What to wear when gardening? I look at old photographs of
gardeners from 100 years ago, and rather envy their tweed suits and ties –
whilst wondering whether they were only quite so well turned-out when there was
a camera about…
For the male gardener in 2015 there are probably three
options. Firstly, old clothes – those no longer fit to be ‘seen out in’, but
still with some life in them. Secondly, outdoor/activity clothing – again,
possibly relegated from actual hiking duties, but not quite ready for the
recycling bin. And finally, ‘workwear’ – the sort of pocket-laden garb sported
by all manner of tradespeople.
Now, none of these quite fits the bill. Old cords are
comfortable and warm (and have that desirable touch of the Monty Dons), but they’re
horrible when they get wet and (by the
time they reach the garden) they’re prone to going through at the knees. Cord
and other ‘old trousers’ also only have the regular allowance of pockets, and those are usually
not fastenable so dropping change and keys in the herbaceous border becomes a
problem. Activity trousers have plenty of (zipped) pockets, and dry quickly,
but they are usually made from fairly light fabric, and aren’t waterproof –
ideal for hill-walking but less so for cold, wet days in the garden.
The ‘workwear’ option – the likes of Dickies and Dunlop –
may be more practical, and widely available, but somehow don’t quite feel right.
As a gardener, I want to be warm, dry and comfortable – but not look like Bob
I was pleased, therefore, to be given the chance to try out
a pair of Genus All-weather Gardening Trousers. These are specifically designed
for gardening – rather than being co-opted from another purpose, or from the
Fabric-wise they are on the ‘technical’ side, being made
from a mixture of Polyamide and Spandex – which means they’re light,
quick-drying, and nicely stretchy. They’re also comfortably warm (on a chilly
autumn morning), and pretty waterproof too. Given that we gardeners spend a lot
of time on the ground, they have fully adjustable, built-in knee padding (which
works very well), and a damp-proof seat – so you can perch on a wet stone wall
or bench for elevenses, without getting the proverbial ‘soggy bottom’.
There are plenty of pockets too. Two zippable pockets on the
thighs, a zippable ‘kidney’ pocket (intended for a mobile phone), and two non-zipped
hip pockets. I’d prefer them all to be zippable myself, but then I am prone to carrying
(and losing) more things than are necessary.
Two ‘stab-proof’ pockets allow you to carry secateurs and
other sharp tools handily without injuring yourself. One is designed for a long
Hori-hori knife (of which more in another blog) – though mine was so sharp it
did still poke through uncomfortably.
Interestingly, Genus started out making gardening clothes
for women – whose options are maybe more limited than those for men. But the demand for men’s versions suggests male gardeners are keen to have suitable, well-made and
thoughtfully-designed clothing as well: and why not?
If you’re looking to invest in some serious trousers for the
garden – as an amateur or a professional gardener – I’d recommend you give these
Genus trousers a go.