I was listening to the radio today and the DJ was talking about what clothes look the worst on women. Apparently one of the worst offenders is the women’s overalls! And she was so annoyed because she said that she loves her gardening overalls, they make her feel more “farmer-ish”. So I got to thinking about if what we wear truly makes a difference to how “farmer-ish” we act or feel or even how other people perceive us? Personally I don’t wear overalls, although I’ve been seen in many pairs of coveralls, carharts, and my most recent favorite farmer clothing piece a Stormy Kromer. But I wonder if that makes me a better farmer, like when people wear suits to work to feel more professional and keep their attitude in the work place not as casual? I remember the first week I came back to the farm as the newly hired “Intern”. Dad looked at what I had on, one layer under a nice jacket with tennis shoes, and told me “Get in the pick-up Brenda, we need to take you to the farmer’s Nordstroms.” He took me to the feed & supply, bought me carharts to my heart’s content, layering shirts and work boots.
Well the most obvious reason we wear what we wear is because farming is dirty! I take after my dad in the fact that I can be out in the shop for about 35 seconds before I have grease somewhere on my face and dirt on my jeans. Secondly as an industry we are usually very active, so wearing something that is comfortable enough to jump on and off of trucks, climb in and around engines, and walk acres of fields is very necessary. Practicality seems to be the best answer for many reasons why we farmers wear what we wear.
This girl looks like a farmer!
These reasons seem obvious; but are farmers concerned about their image as well? I think that yes definitely! Although every male farmer might disagree, I feel like we are more likely to trust someone who is wearing a plaid shirt than a plaid tie! If your shoes are shined we’re probably less likely to trust you right off the bat. I don’t know if this is good or bad, just making observations here and laughing at the fact that when I go into a bank people usually look at my dirty jeans, and muddy boots and aren’t too excited to have my tromping around their territory either.
At a wedding…not a chance she works in the dirt!
On the other hand I also think that my credibility sometimes goes down when I’m not dressed like a farmer, especially because I’m a female. Because at first glance it’s usually not the guess that people give when they ask what I do, so when I answer, if I have heels on, they never believe me. I’ve had people want to feel my hands to see if they are callused. I had one person look at me and reply back, “Yeah and I’m an inventor!” It’s very funny to me to see people’s reactions. I think that I was more concerned about it at the start because I felt like I had to prove I was serious about this job, but now I don’t really care. I’m not going anywhere and dang it if I feel like I can pull off a nice shirt for work one day I’m going to do it, although I have to do it with the knowledge that now in 35 seconds it will be ruined!! But practicality always wins when it comes to wearing heels at work!