This is not a fashion piece. You don’t have to go out and spend big bucks on special clothing. It’s about dressing comfortably and safely, Most of us garden alone and the plants don’t care what we look like.
The photo is me in my office ready to go out and garden. There’s nothing fashionable about my outfit. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it an outfit. Like me, you probably have comfortable clothes right in your closet.
As we get older, practical gardening clothes become more important. The consequences of all the problems that can beset us are greater the older we are. Using my image as a mannequin, I’ll enumerate from head to toe.
The wide brim hat covers my ears and neck, as well as shading the sun from my face. Ears, especially the tops, take a particular beating from the sun. Skin cancer there often requires surgery rather than just a spritz of liquid nitrogen. And I’m sure every gardener has suffered a painful sunburn on the back of the neck. I chose a crushable hat so I can roll it up and put in a suitcase when traveling. Greek fisherman’s caps are my headgear of choice but they afford little protection from the sun.
The sunglasses should be a must. UV rays can be very damaging to the eyes, especially if you have macular degeneration, or if you are old enough to be susceptible to age related macular degeneration.
I’m wearing a short sleeve shirt with plenty of sunscreen on my arms because I won’t be doing anything that requires a long sleeve shirt. If you’re pruning shrubs, a long sleeve shirt will protect your arms from scratches. If you’re working in long grass or weeds where ticks are lurking, long sleeves are a better choice. It’s also a good choice when mosquitoes are flying around.
Note the medical alert around my neck and there’s a water bottle ready to go with me. Both are essential accessories. And my phone is in my pocket.
Although you can’t see them, I’m wearing ieans. They’re always a good pant choice. They are comfortable and impervious to many thorns, bugs and other hazards. I seldom wear shorts when working in the garden. (And now we have to worry about the Murder Wasps that have just arrived from Asia.) Whether you choose to hold your jeans up with suspenders or a belt is entirely up to you.
As far as footwear is concerned, let the work you are about to do guide you. Don’t wear sandals if you are string trimming. It hurts if you get too close. That’s experience speaking. If you’re working in or near a pond, a pair of Wellingtons might be appropriate.
The take away here is that the well dressed senior gardener wears what’s comfortable and, most importantly, what’s safe.