A reader wrote in to say that she’d appreciate some guidance and help in figuring out what to wear for her lifestyle:
I am going to be working on a farm , in the near future.
I will be tending animals, building things, digging in the dirt. This will be in Kentucky, so the seasons are defined but they also vary from hot to cold at times.
I do not go out on socially much but I will be going to fundraisers and be in front of committees, to present our presentations to raise money for our programs for veterans.
I have been searching the web to try and figure out what I would need for my lifestyle, but can’t find anything that is very helpful for me.
TWO WARDROBES THAT CAN CO-EXIST TOGETHER
Working on a farm will be dirty work. You do not want to wear nice jeans out to a farm and think you can repurpose them for a fundraiser without a problem.
You also don’t want to be thinking: oh my goodness I’m digging in a $150 silk shirt and it is going to get ruined!
That’s just nonsense.
So.. I propose two wardrobes.
One for working out on the farm with clothes that you can stay warm in, and get dirty in without worrying, and another for fundraising committees. Just a few choice outfits for this formal event (without being black-tie) should do the trick.
WARDROBE #1: WORKING ON A FARM
Now, if I were going to work on a farm (which would never happen in a million years because I am not an outdoorsy person and have never even gone camping), I would want to bring things that I am comfortable in.
Screw looking TOO cute, I’ll settle for being warm and comfortable.
Please keep in mind that I have zero experience with working on a farm, and sadly, all I am going to recommend is from knowledge I have pieced together from watching movies and reading books.
So don’t laugh at me.
- 7 various tops: I’m imagining you’ll sweat a lot and get dirty and may need to change each day as you are not going to do laundry daily and wear dried-out-sweaty tops…
- 2-3 toppers: I am thinking plaid flannel shirts, anything that is a light sweater or topper you can pull over your tops to stay warm but not TOO warm
- 4-7 pairs of jeans: Again you won’t be doing laundry daily but if you’re OK with wearing dirty bottoms two days in a row, go with 4 pairs. I like jeans that are cheap for this purpose so you won’t care if they get ruined. The slimmer variety (skinny or straight leg) would be preferable so you can tuck them into boots.
- Rainboots: Need this for the wet mud and rainy days; I love me some dry feet.
- 2 pairs of solid shoes: I don’t know what this entails but I am imagining sneakers for warmer weather because I cannot imagine ballet flats being practical on a farm. I’d want to have 2 pairs to have 2 options just in case one pair gets filthy. Nothing in white please.
- 14 pairs of socks: I like the feeling of dry, clean feet and if I get dirty or get my feet wet, I want an option to swap out mid-day.
So what does it all look like?
Comfortable, 100% cotton would be my suggestion.
Again, comfortable, natural fabrics so that you feel good wearing them.
Inexpensive jeans can be had for $50 or less! Or you can spend a bit more, but whatever it is, be comfortable.
Rainboots & Solid Shoes
Whatever is above, PLUS:
- 4 sweaters/jackets: Fleece jackets to keep warm, woolly but comfortable sweaters, anything in a darker neutral shade is preferable to lighter colours
- Winter jacket: This is to wear over your layers. I am used to sub-zero temperatures so I layer like mad under my winter jacket.
- Winter boots: Need this for the wet mud and rainy days; I love me some dry feet
- Winter hat and gloves: Enough said. Even with a hood on my jacket, I wear a hat underneath to stay warm.
- 14 pairs of wool socks: Whenever I am out in winter in Canada, no matter if my winter boots are super warm, I NEED WOOL SOCKS. I also like changing my socks mid-day if I walked a lot in them so that I have a fresh pair for the afternoon/night and I feel good.
Note: Your rainboots can double as winter boots if the weather is warmer than sub-zero because you just wear wool socks inside and you’re golden.
So what does it all look like?
I like natural fabrics in sweaters or jackets, and polar fleece to keep warm and cosy is a plus.
A good, strong, down-filled jacket to stay warm and dry.
Winter Boots, Hats, Gloves and Wool Socks
Key words: Warm & Dry.
WARDROBE #2: FUNDRAISING
So now that the farm wardrobe is taken care of, I’d want a ‘nice’ wardrobe.
You don’t need much, just 3 neutral outfits and a few accessories to change up the looks.
I don’t know what you like to wear (separates or dresses), but I’d have at least the following:
- 1 wrap dress: Not necessarily in a solid colour nor black; but something casual yet chic
- 1 skirt: A nice skirt can do wonders if you don’t want to wear a wrap dress again
- 1 trouser: Or if you prefer trousers, take 2 trousers instead of a skirt! A crisp, sharp pant can do wonders.
- 3 various tops: To mix and match between the bottoms…
- 2 toppers: To wear over your shoulders
- 1 nice wool jacket: You can, but may not want to wear a thick, work winter coat to a nice gathering over your elegant outfit
- 1 nice cashmere scarf and pair of gloves: You’ll need it to stay warmer and I like the huge blanket cashmere travel scarves because they can double as pashminas instead of a jacket or be worn as a scarf with said jacket
- 1-2 pair of flats: If you want to do double-duty, get a pair of DRESSY flats which are of the pointed toe variety rather than a rounded ballet flat. Or if you want, have one dressy flat and one casual flat for stuff that isn’t quite so formal
- 1 pair of heels: …that you can walk in. I like dark brown leather, no suede (too finicky to take care of) and no black if you can help it although it depends on what your preferred colour palette is (mine avoids black).
- 1 pair of flat knee-high boots: This is just in case you want to wear any of the above out socially but not look too dressed up and look a little more casual. Or if you hate heels, get heeled knee-high boots. They look GREAT, are easier to wear for someone not used to wearing heels, and you can wear up to 2″ without feeling like the heel will fall off.
So what does it all look like?
A neutral, small-ish print, and something knee-length, covering your shoulders.
Pencil or A-Line, take your pick and make sure it hits your knees for maximum longevity.
I like a crisp trouser in a bootcut or a skinnier crop cigarette-style one, either one looks good in heels.
I’m a sucker for silk, but any material will do as long as you are comfy and your skin can breathe in it. Rayon is nice for the summer… I’d also suggest covering your shoulders, no spaghetti straps that you’d have to cover with a blazer or topper.
Go casual (moto jacket) or more formal (blazer). The fabric of the topper matters too, wool is heavy and more formal, jersey is more casual and light.
A nice, stylish one for the cooler weather fundraisers.
I love a good blanket scarf for cooler weather, it doubles as a stylish pashmina in a pinch.
Pointed toe is more sophisticated than a rounded toe, and lace-up flats are really on trend right now. If you want to go classic, you can’t go wrong with a pointed, neutral beige/blush/nude flat.
If you wear them that is. I like 3.5″ as a comfortable height. I’d go for all leather, not suede, no platform front and either a pointed or almond toe heel.
…but if you HATE heels or can’t wear them, try a heeled boot!
Obviously a pointy toe with a stiletto heel is dressier for those fundraisers (first row), but if you want to go more casual, a chunky heel that is knee-high or even ankle-height is very chic (second and third rows).
Plus.. they’re great for going out and being social. You’re going to want to go out eventually!