Ten years ago, my dilemma was the same as any woman at a feed store; which men’s clothing would I need to make due with to get my work done? The shoulders were too wide, the fingers too fat, and the jeans kept showing more of my backside than I wanted anybody other than my husband to see! Fortunately, like Virginia Slims, we’ve come a long way, baby, and so have work clothes for hard-working farm women.
Let’s take a look at some of the hottest names in women’s work and farm wear that combine good fit with high quality.
Carhartt for Women
You can’t look at women’s work clothes without realizing the huge strides this brand has made in its ladies line over the past few years. With a 125 year history, it’s easy to see why Carhartt one of the leading clothing manufacturers for women’s work clothes. Here are a few favorites:
- Weathered Wildwood Jacket: This classic is heavy but breathable canvas with gussets where they’re needed and a sleeker fit than the company’s men’s counterpart. With cuffs that actually fit a woman’s wrist, a warm and fuzzy Sherpa lining, quality stitching and closures and a range of colors, it’s not hard to see why this classic is a hit with working women.
- Sweater Top Wool Boot Socks: Even though I typically relegate wool socks to winter wear, these are great in the summer, too, when you’re having to pull long hours in your boots and need something absorbent to keep your feet working well. These are the thickest, most comfortable boot socks I own!
- Jeans: These get their own category, even though they have several different fits and styles. Why? Inseam lengths for women! The women in my family tend towards, well, short and wide. Try finding that in a pair of men’s pants that won’t gap at the waist or end up so big that they’re falling off while the long inseams drag on the ground.
Duluth Trading Company
I actually grew up 90 miles from Duluth, but didn’t discover this company until a couple years ago. What a shame! Though I didn’t grow up on a farm, I often spent time working with my dad doing insulation work and would have loved to have gotten a few of this company’s awesome shirts. These are premium-priced clothes, to be sure, but their quality is second to none.
- Long Tail T Shirts: This is an awesome collection of long-wearing tees that have a few extra inches on the bottom with a number of different sleeve lengths. These are awesome with that pair of two of men’s jeans that are perfect for heavy work but leave you looking a bit bare on the hips, such as my favorite Riggs WorkWear cargo pants that I use for emergency response (these would get a section of their own if they weren’t men’s – they’re fabulous for blackberrying!).
- Button Down Shirts: I can actually fit my arms into these and have free range of motion with my shoulders, something I can’t claim very often in women’s clothing! Most clothing manufacturers seem to have a disconnect that a woman who can haul feed and hay bales should still have toothpick arms. These shirt have plenty of room to move without having huge wrists or hanging halfway down to your knees.
Here’s an odd fact: if you have a man and a woman grip a hammer, 95% of the time, the man’s knuckles will form a straight line 90 degrees from the wrist, where the woman’s knuckles form a slant. This makes a huge difference in how gloves fit! Mechanix does one thing and it does it very well: gloves. I’ve had several pairs of their women’s gloves over the years, mainly because my daughter keeps nabbing them to borrow and then loses them, but every pair I’ve had have been durable, stylish and well-fitting. These are some seriously tough, long-lasting and excellent-fitting gloves in a range of different styles and colors, with some seriously awesome style factor as well. I’m thinking I need a pair of burgundy ones next time the girl runs off with mine.
Though I grew up in a country-western family, it’s taken me a while to come back around to Wrangler. It seemed like for a while they were going for more flash and style than durability. But there’s something to be said about one of the original western wear companies, and that’s style. From Q-Baby blinged-out jeans to Aura’s slimming properties, helpful when the diet hasn’t quite kept up over the winter, Wrangler is a great choice when you need a combination of fit, style and comfort.
Whatever your needs are, these pieces will keep you looking stylish, comfortable and working hard. For some more ideas on what works for women farmers and ranchers in Iowa, why not register for our Second Annual Women’s Landowner Conference? At Iowa Land Sales, we’re proud to support Iowa’s farming women.