually looks pretty warm to me, too warm for summer here.
Most of my clothes are turning into rags, so I'll have to make some more out of used clothing. I try to buy linen at the used clothing store which is near a ritzy part of town, as linen is the coolest and most durable common fabric. Hemp is probably sturdier? But not common yet.
Cheap t-shirt and shorts just above rag level. And always a baseball cap to keep the sun out of my eyes.
I have multiple grades of clothing....
...big-city-out-to-an-affair clothes (I've only worn them twice in the past 13 years). i noticed that the shoes have rotted away from age. Perhaps the clothes have too.
...go-to-Sunday-meetin' clothes (basically just for eating out some place special on a holiday)
...go to town clothes (no stains, no holes)
...work with friends clothes
...work on my farm clothes
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
Just out of curiosity- where did you find that wrap top in the photo?
Is it a scarf tied up funny or is that a top-style that I'm not familiar with?
It's gorgeous, though I agree, could be hot in the summer.
But in response to your question- I found a maternity sports bra at Goodwill that had never been used (tags still on) it was a Target brand. Merona or something like that. I wore it all summer with shorts & a loose, thin cotton tank. The straps were pretty thick but it was a good fabric for working outside in. Good air flow.
Garden clothes are mostly the same year round... cut-offs and cotton t-shirts, and large brimmed straw hats. I go to the local thrift store and shop for darker colors in Ts. And for long pants which I then cut off. Our thrift store just doesn't have many shorts for some reason.
Because I can be outside in brilliant high-altitude cloudless skies for 14 hours per day during the summer, and there is zero shade on my current fields, I opt for maximum sun protection. It is usually some variation on this theme: Cotton jeans, cotton or linen long-sleeved shirt, beard, long-hair, big-floppy hat, and sunglasses. I might act like a red-neck, but I ain't cause my hair protects my neck from getting sunburned.
One day at the farmer's market, it was cold, so I put on a jacket and a faux-coonskin cap. Nobody could find me, even though I set up in the same place every week.
During the winter and early spring, I opt for less clothing... Often a tank top and kilt.
Sundresses, made from thin cotton and loose fitting. Preferably something to cover shoulders but not arms. Hats are good too, there are a few that are similar to Josephs kicking around the farm that anyone can wear.
I haven't done this myself, but I have seen other people wear guys dress shirts, They can often be found for about $2 at a second hand store. They cover skin to prevent sunburn but are thin enough to be cool, these of course get completely destroyed pretty quickly.
For heavier work I wear jeans, a t-shirt, and leather gloves, if it is hot out I often soak the t-shirt with water before going outside.
Hi-vis overalls. A sports store (curiously enough) in the city for some reason had a huge quantity of rejected mining industry full-body overalls a few years ago. Probably because the reflective stripes weren't the right width, or position, or something.
Anyway, they were unloading them for $3 an overall! It was mayhem, sort of a Black Friday for hi-vis overalls. I managed to escape mostly unscathed with 6 of them. They are now my outside working uniform.
On hot days in the summer, wet long sleeve shirts, long pants wet below ass, old leather shoes that become wet when water is poured down the pant legs, wet felt cowboy hat. I hate ball caps, due to the lack of sun protection. Beyond that, I start early and end late, with a long break during the hottest part of the day.
There's almost always shade available. I plan my work, so that I'm seldom in direct sun or facing the sun, if I'm doing tree work. On demolitions, there is always a shady side. Outside work is done early and late. If there is work to be done in the basement, I do it between noon and 4 pm, when it's hot elsewhere.
If I have to drive in the heat, the clothes are dampened and a few liters of water are poured on the floor of the vehicle. While fools roast in traffic, I cool down in my mobile swamp cooler.
That wrap is beautiful Destiny. But if I was to wear that mending fences I'd probably catch it on a nail, go 2 steps and be nekkid It would also create some strange tan lines.
I love fishing and sometime back I found a pair of Cam-o-Fish printed pants in the Goodwill. I love them and wear them fishing and gardening. They're starting to get a little faded. I've looked online trying to find more but I haven't seen any.
With forty shades of green, it's hard to be blue.
Garg 'nuair dhùisgear! Virtutis Gloria Merces
Straw hat, boots or tennis shoes or barefoot depending on the work, ...then as little as possible when it's hot (working in the shade) I love cotton knit tank dresses, and when it's cold, leggings, jeans or a skirt and long sleeved tshirts, layered up......I love polertec vests but they are not good for certain work but vests of all sorts seem to work well for me when it's cold.
I generally avoid a lot of sun...just enough for the vit. D.
It's a little different now that we are in town, I'm much more aware of what I'm wearing or not wearing, it's imposing some limits as the weather warms...the neighbors are adjusting to us and we are trying to appear somewhat normal
My clothes are all thrift store finds, so they change with the whims of the consumer.
EDIT...Karen, I love the fish print!
