By Garden Fashionista I am talking about the accoutrement that you wear in the garden, not the tee-shirt that announces “I love gardening”. It is important to think about the beauty, design, functionality and overall designer image you make while toiling in the beds.
It is a fashion statement that includes dirt smudges and grass stains in the final presentation. Your nose will be sunburnt. Your fingernails broken and earth encrusted. You’ll have mulch in places you’d rather not discuss. And very probably you’ll have scratches and scrapes from unruly thorns. But it still behooves you to try your best to be leading edge.
Begin your wardrobe for the day in the garden with loose, comfy clothing in neutral colors that don’t emphasize the grime and allow you to move easily. Lube any exposed skin with a high-powered SPF suntan lotion and spritz with bug spray. Don’t bother with mascara as the previous two applications make it slide off anyway.
Over the years I’ve tried out lots of products and will probably do lots of trial-and-error in the future, but right now these are my must-haves for functionality while maintaining my Garden Fashionista image.
A celebrity-style, wide brimmed hat to keep out the sun and cover your messy, sweaty hair. It is important that it have a strap, ribbon or string to hold it in place as you lean over. I prefer straw or rattan for breath-ability. Sloggers makes several that are nice. If I’m feeling jaunty I’ll tie a scarf around the brim (until it and the wind drives me nuts at which time I tie the scarf to the wheelbarrow so it can bother the dogs instead of me).
Polarized sunglasses to keep chaff and dirt out of your contacts while making you look like a movie star. The polarized makes it easier to see regardless of the time of day. If possible I prefer bright colors so that if I take them off briefly it is easier to find them again (I prefer bright handled trowels for the same reason). To maintain your glitterati image you should think about cat-eye shaped and rhinestones.
Two sets of gloves. You’ll want light weight, waterproof, wrist length gloves that complement the color of your various sunglasses. I love the Atlas Nitrile Touch Gloves that last forever and come in fun colors like mango and Aegean. When they get dirty you can throw them in the dishwasher. They are so inexpensive you can buy several so you can match the color to your ensemble of the day. You’ll also need rose gloves which are heavy leather with long gauntlets for any pickery jobs. Mine are elegant pink suede with padded finger tips to reduce callus build-up.
Garden clogs with holes and a back strap. The holes are critical as it lets you dump out the dirt or water, and the back strap is for working on hills so you don’t slide out of your shoes when the neighbors are watching. Mine are bright orange Crocs because I was at the forefront of this fashion statement. Now there are all sorts of brands and options, some with ladybugs, daisies or other fun stuff painted on them. On my wish list for this Christmas are the alligator embossed Crocs in fuchsia.
Knee pads that are not totally ugly. There is just no way to find truly fashionable knee pads and I’ve been looking. If you find something that isn’t black or forest green, can be worn with long pants or shorts, has Velcro straps, are clean-able, and don’t look like a bad joke about to happen PLEASE CONTACT ME. I see this as a real designer opportunity waiting to blossom, but haven’t found the brave soul to venture into the market.