5 Farm Fashion Lessons by Helen Alderson (Rachel Shenton) from All Creatures Great & Small
Country women don’t get a lot of style icons. There is somewhat of a void of fashion advice for those of us living quite a different life than city girls who are prancing across streets in high heels and white jeans. So here I am yet again fashion blogging the country life.
When building a country wardrobe there are some things to consider. Let’s look at the practical and stylish pointers we can extract from a character well acquainted with harsh weather, mud and livestock. Look no further than Masterpiece Theatre’s All Creatures Great and Small, based on my long time favorite book series by James Herriot. You can imagine my thrill when the show came out whilst all these years I have been rereading the endearing books since I was a girl.
Helen Alderson, played by Rachel Shenton, displays her 1937 fashion on the farm. Here’s the fashion lessons from Season 1 Episode 1 as analyzed by yours truly (and it is consistent with my previous country fashion advice…yes thank you costume designer for reinforcing my opinions):
1) Dark green color. As the show progresses you notice Helen’s color palette never veers black but uses rich dark hues of nature such as hunter green, navy, and burgundy. In this episode we see a monochromatic ensemble with the beautiful velvety green hue on bottom and top.
2) High waisted pants. Bending, crouching and walking…there is only one rise of pant fit to stay put and not slide down your backside with such movements. When your hands are full of chickens or dirt you won’t be able to pull up your trousers. Keep the crack where it belongs in your high waisted pants. Good choice Helen.
3) Durable fabrics. If you live where the wind blows or you don’t want your skin scraping against a hard floor when sitting down or you don’t want sharp fencing so easily ripping holes in your garments, you need thick fabric like sturdy corduroy. Helen wears a high waisted pleated trouser in this episode which looks as soft and comfortable as it does strong.
4) Rain Boots. Look at all those puddles she has to navigate. We all need a tall pair of wellies for those sopping wet days or mucky barns. Rain boots are the nude pump of the country woman. We wear them with everything.
5) When it’s wet it feels even colder. Helen knows the importance of a wool sweater, no acrylic nonsense. Her sweater is a beautiful knit pattern reminding us that cold weather clothing has details that make it as stylish as utilitarian. She chose a shape that clings nicely inward at the waist but billows for movement so it doesn’t show stomach when she moves her arms up. In other words it’s not too short and it’s not a baggy mess. It fits just right. Fit and knit. Keep that in mind ladies.
This was only episode 1! There are so many more moments of farm and country fashion ahead! I don’t think I’ve ever identified more with a character on a show. She’s got some adorable dresses too.