"We're all just walking each other home." -Ram Dass
"Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder."-Rumi
Staying and working on our land, in the summer, I wear loose, cotton men's pyjama pants. They have elasticated waistband, pockets and are extremely comfortable and light. I wear a vest and if the sun is getting strong, I wear an old man's cotton check shirt with sleeves rolled up. For me, pockets are essential, I always have a folding knife, a bit of string or something that I need to carry about. I don't like hats much in the sun, possibly because my grandmother used to insist on me wearing one when I was a kid. Having said that, like some others on this post, I work very early in the morning and much later in the afternoon, sometimes until dark, resting during the hottest part of the day. Or doing jobs in the cool part of the house.
In the winter, leggings, sheepskin boots (very seldom wear socks), long sleeve T shirt, man's woollen check shirt (with pockets) and a woollen cardigan. I prefer cardigans, it is easier to remove when getting hot while working than a jumper/sweater. Cowboyish kind of hat when it rains and woolly hat when too cold. I rarely wear gloves. If it rains or snows heavily and I need to go and tend to the animals, I have a very old waxed jacket. It's about 40 years old and I just rub in some duck fat on it when it becomes less waterproof. I tend to wear shoes with no laces so it is easy to take on and off and of course, if extremely wet an muddy and I'm ankle deep in water, I'll wear some rubber boots - with socks!
All my clothes come from thrift shops or are things that people have given me. Those pyjama pants make fantastic rags when worn and past their sell by date.
Love is the only resource that grows the more you use it.
The best dress shirts, for working in prickly conditions, is silk. This is super light body armor. Thorns and other pokey things, slide the shirt along, instead of puncturing. They come in a rainbow of flamboyant colors. I wear silk for tree and hedge work. Very smooth on the skin.
This super light dress shirt has been worn during several days of tree work. Not one rip. It's all about spatial awareness. This tiny puncture, is the worst injury sustained during a week of tree work.
Wow, so many great suggestions here! I really appreciate all the feedback!
While I love the wrapped scarf top in that photo, I agree the material looks like too heavy of a knit for the heat - I think I may try it or a variation wrap with a gauzier material and see how I like it.
One thing I still desperately need is a big gigantic hat for working outside, but I have a big gigantic head, so I need to measure my melon and actually get one in the proper size - normal hats from places like Target never fit my noggin
I really like this cricket style hat. The brim is not as wide as normal. They were introducing it in this
configuration for the golf market but for outside a regular width would work. South African manufacturer.
* Fancy Clothes--skirts/dresses/nice slacks to wear to weddings or Easter, etc.
* Normal Clothes--Jeans/slacks/cargo pants with button-up shirt and undershirt. Wear to church/to visit other people/go shopping. Pretty much, if someone is seeing me outside of my house, I wear clothes that are not stained or holey.
* Work/Home Clothes -- Button up plaid shirt with undershirt, and jeans/cargo pants. These are almost always clothes that used to be "normal clothes" that got stained or holey.
I like the button-up plaid shirts because they breath well, hide stains well, and are relatively sturdy. I wear them with an undershirt because that's the easiest way for me to nurse (unbutton top of plaid shirt and raise undershirt)--the little one fiddles with my buttons and I don't end up flashing people nearly as easily as I do with other attire (I don't mind seeing other's anatomy as they nurse, but am not comfortable doing so myself!). During warm weather, I wear lighter button-up shirts and roll up my sleeves. During cold days, I may add a work coat. I wear the same 5 or 6 shirts and 1-3 pair of pants. This way, only some clothes get torn by thorns or stained by mud/grass/babies/berries.
As for pants, I like them loose enough that I can roll them up to get vitamin D, and also loose so I have free range of motion. Since my grass is often soggy, if I'm not rolling my pants up, I shove them into my wool socks so my pants don't act as giant, soggy wicks.
During a typical week, I only wear my "normal" clothes once or twice, as that's about as often as I get out of the house. When I return home, I change back to my home clothes before babies or work cause stains!
I generally wear as little as possible. I get over-heated really fast, which takes all the fun out of gardening, for me. So I generally wear shorts and light top, or a short dress, of cotton or linen - it's gotta breathe. I'd rather get scrapes and cuts, than over-heat and sweat my brains out. Then I go hang out in front of a fan, and cuddle with an ice pack.
When working at the garden I prefer:
wide trousers, so I can make all kind of movements freely;
bare feet (as long as the temperature allows);
a hat (not only against the sun, also to keep my hair in order)
cotton or linen (all synthetics make me feel itchy).
Here you see me (standing) explaining something at the garden of Permacultuur Meppel:
"Also, just as you want men to do to you, do the same way to them" (Luke 6:31)
In warm weather (here that means HOT 4-5 months/year) I wear sturdy shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt, with maybe a longsleeve white cotton shirt covering in the afternoon sun (but I try not to work in the afternoon sun...). And a big brim hat. In the winter I wear old jeans, or on cold days my insulated bib coveralls, a thermal shirt, insulated vest with a barn coat over. I can remove the barn coat when I'm warmed up and the insulated vest keeps me warm, while allowing for unrestricted arm movements. The one thing I wear in any weather is my very sturdy slip-on-and-off work boots with thick cotton socks. The protection they offer from twisted ankles, foot injuries and FIRE ANTS are worth the slight heat factor in summer (tho it's really not that bad). And they look so fetching with shorts! If I wore nothing else at all, I would still be stomping around the gardens and fields with those babies on....
