Spring means it’s time for some horticultural therapy for both you and your loved one.
The fun thing about gardening attire? You can dress to impress, while keeping the combination of comfort, practicality and functionality as a priority.
Here’s what to wear from the bottom up to keep you and your loved one comfy, dry and protected from the sun, bugs, and scratchy twigs and branches.
Comfortable waterproof clogs or boots
Gardening boots are great, but sometimes it’s nice to give those toes some sunshine and fresh air. That’s when you need comfortable, durable, supportive clogs you can hose off.
Meet OOFOS. Research shows OOFOS reduce load, decrease compressive forces, and support foot mobility when compared to traditional footwear. As a result, every OOFOS style carries the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance. Plus, they’re designed with closed-cell foam, so they’re machine-washable. This design also keeps them odor-free.
Of course gardening boots are the standard for any gardening work. Try the highly recommended Bogs Sauvie Slip On Boot, which are water-resistant with a cushioned sole to keep feet comfortable. Or, for a knee-high boot, try the equally popular Hunter Original Tall Rain Boot with a latex coating, rubber sole and cinchable buckle at the top.
Knee-high socks are imperative for gardening, regardless of your choice of footwear. A good pair of gardening socks will protect your feet and legs from bug bites. They can also shield your legs, allowing you to wear shorts or capris on those extra warm days.
- Randy Sun 100% Waterproof breathable compression socks are an excellent choice because the compression element will reduce edema and leg fatigue after standing all day in the garden.
- Insect Shield Sport Crew sock will keep those pesky bugs away while keeping most of the lower leg protected from the sun and thorns, twigs, and such.
- If style tops your list, try “Proud Plant Mom” socks from Blue Q or “Plant Daddy” socks from LookHUMAN.
A sturdy pair of overalls
Overalls do not restrict range of motion and they come pre-built with plenty of pockets for small items and tools, which is super handy. Plus, they stay up. We all know how irritating it is to have to constantly have to hike our pants up after bending over to prune a plant. Overalls remove this annoyance altogether.
- Carhartt Women’s Crawford Double Front Bib Overalls: These are super comfy. They consist mainly of cotton with Spandex for flex to allow free movement and a comfortable fit. And Carhartt is the epitome of durable workwear for men and women. For a more economical version try Dickies Denim Bib Overall.
- Dickies Short Sleeve Overall: This option will cover all of your clothing and keep you cool with built-in cooling temperature control technology. Long sleeve options are also available.
Long-sleeve UPF shirts
Did you know you can get sunburned through your clothing? A typical cotton fabric can transmit 15-20% UVR (UV radiation); this increases to more than 50% if the garment is wet. Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) is a measure of how much UV radiation a fabric allows to reach your skin. According to recommendations from the Skin Cancer Foundation, a UPF of 30 to 49 offers very good protection, while UPF 50+ rates as excellent. There are countless options of styles and brands, so here is a filterable list of the best UPF long-sleeve gardening shirts for men, and here’s a similar list for women.
Knee pads or a floor mat
Even though there’s something very special about digging directly into the earth, gardening with gloves has its benefits: no splinters, no thorns and no dirt under your fingernails to scrub out later. We recommend either wrist-length nitrile gloves that are thin enough as to not compromise dexterity or, for more intensive work, elbow-length gloves such as Magid Rose pruning gloves.
Protect your noggin (and neck) with a sun hat
Most people know to wear a hat while gardening, but many don’t know that many gardening-specific hats have additional protective features such as wide brims, neck shields and UPF fabric.
Hats get hot. And hot hats get taken off, which leads to a sunburned, tender scalp. The Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat is so lightweight you will actually leave it on—but not so light it will make you chase it in the wind. It has full neck coverage and UPF 50 fabric.
This Lenikis sun hat has coverage adaptable to any condition. Its 50+ UPF fabric will block 98% of UV rays with a wide brim, and detachable side flaps will keep your face, ears, neck and the back of your head shaded at all times.
Wrap-around sunglasses are best for gardening, especially for older adults. Gravity doesn’t get the best of them when you bend forward, and they can double as safety glasses when you’re trimming with a hedge cutter or doing heavy pruning.
- Outdoor tinted safety glasses: These versatile safety goggles with tinted lenses have UV400 protection from UVA/UVB rays, and are scratch- and impact-resistant.
- Carhartt Carthage Safety Eyewear with Vented Foam Carriage: Sweat a lot? The frames of these comfy and absorbent glasses are 60% cotton and vented to prevent fogging and slippage. They protect from 99% of harmful UV-A and UV-B rays.
- NoCry work & sports safety sunglasses: These highly customizable frames can be adjusted to just the right fit. The anti-scratch wraparound lenses, non-slip grips, and UV 400 protection make them another excellent and safe choice for the garden.
Now that you’re all dressed up and ready to garden, make sure you have the right gardening gear for older adults before heading outside. Also, be sure to read up on how horticultural activities are therapeutic to your loved one. But hurry! So many weeds, so little thyme.