Living in the city, I try to embrace the urban lifestyle. Since it’s not going to be 98 degrees this afternoon, I’m a pedestrian today. I’ve been driving to and from work (it’s about .75 miles) because I’m a cold-weather creature and I don’t trust myself to make it home in one piece across hot pavement and sidewalks, feeling hot gusts from car and bus exhaust when it’s already almost 100 degrees out. Call me a pansy. I’d rather walk through snow. Tack on the fact that I’ve been super-busy lately and most of my evening engagements have required a quick getaway from work and easy transport…well, you get the gist of my cop-out story.
But, today, it’s “cooler” with a high of 88, so I hoofed it to work, and I’ll hoof it home. Since my outfit called for pumps, though, I had an interesting sense of fashion on my morning commute.
This got me thinking, though: fitness (even something so simple as burning extra calories by walking to work) and farming are two areas where people are willing to look goofy for the sake of function.
For instance, my ideal running/jogging/walking gear for warmer weather includes:
- Spandex shorts, under running shorts
- Knee-high soccer socks (the light pressure helps with both my form and my shin splints)
- A tank top
- Shoes that are supposed to be hot pink, but are a little off-colored after the Color Run
- An armband for my iPhone and other small necessities
- And, I’ll be forward, a small army of bras — come on, if you haven’t noticed by now I’m busty, then you needed the rude awakening
Does it look especially attractive, for me to run in friction-reducing spandex and running shorts? Nope. And those various bra straps, the thigh-length spandex, the knee-high socks, and the armband can contribute to some funky tan lines. But it’s comfortable, it’s functional, and it works for me.
(Speaking of tan lines, I had several friends in high school and college that were SERIOUS softball players. I will never be upset about the tan lines I’ve developed this summer, after years of seeing THEIR tan lines.)
The simple fact is, when you’re trying to be fit, functionality typically takes the cake of fashion. There are, of course, fashionable things to do and faux pas to avoid, but if you’re sincerely doing it for the right reasons, you aren’t afraid to look a little silly because of it.
Well, farming is the same way. You don’t wear nice clothes if you know you’re going to be splattered with manure, or you’re going to be snagging them on barbed wire. You don’t wear cute shoes to stumble over corn stalks.
Those gloves that reach up to your armpits? They aren’t there for looks, they’re there because they work. (If you want to read about my adventures with gloves that go all the way to your armpits, you can check it out here. Hint: there are dairy cows involved, and we get to know each other very well.)
As obsessed as I am with cowgirl boots, sometimes they aren’t the most practical footwear for me. They’re ideal for when I visit my ranchy-friends, but if I know I’m going to be jumping in and out of big tractors and trucks or walking in corn stalks, I prefer my lace-up combat boots. They brace my ankles better. If I trip on a row of corn stalks in a harvested field, I’m not going to tweak my ankle as easily. They may not be as pretty or aesthetic as my several pairs of cowgirl boots…but, dammit, they do their job.
What are your shameless functional articles of clothing? Whether you’re working long hours on a farm (or other job), strolling down the street in downtown Kansas City because the heat wave broke, or working up a sweat with a great workout…what clothing item (or items) can you not live without? (You know, even if it isn’t the most flattering, fashionable, or trendy…)