3 March 2000

FROMACE SCRUFFTO

STYLE PARAGON

Farmer and fashion are

words which go together

about as well as sandals do

with a dinner jacket. And

that, incidentally, was just

about the only combination

of clothes not regularly

donned by farmers, so our

Farming Fashions

competition revealed. We

asked women to tell us

about their husbands

bizarre dress sense – with a

prize makeover up for grabs.

Tim Relf and photographer

Jonathan Page witnessed

the winners transformation

JOHN HAYWARD reckons there are a lot of other people scruffier than him.

His wife, Joyce, isnt so sure. Shes been battling for years with mud, oil and manure. It gets everywhere – on his trousers, his shirts, his vests. It gets in other – unmentionable – places, too.

Most of his clothes have seen better days. And then theres the hat. "That hat – it drives me mad," says Joyce, pointing to a grease-stained, cattle-chewed, frayed object on Johns head. "Id burn it if I had my way.

"Im always trying to tidy him up," she says. Hence why she entered the competition. Her letter made us laugh – and won her a £400 makeover for her hubbie courtesy of Dickies.

When Farmlife arrives at the Shropshire farmhouse, the Haywards are sorting through the bundle of prize clothes that arrived earlier that morning. There are shirts, fleeces, cords, overalls, shoes and even a box of dust-masks thrown in for good measure. Everything youre likely to need, in fact, to go about the daily business of farming.

&#42 Not too worried

John – a busy dairy, sheep and beef farmer – admits he doesnt worry too much about what he wears. "I dont have time to think about it. Sometimes Im up at four oclock in the morning then back to bed for an hour and up again. I just grab the nearest thing."

Besides, he says, you have to tackle all sorts of grimy tasks in this job. "You have to be everything from an electrician to a vet in this job. I can be mending a plug one day and calving a cow the next."

Before long, however, Johns in his new kit. Striding across the yard in his new-found sartorial elegance. Its a big improvement but, there again, the margin for improvement was, with all due respect, a considerable one.

Hes not alone. Smelly socks, waistcoats with welder holes in them and belts held together by bolts are all "in" this year, according to the Farming Fashions letters. The "1970s Saturday Night Fever" look is even still going strong on some farms, it seems.

Johns dog appeared halfway through his makeover. It glanced at him and disappeared. Maybe it didnt recognise him. You couldnt help but wonder what his friends would say at market? "Theyll think hes the bank manager," says Joyce, laughing.

&#42 Theyll shoot

"I better not go like that, then, theyll all shoot me," he replies.

We leave John later that day warm, comfortable and presentable. Quite the new man. And we leave Joyce smiling. It occurs to me on the way out the yard what shes smiling about – something about that old hat and the Rayburn.

Above: Unfinished business… With the makeover complete, theres just one bone of contention – the hat.

Right: Hat-eful… Joyce

demonstrates what shes like

to do with THAT hat.