My summer "uniform" is my Fjalraven pants, either Vidda Pros or Keb Gaiter pants. These are heavy duty hiking/bushcraft pants that while high priced wear well with reinforcements in the right places, have good pockets, some nice features like lace hooks to keep your cuff in place and adjustable cinch on cuffs, and are made to have wax applied to them to weather proof as needed. Along with those pants, I have quite a few khaki long sleeve button up shirts I wear. A sun hat (though just a cheap Chinese made one while still looking for a good quality one I like), sun glasses, leather work gloves. And old sneakers or boots, though I am in the market to pick some new of both of the foot wear up soon.
Long sleeves and full length pants are needed for me as I don't tan well. Being a redhead my freckles just try growing together or I burn. As well as I like the coverage for protection against scrapes and stuff.
*edit to add some pics (cuz they make thread fun) and winter options
Here are some pics of the Fjallraven pants.
Keb gaiter, they have nice air vents, and zips to turn into shorts, while the legs can be cinched to still be used as warm weather gaitors.
For winter I have my Lester River Boreal Shirt and Empire Wool and Canvas Woodsman vest. Both wool with lots of great pockets, though both are super warm being 100% wool and can actually be too warm while active if it isn't really cold out. Also have East German wool pants. I sort of like wool in winter if you can't tell. Breathable but warm, stays warm if wet, natural fibers, and flame retardant.
East German cargo pants
"Where will you drive your own picket stake? Where will you choose to make your stand? Give me a threshold, a specific point at which you will finally stop running, at which you will finally fight back." (Derrick Jensen)
I'm loving all of this feedback - keep 'em coming everyone!
I live in the mountains of central Montana, where the sun is intense and the winters are long. My favorite addition to my wardrobe by far this year has been my crushable wool hat - I think maybe it's a fedora? Apparently they call it an Indiana Jones hat everywhere on the internet though
Either way, wide brim, used and cheap on eBay, insulative, and apparently, the coolest thing ever, because now I see all kinds of purely fashion forward ones on the shelves at young ladies clothing stores.
I love the ideas here!
I have been reading Dr Jack Kruse' book and FB. He summarizes health as a result of optimized light, water and magnetism. I try to get as much sun on as much skin as possible. Its more than vitamin D, it turns into a chemical that flows thru our system to give us health. I changed from tank tops and shorts to swim tops and short shorts for gardening and walking the dogs. In Oregon its difficult to get enough sun. I never use UV protection, hats or sunglasses! Our eyes need UV light, so I try to get lots of sun first thing in the morning and later afternoon.
We have the opposite problem in South Texas. WAY enough sunlight.
I wear clothing items from the thrift store!!
Jeans or shorts, depending on the work being done. T-shirts (light colored most of the time here in South Texas) and in the Summer...100% cotton long sleeved button up shirts. The sun is brutal and the long sleeves help to protect arms and create an evaporative cooling effect when you are drenched in sweat in about 5 min. Currently wearing a ball cap, but thinking of going to a loosely woven wide brimmed hat. Used, non-steel toed work boots on the feet.
Summer: outside work is done early morning & early evening, other times in the shade only. Depending on the work, it's usually thrifted jeans that have been made into cutoff shorts, some sort of washable lightweight brassiere, and a tank top. Shoes must protect the toes, because I'm a klutz, so it's often Keen-style sandals of some sort or garden clogs, unless I'm working with the chainsaw or other such, then it's jeans, full hiking boots or steel toe. If I have to work in the mid-day sun, will wear one of those long-sleeve "fishing" shirts to protect my shoulders, and a wide-brimmed straw hat.
Winter: wool underlayers (top, bottom & socks), cotton flannel overshirt, neck gaiter & wooly cap. For pants, usually jeans, but as the quality of women's jeans continue to slide downhill (I swear they're made more of polyester than cotton nowadays, and rip when you look at them wrong) trying out some new work pants made for women. Dang spendy, but they're tough as nails, made of 12 oz. cotton duck fabric, double-panel fronts, with plenty of pockets for tools & such. AND you order by inseam & waist, avoiding the @#$! idiotic "women's" sizes that make no sense at all (ahem). Google "Red Ants Pants". Also have a pair of insulated Carhartt overalls for when it gets really cold. Footwear is generally cowboy boots or generic mud boots, but during deepest winter, I'll break out the insulated Muck boots - another spendy item, but worth the investment.
The joke amongst friends: all clothes and shoes eventually become farm clothes and shoes. So if I have to go shopping for clothes for other contract work that I do, I keep in mind whether they will survive an emergency dash through the pasture. Because eventually, that will happen.