This post continues the Minnesota State Fair Prep Series begun on August 12.
KEY TO THE CLOTHING DIAGRAM:
A: Hat with an exceptionally long duck-bill (for mixed work in barns and outside). A 360-degree-brim is recommended if you will work mostly outside as the extra neck protection is welcome. Inside the crowded barns such hats become a liability as people squeeze behind you.
B: Sunglasses (also prescription glasses for inside the barns if you need them).
C: Sensible Hairstyle which keeps your hair out of your face and minimizes the collection and attraction of flying bits of hay and dust.
D: A loose fitting, non-binding, cotton shirt (or fabric that is breathable and non-clingy). You want to be able to swing your arms about and not feel as if you are drenched in sweat. An SPF shirt is another option if it meets these criteria.
E: Sunscreen on every exposed part of your body, even if you are going to be in the barns (you have to come out some time to eat and walk to your car). An SPF shirt is another option for your arms, but you'll still need sunscreen on your face and hands.
F: No flashy finery—don't wear jewelry that would be a tragedy to lose: heirloom pieces, sentimental pieces, etc. And don't wear expensive pieces that attract the attention of pick pockets and thieves. Who are you trying to impress?
G: Baggy pants, and not for the reason you might think (after yesterday's post on Fair Food). Your pants should cover your entire leg (no shorts, no silly capri pants) to protect your legs from bugs, drunk parents with strollers charging into your ankles, sun, and animal encounters. Your pants should be loose enough that you can do the splits (if you could do the splits—you might want to work on that before the Fair), sit, jump, run, leap, and otherwise gambol about. They should be loose so that air can circulate. Non-binding so that you can move. They should have pockets to hold your brushes and pens and paper towels, as well as $5 for an emergency purchase (keep larger amounts of cash in your pack). My friend Karen told me she wears cargo pants with large pockets to hold her brushes. That's a good choice. Gramicci is my brand of choice for loose pants which allow you full range of motion.
H: Comfy shoes. (And yes you will have to clean them after the Fair.) No sandals (they don't provide enough protection—even if you don't go into the barn your toes are at risk from the crowds). For me comfy shoes are sports walking shoes—cushy but stable. They support my feet. Some days I'll wear hiking boots. I have a pair from Timberline that are tough but very bendable. I can stand in them for 12 hours. I can run in them. Here's my guiding thought on shoes: Can you run in them if you're chased by spies?
In fact that pretty much sums up my whole philosophy of clothing: can I get away easily if I am chased by spies?
This means I am always comfortable. You can convert any time you want.
There's still time to get your State Fair garb together. One word of caution: never, ever wear new shoes, no matter how comfortable they seem, to the State Fair. You'll get blisters, and you'll deserve them. Break your shoes in now, you have 10 more days!