Photo by Muffy Aldrich
The Modern Guide to The Thing Before Preppy

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

‘Knocking Around’ Clothes for Doing Outdoor Work?


Reader Question:  

Muffy, serious question... do you have and wear 'knocking around' clothes for doing outdoor work?


My 'knock around' clothes are older versions of what I wear most of the time.   After they get too ratty for outdoor work, they tend to get relegated to painting or muckier work.



  1. Pretty much agree w the words above. Add to it some free t-shirts from one event or another that make ideal grimy yard work apparel.

  2. Like RCJH I have a few ancient event tee shirts. They are perfect for anything where they are likely to get splattered, torn, or otherwise made more disreputable. For cold weather gardening and other chores, including painting, it is ancient sweats.

  3. I do not buy special clothes for outdoor work. When my work clothes get too worn
    for work I wear them outdoors. My family jokes I am the best dressed grass cutter. I like long sleeve shirts to keep from getting poison ivy on my arms. This is a problem when it gets real hot.

  4. There is no difference. I wear the same clothes for all tasks. In all honesty, since pandemic, I have a habit of showering at night, sleeping in a JJill dress, and tossing on a cashmere cardigan and pearls in the AM for work meetings. Repeat. As needed. Don't judge. We are in a pandemic. If I am feeling ambitious I put on a smear of Dior Lip Glow and use a real coffee mug instead of an insulated tumbler. Desperate times.

    1. I went a little off topic. Same applies to outdoor work. Lately it seems to be the same get-up for locking up the chickens, walking in the woods, the beach, or any other mundane tasks. Basically, Bed-Beach-Boardroom Wear.

  5. Muffy, you could not have said it better! Our old classics, continue to serve us well! Thank you!

  6. Outdoor work contingent on the task & weather. Old khakis, Bermuda shorts, polo shirts, fishing shirts, chore coat..all tucked in with a belt. No tee shirts whatsoever. Gum shoes or tennis shoes. Was the only grown up on the block to cut my own grass. One Saturday morning, the yard man next door asked me " How much does she pay you " ? reply was "Well she lets me sleep with her"....he answered " Nawh sir, you live here"...replied " Yes sir". I must not take credit for this reply as I borrowed it from Lee Trevino, the golfer. Might add that my daughter upbraided one of her dates for his appearance & said " My father wears a Lacoste shirt while cutting the grass". Enuff said.

  7. I have no idea if I am preppy or not but I like that look. I am 72 and grew up with monogrammed sweaters in high school...that was the rage. my closet, a long sleeve crew neck tee is at least 30 years old, periwinkle in color but it is my favorite and better quality than new ones. What few pants I own are at least 5 years old, some 10. I have four wedding rings, three I wear all the time...simple from my father's mother who was born pre-Civil War. The other my mother's mother born 1884. My mother's, born in 1910. The last one...mine...which I bought and had designed myself to replace the previous one (an upgrade), also I bought. My husband bought his too. My late father went to a military high school and went around town in worn out corduroys, drove an old car, wore his military school belt, people thought he was a derelict. He just did not care. He owned two pair of shoes at a time, no more and wore them until they were beyond repair. Is that preppy or just plain odd? He mowed the yard with an old reel mower. My husband mows our yard himself. People around us hire companies, not us.

  8. As far as work wear, it's hard to beat Carhartt work pants. As far as shirts are concerned in the summer I wear old golf shirts.

  9. old shirts and hiking shoes, deerskin gloves in varying shades of wear/decay. pants, i tend toward patagonia's workwear. hemp/polyester/cotton blend, either 12.9 oz or 9.6 oz fabric. extra layer of fabric at the seat and knees. extremely durable yet comfortable.


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