Hort couture: gardeners road test the workwear fashion trend

Designers have taken inspiration from the great outdoors this autumn, turning to all-weather clothes, smocks and big boots. But do actual gardeners dig it?

Tayshan Hayden-Smith, semi-pro footballer and founder of Grow2Know

I inherited a love of nature from my mum. This park [Holland Park in London] is a place I have grown up visiting – I live locally, near Grenfell Tower. After the fire, something made me want to go towards nature and greening up spaces in the community, and I got into guerrilla gardening. In the last year I’ve set up the Grow2Know community gardening project to empower, inspire and educate young people, and diversify the horticultural scene.

I don’t have specific gardening clothes other than my boots. Typically I wear cargo pants or tracksuit bottoms and layer up under a jumper to stay warm but move freely. I really like this outfit; it’s presentable but allows you to get on with what you need to do in the garden.

Tayshan wears Dickies overshirt, £68, and vintage T-shirt, £25, both urbanoutfitters.co.uk. Cargo pants, £20, asos.com. Boots, £135, muckbootcompany.co.uk.

Jonathan Moutrie, garden designer

Jonathan Moutrie
Jonathan Moutrie: ‘The smock is similar to the one I usually garden in, which has useful big pockets.’ Photograph: Ekua King/The Guardian

I retrained as a gardener five years ago, after a career in visual merchandising. I now do garden design and maintenance, and I would wear this outfit for those. The smock is similar to the one I usually garden in, which is from the Great Dixter shop and has useful big pockets. Otherwise I have a couple of French work shirts, and I generally wear shorts or denim with my old Red Wing boots for winter, or my tabi-toe Japanese sock-boots with steel toecaps – they’re really comfortable to work in.

Jonathan wears smock, £72, and shorts, £85, carriercompany.co.uk. T-shirt, £59, by Jackman, from lavenhamjackets.com. Tabi boots, his own.

Danny Clarke, professional gardener and TV presenter

Danny Clarke.
Danny Clarke: ‘My job is very physical and dirty, so I wouldn’t wear anything that might get damaged.’ Photograph: Ekua King/The Guardian

I’ve been a gardener for 23 years. I was working in garden design when I got into TV by chance in 2015 – I’ve presented two seasons of The Instant Gardener for the BBC. I’m also a director of Grow2Know. If you watch gardening shows, you would think they’re only for white middle-class people – our aim is to encourage younger and more diverse people into the industry. We’re working on some exciting projects at the moment, so watch this space.

My job is very physical and dirty, so I wouldn’t wear anything that might get damaged. For gardening, I wear old things and steel toecap safety boots. I always wear a scarf, which I use to tie back my hair while I’m working. I would wear the Barbour for work; I used to wear my brother’s all the time but it got one tear too many and fell to bits.

Danny wears vintage Barbour, £89, from Goldsmith Vintage, 57 Neal Street, London WC2. Kimono cardigan, £260, by the English Difference, from couvertureandthegarbstore.com. Jeans, from a selection, levis.com. Top and Dr Martens, his own.

Charlie Porter, writer and amateur gardener

Charlie Porter
Charlie Porter: ‘For gardening I have three pairs of denim shorts and two pairs of jeans.’ Photograph: Ekua Kind/The Guardian

I started gardening in 2004 when I bought a flat that had access to a patch of ground. In 2018 I stopped working as a fashion journalist and started writing my book, What Artists Wear, which meant I was able to commit time to the Friends of Arnold Circus, a local volunteer group that looks after the garden around a bandstand in Shoreditch, London.

For gardening I have three pairs of denim shorts and two pairs of jeans. I wear things I like because I think fashion is there to be worn. Obviously I wouldn’t wear something with a weird strap that might get caught, but I don’t believe in keeping things for best. I’m excited that I can wear this Molly Goddard cardigan now it’s getting colder, and these socks are brilliant all year round – they’re cotton so you don’t sweat. My husband and I have lots of pairs.

Charlie wears cardigan, £380, by Molly Goddard, from matchesfashion.com. Top, £155, by Craig Green, from endclothing.com. Socks, £20, by Anonymous Ism, from goodhoodstore.com. Martine Rose shorts and Adidas shoes, his own.


Interviews and styling: Helen Seamons

The GuardianTramp

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