Tabs I Can't Close 11: Women's Work Wear Edition

Saturday, February 14, 2015


When I moved home five years ago I bought a pair of rubber farm boots. It felt like a splurge because I wasn't making a lot of money, and though they weren't expensive, they weren't cheap either. Those boots turned out to be one of the best investments I made during that year. (I've started picking up rubber boots in kid's sizes whenever I see a pair at secondhand stores--with niece(s) and nephews arriving at an exponential rate, we're going to need a lot of rubber boots.)

The right clothing makes a huge difference in how work gets done.

The rest of my farm work wardrobe is kind of cobbled together. A knockoff Carhartt jacket I found hanging in the mudroom. A pair of striped denim coveralls I throw over my clothes in the spring. Gloves in various stages of disintegration. A camouflage hat from the 80s. A couple pairs of hilariously over-sized insulated coveralls that make me feel like a deliciously warm olive-green swamp marshmallow.

For a few years I bought men's Levi's (two words: Just. Cotton.), which come in various lengths and fit better than most women's jeans, oddly, considering I've got hips. I buy two at a time and rotate them, but even so, they wear out pretty quick.

This winter I was moments away from ordering a pair of women's insulated coveralls from the Carhartt outlet, blindly, when my dad said he had two pairs of coveralls stashed in a closet. I pulled them down and stepped into the smaller of the two pairs. They're worn, they need patches, they're the 100th anniversary edition, from 1989, but they fit.

I've been lucky with my patchwork work wardrobe. I'm slim but tall, so men's gear works on my frame, if not as well as I'd like, then as well as seems possible.

I'm always on the lookout for recommendations for work wear. It feels like a whispered, underground passing of secrets.

The Noisy Plume recommended a pair of Carhartt dungarees here (item 6).

Areile Alasko posted an Instagram of her Dickies coveralls, in small/tall, which started a long list of recommendations and laments about work wear for women.

Which is where I learned about Handy Ma'am Goods.

Right now I'm on the lookout for good work jeans (Gamine Co.!) and leather work boots. 

And another pair of rubber farm boots. In the fall a crack appeared in the top of the right boot, pretty much rendering half of my socks "farm socks."




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