Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Farmer's Clothing

When people think about what a North American farmer ought to look like the immediate picture that comes to mind is a Midwestern sort of fellow in workboots, bib overalls, a flannel plaid shirt or plain work shirt and a hat of some sort. This clothing caricature isn't completely unreasonable either, especially not in my case. If you're here for a visit and decide to snoop in my closet enroute to or from the bathroom you'll find multiples of everything I mentioned earlier. I like flannel plaid shirts or heavy blue Dickies work shirts on winter days. I own several pairs of bib overalls and bib coveralls and when the weather is cold and wet I wear them a lot. I wear work boots at every season of the year.

Easily the most iconic item in a typical North American farmer's wardrobe is his collection of seed corn/fertilizer/farm equipment hats. Every farmer I know has closets full of these freebie hats, although lately companies seem to be getting stingier about who gets them and how many they are allowed to hand out.

The day I left for college I had three hats with me in the truck. The one on my head sported multi-national Pioneer's seed corn logo, another was from regional Hyland Seeds and the third one was from our local grain elevator, W.G. Thompson and Sons. I'll admit none of these hats provided much of a fashion statement but that was never really the point. One of the girls I was kind of seeing at the time suggested I update my image by going to the local department store and purchasing (and wearing) a hat without an agricultural logo across the front. I went along with her until I realized she wanted me to pay sixteen bucks for a hat with a check mark on it. I told her that if I ever traded in my work boots for running shoes and Nike wanted to throw in a "free" hat to seal the deal I'd probably wear it but damn if I was gonna pay money directly out of my pocket to walk around advertising their product for them. Well, honestly. We broke up about a week later.

In the summer there is nothing lighter or more comfortable for keeping the worst of the sun off your head than a wide brimmed open weave straw hat and I wear one most days when it's hot out. I put it on in the morning and except to wipe my brow it stays on my head until I'm done that night.

As far as fashion goes I've been so out of touch for so long that I fear there is little hope for me at this point. That's okay. I feel about fashionistas just about exactly how they feel about me. The only one who possibly suffers from this is Melissa. At least she doesn't make me wear a sign that says "I'm not with her" when we go to town.


Bif said...

Being trendy is SO last year.

Comfortable and functional are important. I may have more free hats than purchased hats, myself!

Happy Holiday, by the way. I hope there was a lot of napping involved!

Jason said...

Oh yes, napping was the primary feature of the holiday, possibly only outdone by eating, although it was a near thing. :)

We never ask any of our employees to work holidays but one volunteered to work yesterday and we didn't say no so we actually had the entire day off. First time that's happened since we started this farm business.

Merry Christmas right back at you. :)

Bif said...

Hot dog diggity!

How nice of your employee. Hope you and Melissa had a great rest.

You all really should try to schedule a day or two every once in a while, you know? Once every 5 or ten years isn't really enough break. ;-)

Funder said...

G buys all my clothes. Left to my own devices I will wear the same jeans and t-shirts/hooded sweatshirts until they get huge holes and fall off me. I have a weakness for cute cowboy boots but I can only bring myself to pay $100 (for freakin' boots! are you kidding me?) once a year at the most.

Anonymous said...

My wardrobe sounds remarkably identical to yours. Sure was a shock to buy clothes for a wedding. Darn kids!

SmartAlex said...

I can picture each of my grandfather's in their farmers "uniforms". My PaPaw in KY wore tan Dickies, top and bottom, always long sleeve and formally buttoned the year. In the summer sun he added a straw hat.

My PaPa in NY wore navy blue Dickie pants, and chambray blue shirts with a jacket, usually denim. In the winter he layered flannel, denim or chamois shirts. His signature cap was a striped denim engineers hat although he sometimes wore a plain grey one. Coveralls were also common.

Suzanne said...

Jason, I have seen you in your sunday best and you do clean up good! Melissa is proud to have you as hubby, soul mate and yes a farmer! Hooray for the farmer fashions.

Jason said...

@ Funder; A hundred bucks is more or less what my Red Wings work boots cost though thanks to "barnyard acids" I'm always pleased if I can get a year out of them. Six months would be more normal.

@ SmartAlex; Grandpa's uniform was green Big B brand work pants and a check shirt, sleeves buttoned to the bottom and neck buttoned to the top. Sometimes in the summer he'd wear a short sleeved golf shirt if the weather was exceptionally hot.

I'm more flexible and except in cold weather my sleeves are rarely buttoned. I wear Carhartt or Liberty overalls over top of Wrangler jeans in the winter and either jeans or cutoffs and a t-shirt in warm weather.

@ Suzanne; THANKS ! The problem may be that while I clean up nice, I don't clean up often, or at least not often enough. :)