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Digging the Gardening Glam

Digging the Gardening Glam


Or, how to look good whilst knee deep in compost…


Despite the snowy start to spring, this is the time of year when most people start to thinking about gardening. And when it comes to gardening and style, the option is there to make no effort at all and schlep out to prune and weed in the fashion equivalent of a hessian sack, but why be the ugliest thing in your garden? If the arrival of an unexpected visitor inspires the desire to duck behind a large shrub perhaps it’s time to address your gardening clobber.


Instead, wear something functional and durable that also works in real life – e.g. doing the school run, having coffee with a friend, dashing to the shops – and avoids the need for several outfit changes.


A pair of sturdy boots, good gloves and a weeding pad are all you need from a practical point of view, otherwise, there are a few ways to go:


Sarah Raven carrying colander of Chinese artichokes

Sarah Raven’s garden style walks easily out the garden gate into the world beyond. Photograpy © Jonathan Buckley


Rich Ruby Raven

First, there’s the Sarah Raven look which is the anti-shabby of the gardening styles and perhaps walks most easily out of the garden gate and into the world beyond. This is about colour, texture and layering: wear linen, cord or print skirts, multiple t-shirts in rich colour tones that can take the odd fleck of soil, denim jackets or a big, old coat that’s not your best but still acceptable.


When you’re done, dust down your knees, sling on a pretty scarf, or necklace – or even a shawl to cover up the mucky bits – and get on with your day.


alys fowler

Alys Fowler’s vintage style sits prettily in the garden.


Vintage Bloom

Next, there’s the vintage style that sits prettily in a gardening setting. Options here include recycling old summer skirts and cardies that don’t quite cut it any more and would otherwise be bound for a charity shop, or snapping up a few old floral finds from said charity shops.


This look is helped by big belts, I’ve lusted after a gardening belt for a while and their utility style is a good contrast to the pretty vintage feel. Alys Fowler is an exemplar of this look – the small dog as an accessory is optional.


vita sackville west

Vita Sackville West creator of the gardens at Sissinghurst and gardening style icon.



Horsey Horticulture

Finally, there’s the equestrian look that has a long lineage and can be traced back to literary gardening legend Vita Sackville West of Sissinghurst fame – she really knew how to work a pair of jodhpurs and a string of pearls. This look retains its favour in the contemporary world and is personified by Kate Middleton and the legions who’ve made a well-judged purchase of Dubarry boots.



This short video has been making the rounds on twitter and testifies to the popularity anglo-horsey style in the US.