What do you wear when you’re gardening? If you’re like me, it’s probably an old t-shirt, jeans or shorts, and whatever shoes you grab as you walk out the door. But one of the problems with that is that I always got hot and sweaty so I needed a shirt that would keep me dry, give a full range of movement, and be comfortable enough to wear every time I worked in the garden.
Form Fitting & Stylish
The Armachillo shirt is designed with a tapered waist, meaning that it’s not baggy. It also has a longer tail so when you bend over in the garden you’re not showing your backside to the whole neighborhood – definitely a plus in my book!
This button-down shirt has a neat feature on the bottom button – the button hole is cut sideways (rather than vertically like typical button holes). As a result, the bottom button won’t come undone as you’re gardening. Two spare buttons are neatly sewn into the inner seam (so you won’t lose them).
There’s a small patch of microfiber cloth sewn into the front of the shirt. It’s meant to be used to wipe off sunglasses or smart phone screens and when it’s clean, it works well for that purpose. But after I’ve been digging in the dirt for a while, I’m not about to scratch up my lenses by rubbing them with a sandy piece of fabric! So, while it’s a nice idea, I don’t think it’s very practical.
Flexible & Easy to Move In
The Armachillo shirt is made of 53% polyester and 47% cotton so there’s no stretch or “give” in the fabric. However, there’s lots of room to move in it due to the gussets under the arms and the large mesh vent in back. I had no problem raising my arms above my head, crossing them in front, or swinging them behind me. There was no constriction of movement at all.
The vent on back (Duluth calls it a “bi-swing back”) looks a little funny from the side but it does a good job at giving you more room to move and the mesh inserts cool things down.
The “claim to fame” of the Armachillo shirt is the Made-in-the-Jade technology woven into the fabric. It uses “temperature-reducing, moisture-absorbing crushed jade” that’s supposed to keep you cooler than other fabrics. I’m not sure if that’s true or not (when it’s over 100F in the shade here in Tucson, I think you’d feel hot regardless of what you’re wearing!) but I can say that I didn’t feel as clammy as I usually do in other shirts. The fabric is lightweight, wicking, and dries quickly – whether that jade is doing anything or not!
Another feature that helps with cooling (or at least with sun protection) is the built-in “sun collar” – basically, an extra piece of fabric added to the collar so that it stands up higher on the back of your neck to protect you from the sun. I found it a little too high (my pony tail got in the way) but others might not have that problem.
One of the things I really like is that the sleeves roll up. There’s a tab to hold the sleeve in place and it stays put nicely. However, if you have larger arms, you may find the sleeve a little tight when it’s fully rolled up.
There are also two buttons at the wrist so you have a choice of where to button it, depending on the size of your wrist. That’s especially nice for those of us with smaller wrists who find that some shirt cuffs are just too wide.
Easy to Clean
Just drop the shirt in the washing machine, then in the dryer. I’ve washed it dozens of times (and believe me, it was filthy on several occasions!) and it still looks like new. I’m not into high-maintenance clothing so the Armachillo shirt has worked well for me.
A Note About Sizing
It comes in a wide range of sizes, from XS to 2XL. The sizing chart seems to be pretty accurate (at least it was for me).
However, be aware that the princess seams really do bring in the waist – it’s quite a tapered, form-fitting shape. That might not work for everyone. Also, if you have particularly broad shoulders or a wide back, you may want to go up a size; the vent at the back can stick out quite a lot in those cases, making you look a little hunchbacked (not a good look!). And ladies, if you have a larger bust, go up a size too or you may find that it gapes at the front.
I like this shirt better for gardening than any others I’ve tried. In fact, I wear it nearly every time I head out into the garden (I think I’m going to have to get a few more!). It fits well, keeps me (relatively) dry, and is stylish enough for a quick trip to the grocery store without having to get changed first. Definitely a 5-shovel shirt.
Where to Buy
The Armachillo Long Sleeve Plaid Shirt is available directly from the Duluth Trading Company website. It’s normally priced at $64.50 but some colors are currently on clearance for $39.99. Shipping is extra.
And now over to you – What shirts do you wear when gardening? Let us know in the comments below!