Day 3 #AllotmentFashionWeek!
If the past two days of #AllotmentFashionWeek have seen some very practical allotment dress sense on display then today sees an injection of high fashion to match the hashtag. Both Katrina and Milli have very clear ideas about what they will wear for digging, harvesting or entertaining. Among other things Katrina adds stylish wellies and home-made accessories, Milli combines summer dresses with secateurs and boots. Both bring a touch of glamour to the outdoors.
Katrina is based in Nottingham and has had her allotment for three years. Her plot is on what is thought to be the oldest and biggest allotment site in Europe at St. Ann’s Allotments (STAA). In the last year or so she’s started an allotment blog to keep track of her growing experiments (including the failures), discoveries, projects and transformations.
On the subject of her allotment fashion choices Katrina said “I like to keep my allotment clothing pretty cheap and simply really, however there are two things that I wont skimp on…”
“A good pair of sturdy gloves are an important part of any garner’s attire. I own a few different pair for various jobs but my yellow leather gloves (£15 from Homebase) will always be the ones I use most, especially as the colder weather creeps in. They keep my hands warm while providing protection from thorns, nettles and scrapes from heavy-duty lifting. The threading is beginning to wear and they have a few characteristic holes in them now but they’re still fit for purpose.”
“When it comes to footwear, some people prefer to wear walking boots on the allotment, others a worn-out pair of trainers. For me, I’m definitely a welly-wearing girl! My current pair of foxy-print wellies from Joules have lasted me a good year or so. I picked them up in a sale as I just couldn’t resist that gorgeous pattern. There was a time when foxes use to pass through my allotment from time to time, but I don’t see them so much anymore. I will always favour the welly for the protection it gives in a numbers of ways. Firstly, they protect my jeans from getting covered in mud! I often go to the plot straight from work, so it’s essential I don’t get all my work clothes dirty. I found that ants can’t easily climb the rubbery material of wellies so they protect me from being bitten by the red ants whose nests seem to pop up all over my garden. Even in the height of summer I still wear wellies, but I might favour for my Houndstooth patterned mini-bootlets instead (a bargain from Lidl/Aldi last year) to keep my legs cool, prevent dodgy tan lines and still be ant-bite free!”
Like ‘Lucy Layers’ (Monday’s featured allotment fashionista) – Katrina also opts to wear layers that she can easily remove if it gets too hot inside the polytunnel or when working up a sweat digging over the ground for winter. “I’ll usually wear a vest top or t-shirt and layer it with a H&M shirt over the top that keeps chill off my arms and also protects a little from the dreaded nettles. I tend to keep to earthy colours – greens, browns, greys and rich orange tones, especially in autumn.”
“I’ll almost always be wearing necklace or choker as I work for an online shop that sells jewellery-making materials. One of my favourite chokers is one that I’ve made using a real flower grown on my allotment. I love that bright yellow colour of the daisy, that is just as vibrant as the day I picked it despite being over 2 years old and is now forever sealed as a pendant that I made using clear resin.”
“Other additional accessories in my day-to-day allotment wear includes lots of hair bobbles and hair pins to control my wild, mane-like hair. I also rely on a thick pair of walking socks from Blacks so I don’t catch frostbite – OK I know it isn’t *that* cold yet, but I hate having cold feet! – I’m sure it won’t be long until I’m donning a woolly hat too!”
Blogger: Milli Proust / Crofter’s Cottage
Milli has two two ways that she likes to dress for work in the garden. Firstly there are her old jeans and warm knit jumpers “with holes a plenty”. Milli pulls these on after work to go play in the dirt; to weed and plant and pot. It’s also possible to find Milli in her summer dresses, hosting her sisters and friends for the weekend; summer dresses are usually paired with secateurs for deadheading, or with armfuls full of harvests.
“I’m happy in both. The dresses may seem frivolous and impractical, but the house is always full of people, and there are plenty of tasks to be done that don’t involve my knees in the mud. This way I can still get lots accomplished in the garden, between looking after people.”
Long days and wet days, or the moments at the end of the day when no one else is around can allow Milli to prioritise practical clothing for the garden. She’s warmest and comfiest in the most rain-proof gear that her wardrobe can provide. “In the deep depths of winter, I’m helped by my Uniclo thermals, lightweight, flexible and reliably warm.”
Typically Milli is to be found wearing her old paddock boots. Warm, dry and comfortable feet are of the utmost importance. “I treat my boots with leather cream every few weeks to keep them waterproof. Thick socks are a must, and a few extras on hand are helpful.”
“I rarely wear gloves. I find I can work with greater dexterity and one of the joys of gardening is having my hands in the dirt.”
“I don’t think there are any ‘grow your own’ fashion rules. So long as you’re practical for the weather at hand, rain or shine, and that you’re feeling good.”
Milli’s boots are by Dever, and set her back £30 when they were new (6 years ago). Milli’s jeans and jumpers typically come from TKMaxx or Uniclo. Her favourite red summer dress, to keep cool, entertain and still get stuff done is from Oliver Bonas.
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