I’ll admit straight away that this post is owed entirely to a pending shipment of new gardening overalls from Duluth Trading Company. This is not an ad (though, DTC, call me! Love your stuff!), just me being really excited that spring is nearing and I’m getting new gardening gear.
I’ve mentioned my love of the women’s DTC overalls in previous Gift Guides (2019, 2018) so this isn’t a new obsession. But let me extol the virtues of activity dedicated clothing so that you can get on this train with me.
You see, when I’m at home I’m usually in some variation of sweatpants or yoga pants. Comfort and functionality is key. Outside the house its jeans or scrubs for work. I’m not a fashionista, as you can see. But prior to these overalls (and, frankly, sometimes still) I found myself primarily gardening in said yoga pants. They were stretchy enough to handle all the different movements and didn’t misbehave, but (sing it with me ladies, the song of our people) NO POCKETS. What is a gardener without pockets? Constantly searching for their tools (and cramming their phone in their sweaty waistbands, am I right?).
I tried various aprons and found some tolerable (similar to this, which I still use when I do garden in something other than overalls) and other longer styles actively annoying (the flaps get in the way when bending, I find). I considered a beautiful handcrafted leather gardening belt, but struggled to find a configuration that would suit me and also secure my blasted phone.
However, a few years ago I also read an article or blog post at a long-forgotten site about work pants being the best thing ever. The gist was that these pants- gardening pants, carpentry pants, whatever- were task built and specific to the actions at hand. This made them more useful, more comfortable, and made your work easier. Aaah! This suddenly made those Duluth Trading Company Heirloom Gardening Overalls make sense. And then they were in my cart. Followed by the Fire Hose Bib Overalls.
Folks, I love these things. The straps are elasticized so the overalls bend and flex with you- which we all know we do dozens of times an hour. The knees are gusseted so you never have to hoik up the legs to squat. They have a million pockets- ones to fit your pruning shears, pens, a zippered pocket that will fit any smartphone, and the legs can be rolled up and snapped in place for a more capri-adjacent look on warm days. They even have pockets in the knees so that you can slip in a pair of knee pads (which I purchased this year and am very excited to start using)! And they come in cute, fun colors.
The only downside to these is that sometimes I do find, on the hottest and most humid days of summer- which there are many of here in Wisconsin, that the Heirloom overalls can get a bit swampy and aren’t as breathable in the legs as I’d like. They are a synthetic fabric, so that does explain it, but its the only change I would make- more breathable!
The Fire Hose overalls don’t have the leg-rolling-up function, but they are so durable (and warmer) that these are what I use when we are clearing trees and invasives in the woods and doing serious construction/installation work. These are also my go-tos in early Spring and late Fall when the temperatures are dipping and the ground is damp or still snowy. These shed the water beautifully and clean up like a dream. No thorn or branch will snag these, no matter how deep in the thicket you get.
I had wanted to add in another warm-season pair to the rotation (and was hoping for a cooler and/or more breathable option) and squealed audibly (just ask Rich) when I saw their new Rootstock Gardening Overalls, made of lightweight cotton denim.
These happily have the same functionality as the Heirloom overalls, but aren’t synthetic fabric. Cool, natural, breathable cotton with a bit of added stretch (just like my favorite jeans, but better). I’m guessing I’ll be living in these guys all summer long. I CAN’T WAIT FOR SUMMER!
Now, before you call me a liar and say this IS an ad, I’ll say that they aren’t the only company in the women’s overalls game. I haven’t tried any of these, but I have heard good things:
- Rosie’s Workwear (Inga Witscher from Wisconsin PBS shows famously wears these)
- Carhartt makes a number of styles
- Patagonia has a pair made from hemp fiber
- Dovetail Workwear makes a really great looking pair
- And of course, if overalls aren’t your jam, all of these companies make pants with similar functionality!
Just don’t be fooled into trying on a men’s pair! I thought, for a hot minute, that I could just grab a pair of men’s overalls from Farm & Fleet and be good. Perhaps if you aren’t as curvy as I am you’ll have some success, but that men’s inseam is not friendly! It is a far more enjoyable experience to try on a pair of these, built for both women’s bodies and gardening, and revel in just how awesome they are. And, of course, how much harder it is to misplace those pruners.
Now its your turn! Do you have gardening specific clothing (designated or by happenstance)? Do you rock overalls in the garden?