Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hick Sheek Fashion Week: Rage Against The Coveralls

Coveralls are one of the greatest joys and biggest frustrations of my life (other than, of course, Jethro and the kids).

In coveralls, I feel just that little bit more indestructable. I can go forth into the wilds of the muddy corral, I can throw hay around and fling mucky shavings and will my clothes get dirty? Noooo! Will I freeze? Noooo! Look at me in my coveralls! I am impervious to extreme cold and excrement!!!

There is just one huge problem, one that I've faced my whole life, and one that is not going away.

Nobody, at least not that I've found, makes a GOOD set of coveralls in my size.

I am, if I stand up as straight as a woman with scolisis can stand, barely 5"1" tall. I weigh about 120 lbs. Men's coveralls don't fit me. I don't know many men my size. I have lucked out a few times and found boy's coveralls, which I've snapped up before some other small women clawed them off the rack at the TSC store. The problem is, boys do not have backsides like mine. My 120lbs of weight is made up mostly of long messy thick hair and a very large bum in proportion to the rest of me.

Boy's coveralls, if they can be found, don't fit me well.

When I've had to make do with the smallest men's size, I've had to cut off six inches of fabric from the arms and legs. Then it fits in the limbs, but the crotch hangs down to my knees.

This is all very, extremely, maddeningly frustrating. I take it all stupidly personally, like The Man is out there thwarting all of my workwear desires. How dare The Man make my life difficult like this???

When I let myself get totally paranoid about the whole thing, my defiant little feminist rages come back. I was that tiny, scrawny little girl in the long braids and dirty jeans who would place her small fists on her narrow hips and scream at you that anything boys could do, girls could do better! And then, to prove it to you, reach up and drag herself onto the tractor and chase you down. Do you have any idea what it was like to be that kid in the 70s? (I think some of you do.)

So now, a good thirty years later, how far have we come?

Finally the makers of outerwear and workwear are starting to smarten up. Carhartt, I heart Carhartt haha, have rolled out their women's line, which is absolutely not poofy or girly-in-a-useless-condescending way. It's the same stuff the guys get, only shaped and sized for our bodies. Now, when I walk into a TSC store, yes, the place I like to go shopping for clothes, there are racks and racks of women's clothes. Finally.

If you were to visit most of the people working on farms and ranches, you'll find women and children. We are not only in the kitchen, scrubbing things and dusting things. We never were hiding out in the house. We have always been outside, in the barn, working.

And it's taken until 2007 to make good workclothes for us?

My grandmothers wore dresses out to the barn. That was what the time and the culture dictated. That was the fifties, people.

So imagine my happiness, even though I can't afford such lovely clothes, when I checked out the Carhartt website.

Then imagine my gut dropping disappointment when I found that in the women's section, there are bib overalls. And coats. Nice overalls. But coveralls? No.

My sweet rubber booted goddess, people, can they not make coveralls that fit me? Must I continually be denied? Will I be forced to suffer forever????

2007. It's the year 2007 and they still can't get it right.

I honestly don't get it. When I was showing horses, the women far outnumbered the men. Out of maybe ten of us, guess how many women were over 5'4" tall? One.

We are out there, and we want something safe, tough, durable and warm to wear!

And you know what? I'm not gonna sew it myself.

Until the makers get their act together, I'm still wearing the coveralls I bought three years ago, after my last pair gave up.

They do the job, but only just. They don't have enough pockets, I presume because some ass hat thought us chicks don't need to carry as much stuff around with us as the guys do. There are no slashes to get into your jeans pockets. I guess us girls aren't supposed wear jeans either. There's no hood. The zipper stops at the collarbones and there's no neck coverage. The legs are too narrow. There's no storm cuff on the sleeves, which means that when I'm grabbing a hoof with one hand, and gripping a hoof pick with the other, the sleeve rides up, exposing my sweater sleeves underneath, resulting in my clothes stinking like a mud caked hoof when I get back into the house.

It's all bad.

And you know what? They're not even cool looking.

I try. I do make an attempt to let my natural hick-chicness shine through, but it really does help to have the right materials for the job.

I do hold out hope. Things are improving and manufacturers are figuring out that (duh) women have a part in industries that require physical work. And that we like to work. There's still a ways to go but some day, I will have coveralls that fit me. And they don't even have to be pink.


jules said...

Heidi, the power is in the pen. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. You're a writer. Write 'em a letter. Exactly how you said it here.

I have the same, but different problem. I'm 5'10, but I don't weigh 200 lbs. I have long legs, but a long torso too. If it fits in the sleeves and legs, it rides my crotch. I hate that.

Good luck in the quest.

Heidi the Hick said...

It's so true- there are so many body types. For all of us, men and women, but women, I think, have twice the variety of body shapes! I know girls who can get workwear to fit in the arms and legs but can't get the zipper pulled over their chests.

Jules, thanks for the encouragement.

My husband and I were out for a walk and I said, "Y'know, I should write to them and tell them what I just said in my blog." And I come home and here you are, saying the same thing!

Great minds thinking alike maybe?

her indoors said...

go for it Heidi and let us know what their reply is.
but i do like the bib overalls as well though

Anita said...

I like the overalls, but I never tried coveralls so maybe I don't know what I'm missing!
Can't wait to hear what they say when you contact them!
Good luck... ;)

Balloon Pirate said...

