April 20, 2012

Reader Question | Homesteading Style

Reader Question:

Hi,

I've been really enjoying reading your posts and have found a lot of inspiration.  I recently had my first baby who is now 4 months old and I have a husband who doesn't seem to find anything wrong with the big belly and junky tees and baggy pants that I have been wearing.  He doesn't seem to think that I should need to spend money on clothes to feel like I look better.  It is a nice sentiment but I still would like to dress more attractively!

I am a stay at home mama and I have a small homestead to run.  I grow a lot of our own food and on any given day need to move from weeding and planting(so getting my knees very muddy), hosting drop by visitors, chasing hawks away from my chickens, nursing a demanding baby, harvesting from the garden to make dinner, etc, etc.  I would love to look better while doing all this and the way my day works it would be really impractical to frequently change clothes from task to task.

Please help with ideas for outfits that could help me pull all this off while still looking pulled together myself!

Thank you!!

Emily

 

Answer:

Emily, what an amazing life you're leading!  At heart I'm a pioneer woman/hippy, so when I saw your email, I pounced on it before S. could get to it!  I love that you're living off the land–and, you want to look (and feel) good doing it : ).  But as I thought about what would really work for your lifestyle, I got a little nervous.  It occurred to me this might be kinda super hard to pull off–I mean, your days (and I assume nights) are spent not only caring for a babe who knows exactly what s/he wants, but actually planting, tending and cooking you family's sustenance.  So. . . not just spit-up, nursing and playground sand, but mud, dirt and manual labor.  Hmmm. . . I thought. . . you might not be too far off the mark with tees and baggy pants, but I think I've come up with a nice update to freshen up your look and keep it functional.

Homstead Style

 

First, I'd start with accessories.  If I were a homesteading mama, I'd make a fabulous hat, sunnies and a large, airy cotton scarf my trademarks.  Not only will they pull your look together, they'll keep the sun off your face and shoulders and the wrinkles at bay.  Nobody needs that business after stretchmarks and postpartum pooch onset.  Nobody.  Throw the scarf on when you're out of the vegetable patch and company stops by, and in addition to wrapping it around your neck, you can use it as a nursing cover, shawl, baby shade, head wrap, etc. (so get one you really like).  If you can avoid losing them, accessories also get lot less wear and tear if you care for them well, so even the junkiest t-shirts and baggy pants will look instantly updated when you wear them. 

Footwear.  You're one of the lucky few who actually has an excuse to wear wellies on a regular basis, so I say go for it!  Besides Hunter boots, which are pretty spendy, Target, Old Navy and Lands End (everything is 30% off right now, too!), all make great versions.  I'd wear them with shorts, skirts, skinny jeans and under cuffed boyfriends (see S.'s update on how to wear rain boots).  I am also a long-time lover of 90's fav Georgia work boots.  I just know in my heart of hearts that these babies will be back with a vengeance, and they're arguably on-trend as lace-up boots–but they actually work (like, as work boots).  I seriously had a pair for 15 years until they mysteriously went missing and I'm coveting them again as I write this.  Wear them unlaced at the top with boyfriend and cuffed/cropped skinny jeans and with shorts, or if you're feelin' it, skirts, too.

As a nursing, stay-at-home, homesteading mama, my other mainstay would be loose, interesting, not-too-expensive t-shirts and tanks.  Look for styles that fall away from the tum with details like bias-cut fabric, over-sized pockets, epaulets and snaps, and pair them with durable separates like already-destroyed boyfriend jeans, cutoffs or a cute pair of printed shorts.  I like styles with wide scoop necks that pull down for easy nursing.  I've been know to do some light gardening in skirts, so if you're having a fairly light-duty day, don't overlook the possibilities of a pretty, printed skirt this spring and summer.  Grab a light chambray shirt, too–it'll keep the sun off during peak hours and will look amazing thrown over any outfit here, either worn open, belted or half-tucked.

Oh, and don't forget knee pads, a fab pair of work gloves and lots and lots of sunscreen–not only will they help you do your job, they'll keep your pants and legs fresh and sun damage–the mother of all age spots–in check.

Thank you for writing in and for your kind words, Emily.  Happy homesteading! 

- M.   

11 Comments
  • S
    April 20, 2012

    M, you DID pounce on it, LOL!!! And I agree with u on the Georgias – totally coming back!
    LOVE that you included knee pads. :). But this is seriously stylish stuff. Funny how it looks Coachella-worthy also. Or maybe that does make sense (hippy/homesteading/coachella).
    Btw – I am container gardening this year. Yes I am. From seeds. And there are tiny little green things popping up. We’ll see. Would SO love to be able to grow something. Anything. Cross fingers for me.

  • Emily Smith
    April 20, 2012

    Thank you so much for such a thoughtful response. I love love love the Georgia boots–I’m definitely coveting them now too. I will have to get a chambray shirt and belt. Keeping the sun off has been a constant battle, especially as I really don’t like most sunscreens because of the chemicals and the more natural ones are greasy and leave you covered in white. I now have a lot of food for thought. I will also try to send some good luck garden vibes to you both and if you have any questions in that dept. feel free to ask! Thanks again!!—Emily

  • Fran
    April 20, 2012

    Emily, I found a natural sunscreen that doesn’t turn you white, and is only mildly greasy-feeling at first until it soaks in. Lovely Naturals Clear Body Spf 30. You can recognize all the ingredients in it!

  • Nicole H.
    April 20, 2012

    I think a thick/rugged apron would also be a good addition. Something to wear over your regular outfit to keep mud and dirt off your clothes. Then you just take it off when you come inside. I think ladies used to have an over-dress to be worn over the regular dress for dirty housework, then you take it off for when you want to look more put together.
    I love all the styles and individual pieces you picked out for this board. I’m also a mama who gets dirty (gardening) throughout the day but still wants to look nice.

  • Angela
    April 20, 2012

    LOVE IT!

  • Kay
    April 20, 2012

    Is it crazy that I’m loving Nicole’s suggestion of a housecoat? *off to check Etsy*
    I have a very teeny yard but half of it is taken over by raised beds. They’ve been sadly neglected since I got pregnant with my now-17-month old, but I’d like to get back to gardening.
    And I’d love to see photos of Emily & her homestead!

  • Emily
    April 20, 2012

    In case you’re wanting some other input, I totally feel like you should check out http://www.soulemama.com/ , she’s also a SAHM with an infant and a farm – and four other kids as well! I love all of the suggestions up there, too :-)

  • Jen
    April 20, 2012

    this was so awesome! I’m always getting dirty during the day gardening and landscaping but I love to look stylish (or at least not super grubby lol) and these were such good recommendations! Definitely need to find a cute sun hat!

  • cheralyn
    April 20, 2012

    Wow! Very practical and cute ideas. My girls and I spend a lot of mornings gardening and weeding. This is also great advice for those days at the park when you dont want to feel over dressed!

  • Johnnybell
    April 22, 2012

    Loved this post. Will continue reading your blog, Looks quite interesting.
    http://www.nytrendymoms.com/

  • Sarah
    April 24, 2012

    I was also going to suggest soulemama.com! She dresses cute while taking care of her homestead and small kids.
    This is something I struggle with, also, so thanks for the ideas. I am pregnant with #4, and we have a big yard and vegetable garden. I don’t have any animals, but I put up quarts and quarts of green beans, corn, tomatoes, peaches, spinach, etc. From about March to October, getting dirty is a serious possibility every day, and I resort to nasty jeans and baggy tshirts, also.

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