She talks like a Farmer, and looks like a Farmer…but what about when she doesn’t?

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!

Author: Nuttygrass

I'm a nut and grass farmer, EMT, Firefighter, and world traveler. I love a good laugh and a great adventure!

9 thoughts on “She talks like a Farmer, and looks like a Farmer…but what about when she doesn’t?”

  1. Hello! I am one of four daughters in a farm family back in Illinois (no sons!)… I was visiting relatives in Portland back in March and saw the article about you and your family in The Oregonian. I’m glad I did! I enjoyed it and shared it with the rest of my family, and I have enjoyed your blog. Currently, none of my sisters or I are back on the farm, my parents are still farming full-time… the future will be interesting. I admire your decision and wish you all the best!! I feel very fortunate to have grown up on a farm.


    1. Ellen I am so glad that you liked my blog! I hope that you keep reading 🙂 I wish you and your family all the best in this journey of succession, it can be an interesting ride!


  2. Women in Filthy Professions, unite! I’ve done lots of natural areas restoration in Chicago parks and was so filthy one day that someone offered me money, thinking I was homeless. A bit embarrassing to stop for groceries on the way home, too – but I wouldn’t trade working outdoors.
    I read about your blog in the Oregon Stater (I’m M. S. Soil Science, 1994, now hanging out my shingle as an urban soil consultant) and like seeing your farmer’s perspective.


    1. That is hilarious!! Sounds like you were obviously working hard 🙂 And I’m glad you enjoy my blog, hope you keep reading and thank you for the comment!


  3. LOVE this post as well Brenda! You said it right! I’m your typical “suit and tie” kind of gal (minus the tie). As the same with you the clothing you wear goes with your profession. I happen to be out in the evening “dressed down” in a nice pair of jeans and top and a woman I work with on a daily basis saw me that evening and said, “I never pictured you in jeans, you look great.” It is all a matter of perception but also being true to who you are!


    1. Glad you liked the post Kara! And I agree…it’s all about being true to who you are! Couldn’t have said it better myself 🙂 Thanks for reading!


  4. I love this post! Thank you. As a city girl who spends weekends on a ranch, I have a schizophrenic wardrobe to say the least. I find myself wanting to wear the ranch clothes most of the time lately, even to cocktails with my girls in town.


    1. Thanks for your comment, and schizophrenic wardrobe is a great way to put it! And I too have been guilty of wearing cowboy boots in very fine establishments haha 🙂 Always fun to find ways to “dress-up” farm clothes!


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