It’s hip to be rural

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mason jar

“Wearing Carhartt gear is wild. Are you a student? A hipster? A licensed forklift operator? No one knows.”

— Internet meme

In my lifetime, I have seen some things — namely, bell-bottoms and leg warmers (never together).

I also know that certain things are just timeless: L.L.Bean sweaters, “duck” boots and Carhartt jackets. I am writing today to inform you that the latter has suddenly become trendy.

Working brand

Frankly, you could knock me over with a goosedown parka feather. How? Why? Classic Carhartt is a general worker’s clothing brand.

Carhartt was a workwear company founded in 1889 in Michigan for railroad workers and blue-collar manual laborers. It is stiff and sturdy and comes in a core color best described as “mud-colored.”

Mr. Wonderful is a classic kind of guy. No one will ever accuse him of following fashion. He has had Carhartt gear for decades.

He wears them to keep warm. He wears them to get dirty and greasy. Sometimes he sets them on fire —  unintentionally of course.

Accordingly, every decade or so he purchases a new Carhartt coat or coveralls to replace the ones he has just worn out.

Beanie mystery

A year or so ago, he realized his Carhartt beanies kept going missing. First, the classic gold went astray. Soon after, a gray beanie was nowhere to be found. To be fair, a pretty purple one turned up in their place. It was all very confusing for a minute.

The mystery was solved when GirlWonder, a bona fide fashionista, was seen wearing one. Eventually, she even bought her own. The purple one — “Bluestone” for the record — was actually hers.

It should be noted that she is a nice country girl. She works hard. She feeds goats. She knows her way around chopping firewood and mucking out a barn.

She has owned a pair of Muck boots, right up until we accidentally threw them in the woodburner — long story. She is a person who has earned every right to wear rural workwear without a trace of irony.

On this day, however, she was wearing pretty pants, a sweater, cute boots, long flowing golden locks, glossy pink lips, fashion sunglasses and a Carhartt hat. Her daddy’s to be exact.

Country is hip

Apparently, when no one was looking, the tried and true rural ranch wear went ahead and got hip. I suppose nothing says “best dressed” quite like a Rain Defender hoodie.

This tracks with the fact that pretty and pristine all-white farmhouse style decor has been in demand for over a decade.

As “farmhouse” signs proliferate, I’m not certain any actual farmhouses need a sign to remind them of their status. The Muck boots and Carhartt gear are often a clue.

On that note, I know of exactly no farm homes that sport white throw rugs, but maybe I just run with a risk-averse crowd.

Rural swimming pool

Speaking of rural trends that are all the rage, stock tanks turned swimming pools are enjoying a moment.

Stock tanks are obviously stronger than an inflatable-style pool. They are also a cheaper alternative to spending a college fund on an installed pool.

It makes sense that people are taking the big silver tanks used to water livestock and swimming in them. Honestly, this is not new. I was swimming in my grandmother’s stock tanks back in the 1970s, much to the annoyance of untold herds of horses. Clearly, I was ahead of my time.

Looking at the bigger picture, our culture has embraced rural wear, roosters, canning jars for every use, large-scale gardening among other things. It makes sense that the tried and true trappings of rural living is undergoing a bit of a resurgence now more than ever. During uncertain times, people crave things that are dependable, solid and built to last.

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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