The Groom's Uniform - just add dirt, manure, and maybe some blood, sweat, and tears.
What should you to wear to work at the barn?
This seems pretty straightforward, right? Of course it is not. There are two goals when getting ready for working as a Groom. One, to look like a Professional. Two, to be comfortable and safe.
So - how do you look like a Professional? It starts with a collared shirt. It’s smart looking, and believe it or not, you may find yourself wearing the collar popped, a la the 1980’s. Sunburn on the neck is no fun, my friend.
You should also add a belt. I know that jeans these days are meant to be worn super low on the hip, below the hip, or depending on your style, around your thighs. Not so awesome for grooming. You spend a lot of time bending over. Without a belt, your super hip jeans simply turn into the best rendition of plumber butt without a plumber anywhere in sight. Use a belt and keep your pants up. Oh - and a belt looks nice, too!
(Does it go without saying that if you have a nice collared shirt and a belt that you should tuck in the shirt?)
Belts serve two purposes - hold up your pants (critical) and hold stuff (bonus)
For pants - wear comfortable. No holes, rips, or patches. If you want to be taken seriously, you must dress seriously. Jeans are the staple, and in the summer when it’s blazing hot, a pair of khaki pants are good, too. I know some barns that are OK with shorts, however check with your employer. I don’t like to wear shorts around horses for this reason: hot weather + sweat + wash rack spray + arena dirt + sunscreen + shavings dust + more sweat + horse hair = gross paste.
Shoes are what will keep you upright during the day if you pick the right ones. I eventually figured out that I like to have two pairs at work. A waterproof pair of paddock boots and regular sneakers. Paddock boots are worn for getting wet, and also mucking stalls. It’s just this *thing* I have about little poop bits and shavings sticking to socks, and paddock boots cover the ankle just right. Jeans over paddock boots and your socks are safe. I wear sneakers for the miles of hand walking and going here, there, and everywhere on your feet.
Long sleeves are great, even in summer, to ward off the sun and bugs. Backpacks are great for shows, too, to lug your stuff around from warm up to warm up.
I top it all off with a ball hat, no use in having crazy hair. Save that for your day off! Ball caps also help shade you from the sun. Trust me on this one - I want to clean saddles, not have so much sun damage that I look like one.
Whatever you decide to wear, take pride in your appearance. Dress like a Pro and you will feel like a Pro!!