I’m Obsessed with Garden Clothes Right Now—These Are Worth the Splurge
These designers are marrying gardening with—who would have guessed—fashion. Take a look at why these pieces are worth the splurge.
I remember when high-end brooms came on the market. You know, the ones with hand-beveled ash handles, corn bristles, and leather hanging loops. The brooms were functional but artisanal—and they came at a pretty penny. I pined for one of these brooms, imagining it having pride of place in my kitchen. Now, as gardening has become more and more popular, there is a new aesthetic for me to crave: Garden clothes by way of Kinfolk.
I’m talking about garden clothes that are fashion-forward enough to be worn on the street, but also ready to help me do everything from harvest produce to keeping my shears from falling out of my pocket. The look is utilitarian chic, and personally, I love it.
But before we go too far, let’s acknowledge that even some designers can see the inherent dichotomy between gardening—which is dirty and laborious—and fashion. “It feels a little silly, I admit,” says Los Angeles designer Rozae Nichols of Flora Animalia. “You can put on an old t-shirt and pants to garden, of course.” But, she says, her gardening clothes are more purposeful and well crafted than anything you could buy at Home Depot. Her Rising Sun apron, which retails for $195, is made with non-GMO seeds, no pesticides, and fair labor practices. The dyeing and processing is also non-toxic.
Then there’s the garment itself: With a flattering pinafore silhouette that’s been around for hundreds of years, there’s a large pocket in the front for tools, a side pocket that’s V-shaped for shears and scissors, a loop for a towel or tool, and more pockets for seeds, fresh vegetables, and your cellphone. Frankly, I could see anyone from a stylish new mom heading to Trader Joe’s to the fashion-and-garden-obsessed reaching for it.
There’s a generational component to garden style as well. Designer Alan Calpe of Gardenheir, which makes both garden-worthy and garden-inspired clothes, says, “We just felt like most of what was out there in the garden goods world wasn’t personally speaking to our sensibilities. Our generation has a relationship with both the city and country, and comes from the worlds of art and fashion. We’re diverse. We’re queer. We really embrace all of that.” He adds that whether people wear Gardenheir to work on their raised beds or to look great while grabbing a latte isn’t the point—garden inspiration is still at the center of things.
Garden garments have also popped up at Plant Material‘s three L.A nurseries that are partly owned by David Godshall and Lauren Jordan—native plant evangelists and landscape architects whose firm, Terremoto LA, was on Elle Decor’s A-list of designers in 2021. By collaborating with the Los Angeles label olderbrother, which has its brick-and-mortar store on trendy Venice Boulevard, they launched a collection of four gardening garments this month.
One popular item—a pair of gardening overalls—was inspired by those worn on naval flight decks. Meanwhile, their beeswax-coated “fisherman shirt” is so in demand, that the designer, Max Kingsbury, hasn’t been able to get his hands on one.
Lauren, who was fortunate enough to snag the shirt, wears it all the time. “The way the beeswax thickens the shirt makes it protective. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been working with this bush that’s really pokey, and layering this shirt can be very key where an old t-shirt wouldn’t suffice,” she says.
When asked about the cost of the garments—the overalls retail for $450—the team point out that there is a high cost to making a sustainable product like theirs.
“I think it’s important to say this isn’t just about an aesthetic,” says Kingsbury. Each piece is sewn in-house, washed, and finished by a small team. There is virtually no plastic, and the overalls will decompose. The beeswax shirt, meanwhile, is made with wild-harvested silk. “You could literally eat the overalls—there’s nothing toxic in them,” Kingsbury says. “The cost is a reality of when you make things at that level. Another brand would charge one thousand dollars for those overalls. We have a friendly profit margin.”
Cost aside, in a certain regard it makes sense for anyone interested in organic gardens and sustainability to dress appropriately. “If I’m going to plant an organic garden, I want to work in organic cotton,” says Nichols. “I don’t want a $29.99 apron I could get anywhere. That goes against the principles of planting organic food. These garments are part of a holistic vision.”