So...um..have you written the Carhartt folk yet? Last I heard, you had no trouble putting words together in a coherent sentence.

In fact, with a teensy bit of editing (mostly, putting 'Dear Carhartt' and the top, and 'Sincerely, Heidi' at the bottom, this post would make a dandy letter to the powers that be.

Just a thought.

And as I look to the left of this box, I see I'm not the only one who thinks this way.


Heidi the Hick said...

Dum da dum...

I am so pleased to see the new Women's line! Finally, we ladies don't have to buy men's work clothes and modify them! Imagine my delight at finding the website...but then imagine my disappointment to find that there is only one style of overalls...and absolutely NO coveralls! I do hope that the product line will expand in the future. Until then I am making do with a pair of totally substandard coveralls while waiting for Carhartt to make the perfect coveralls for me! I compliment you on finally figuring out that women are out there, in the cold, in the barn, working and loving it, and wanting good-looking and above all functional work clothes to get the job done. I'm very much looking forward to seeing classic coveralls in the women's section!
Thank you, Heidi XXXXXX www.hickchic.blogspot.com

Heidi the Hick said...

You know what? Now that I read that little note, it feels downright wimpy. I should have done a copy and paste and sent them the blog rant!

We'll see. I'll let their robot send me a reply and then I'll crank it up if I need to.

I wonder if it would mean anything at all to them to be the Official Workwear of Heidi the Hick?

I am afraid I might need to have about a gazillion more readers before it would be important enough. But hey, a little noise over here never hurt anybody.

coffeypot said...

I wish my crotch hung down to my knees. What?!? Oh, you meant your coveralls. Well, a guy can wish, can’t he?

Have you tried to call the manufacturer of the outfit you like and ask if they make a size that will fit you, and, if they do have them, mail you a couple of pairs? There has to be someone who makes clothes for shorter men, thus for you. Maybe they make them but only a few, rare stores carry them.

Heidi the Hick said...

Yeah, Jethro has that problem...What? Huh? OH.

I think we're onto something here. It's one thing to RAge Against, but then to do nothing is...nothing.

I think there's going to be some action here. Yay!!!!

Jay Cam said...

lol i was going to suggest buying a boys coverall and cutting a hole where you butt would be, and let it stick out!

but i guess that's not going to happen then!

: )

CindyDianne said...

Poor chic coveralless Heidi! I imagine it is madding. I am bigger than a lot of men (though short waisted) at 5'6.5" tall. Yes, that 1/2 inch does count!

But alas, I am more of a bib overall sort of girl. Maybe it is the milder climate.

Heidi the Hick said...

Cindy, I guess you wouldn't really need thermals down there in Texas! I want a picture of those overalls now!

Jam cam, they wouldn't be coveralls then, we'd have to call them coversomes or covernotenuffs.

Lynn Sinclair said...

Agree with Jules--write to them. Isn't that why they invented email--to make this stuff easier?

emily said...

See? Another reason I want a farm. Coveralls!

Biddie said...

Yup, send em a copy of yer rant. maybe they'll send you a pair for free!!! Ok, that might be a bit TOO optimistic, but I say go for it.

dilling said...

Am I weird if coveralls make me feel claustrophobic? If so, just forget I said that....

CindyDianne said...

We are headed out of town for Thanksgiving... cabin bound. I just wanted to pass along a tidbit of info: I went to TSC today and HMOG, I saw a pink camo cap I wanted so, so, so badly.

I bought dog food.

Donna said...

I wear my Carharts when riding my horse, any time the temperature is below 55. I could use a little better fit, but since I'm 5'7", I can make do with men's sizes.

Heidi the Hick said...

Dear Heidi,

Thank you for your interest in Carhartt. We appreciate that you took time out of your schedule to offer your suggestion. Carhartt is committed to offering the finest Workwear products and customer service available. Our goal is to ensure your satisfaction with each purchase and provide you with the best possible service for years to come. As our women's line continues to grow, we will offer new styles and sizes. We apologize if we were not able to meet your needs at this time, and have forwarded your suggestion onto our Product Design Department.

I'd say that's a start...

I love it when I get a prompt reply. That goes for lit agents AND workwear manufacturers!

Heidi the Hick said...

I often wear my coveralls for riding too. Everything kind of bunches up in front but it's worth it to stay warm!


Mucky shavings??? Excrement??? I worry about you. I really do....

Heidi the Hick said...

Awww...you're so thoughtful!

Donald Douglas said...

Happy Thanksgiving!

cara winsor hehir said...

today llew and i ventured out in our flannel plaids, mine blue, his green. i also wore my pajamas and some bright red boots, i bet i would NOT have been on your bad plaid list.

cara winsor hehir said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Inger said...

And here I am, searing google wih the kywords: overall + floral + women + gardning... *sigh*

kathleen said...

Heidi -
Same problem here, but I'm 5'8 & 145.... no guys' coveralls have hips!
So I wear jeans & a barn coat and live with a draft. But, but, but, but... I found another gal online, also so fed up w/men's coveralls, she's marketing her own creation. Not terribly fluffy or pink either. I just ordered some, will return to comment on what I think, once they arrive. bodycovers.com

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