Style and Women in Farming

Monday, December 14, 2015

Women in farming

Anyone who knows me knows I am no fashionista, but that doesn't mean that I don’t like to get dressed up when I go into the city.

Today, though, I talking about farm and work wear for women in ag. What to wear on the farm when you are working i.e. something that is comfortable and yet practical.  While I'm not afraid of hard-work, I don't like getting my regular clothes torn or muddy. So I decided I needed to get myself some overalls and gumboots.

Now I wasn’t looking for something to flatter my figure or anything farm chic, I was simply looking for something durable, functional with a good fit. Most of the stores I went to had overalls that were made by designers and tailors who seemed to believe that women and men's bodies were the same.

The crotch area/inseam was just weird, the sizes were obviously cut for men. Let's talk about the designs... *inhale, exhale and sigh*... the designs were so disappointing. I don’t like wearing baggy clothes because it's difficult to work in them and very uncomfortable when I'm walking long distances. In this summer heat, the overalls can quickly become a hot suit!

Then came the gumboots.

I’m not sure what shoe sole mold was used to design them, but they clearly were not made for normal feet. The fit is awkward and does nothing for arch support. They are heavy to walk in and require you to lift the boot with the front part of your foot to walk—if you look at most farmers they have big calves from doing this.

Don't  get me started on those one-size-fits-all gloves that EVERY farm store in Harare sells. Really, though!? It's difficult to hold any equipment when I have those on. For the rubber gloves, once I take them off my hands are drenched in sweat and my skin starts to peel—not good!

Now I’m not asking fashion designers to come up with something with glitter or anything outrageous. Just something that is tailored to the needs of women farmers.

So, here is my farming attire wish list:

1.       Overalls that are tailored to my body, are breathable and comfortable with secret compartments that I can carry my stuff.
2.       Gumboots that are actually shaped like a real person's feet are going to wear them
3.       Garden gloves and composting gloves that are not made for giants or one size fits all
4.       Wide brimmed durable hat

Leave your comments below if you have your own experiences on this to share. How have you overcome this or do you just accept what’s there?


Kundai is the co-founder and co-editor of Emerging Farmer. She is also a Hurudza Young Farmer Award winner. She grows, processes and distributes mushrooms and vegetables and raises farm animals (pigs, chicken & ducks) on her family's farm. Say hello @kundeezy


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