We recently went to our annual state agricultural show (you might know this type of thing as a livestock show or a county or state fair). I love watching the dog and livestock judging, looking at the crafts and sampling the produce. Happily for me, there were some lovely snacks this year! And while I was wandering about I couldn’t help noticing what people were wearing (I have been writing a book about it so it is front of mind [1]). And after I forcibly relaxed my face (didn’t want the wind to change and it to stay that way) it occurred to me that I haven’t shared what I learned about building outfits with you, so I’ll use my outfit as an example of how to build a Signature Wardrobe Outfit for the Fair.

At its core, the wardrobe building process I discuss is about putting together a small collection of appropriate and stylish outfits, each of which will have its own theme or perhaps purpose. That doesn’t mean 57 specific outfits with no overlap (unless you can afford to), have the closet space and really want to – it is YOUR signature wardrobe after all. This is where the advice about dressing up and down originally comes from.


  • The day was predicted to be warm; a cool day for summer, but sandwiched between cold wet days it was a HEAT WAVE.
  • The show grounds have little shade so you will be in full sun most of the day. The site is on an incline so you will be walking up and down hills as you make your way around. The paths are bitumen, but there are grass areas where some exhibitors are located.
  • There is little seating, so most of the day you will be walking and standing. Or going on the rides if that’s your thing.


To keep cool, something loose that permits the free flow of air, and in a natural fibre to draw perspiration away from your skin (wick).


Similarly, natural fibres for their wicking properties, but you might prefer a little synthetic for a stretchy fit. Plain and practical will probably be more comfortable than fancy.


By the end of the day, you will be grateful if you wear comfortable shoes. Given the warmth probably sandals, with straps and insoles in a natural skin or fibre as they deal with sweat better than the synthetics in which you end up walking in a foot bath. Given the terrain, you might prefer something flat.


A straw sun hat for a little face shade (again a natural fibre) and UV protective sunglasses.

With all the walking around and sampling things, you will probably want your hands free. I’d suggest taking water, tissues, sunscreen and a first aid kit with you, and you will be buying goodies as the day goes by. A backpack (worn properly) will distribute the weight across your shoulders and this may help with back strain (depending how much stuff you pick up).

I’d suggest not wearing jewellery as you are more likely to damage or lose it with activities so far out of your norm. You might also find with the heat and the standing, your hands swell and make your jewellery uncomfortable. If you feel naked without it, don’t wear your “good” stuff just in case.

If you have an activity tracker, wear it and make sure you do more steps that everyone else! (17, 371 – who hoo! Winner winner chicken dinner! Though it did help that I had the shortest legs and therefore the shortest steps.)

Wrap Up

This is more or less my hot summer uniform – when I go out in the heat I wear some version of this. Linen pants and tunic, cotton blend underclothes, sandals, straw sun hat and sunglasses. Would this work for you?


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