The clothing styles of peasants come out of necessity, practicality,frugality, the availability of materials and some beauty.
As I’ve been working in the garden year after year, I realized that my clothing style got adapted to this sort of living. Aside from making most of my clothes myself, I see a pattern in choosing and layering pieces of clothing that is becoming my own peasant clothing style!
For instance in this photograph the functions of the clothing are as follows:
Dress: I love wearing dresses both in good and bad weather. I made this one out of an old bed sheet (frugality) and it has 2 pockets (functionality).
Pants: Even though I love dresses, to prevent the mosquitoes from biting my legs, in the mornings and evenings I just put on pants under the dress.
Socks: Also a mosquito barrier.When pulled over the pants, they seal off the pant hems nicely so no mosquito can enter!
Vest or cardigan: An important layering element: it’s lightweight and protects you from the chill of the morning and evening.
A shawl: It has many functions.
It can be wrapped around the neck and shoulders to prevent morning chill, can be wrapped around the head as a hat, especially when doing some pruning. Otherwise all kinds of leaves and bugs fall out and get stuck in my hair!
It’s also useful when I have to carry something.I just wrap it in the shawl and tie it on my back or hips.
Plastic slippers: Most of the time I walk barefoot, but when I chop and drop too much woody material on the ground and the weather is too dry, it’s nice to wear slippers. They are very functional! I can get in and out of the water with them, they’re lightweight and always there when I need them!
I can see why in villages of Turkey plastic shoes were very popular. They’re easy to clean,water resistant and last long.
NOTE: The plastic shoes (kara lastik or cızlavat) in Turkey came into production in 1930’s.Before that people wore simple leather moccasins or just walked barefeet (which by general people connect it to poverty). Leather moccasins (çarık) tend to wear out quickly.But you can always fix it by hand or make a new one every now and then.It’s much better for sustainability and keeping the knowledge alive.The truth is, there’s so much work in the villages that people may not want to frequently deal with fixing shoes .
Plastic is much more easier to tend and inevitably people prefer to cross out one less work in their life,although you have to buy it and can’t really fix it when it breaks. But I read that back in the day, the worn out plastic shoes were chopped to little pieces and used for kindling fire and making toys.
In japan , waraji is worn, which is easy to make out of rice straw. When it’s worn out, you can just make a new one.
In South America, sandals made of used tires are popular. When left to their sources people always find solutions to their problems.
Work Gloves: In the beginning of my gardening years, I used to do everything bare handed and my hands would be full of bruises and cuts. Now I wear my gloves whenever I gather and lay mulch and do some pruning. They’re very helpful!