Outfit Of The Week 11/26/23 – 12/2/23
My selection for this week’s edition of “OOTW” is a version of an outfit I have been wearing almost every day for about a month. I wanted to showcase it in this space because I feel it’s important to not only show the nice “menswear-y” stuff, but also the knockaround casual clothes we all find ourselves in from time to time. Because, hey, that’s real life!
I only wear this outfit for a few hours in the morning. After I take my sons to school and before I start my workday, I go outside and chop wood for between thirty minutes and an hour. Then I come inside, shower, and put on my real clothes for the day.
Now, let me make a distinction between chopping wood and splitting wood. I certainly do the latter, as I need to process the wood enough for use in my fireplace, but for the purposes of this article I mean the former.
Earlier this year we had some necessary construction done on our property. The construction company needed to take down a bunch of trees and asked if I wanted them to take them away. I thought about it and decided I would like to keep them so that I could chop up the logs and eventually split them into firewood.
I figured I would be saving a little bit of money and getting some great exercise. And was I right about the exercise!
Considering the thought of using a chainsaw freaks me out (I’d like to have both my legs for my WHOLE life, thank you), I bought a high-quality axe which is specifically used for chopping wood, or “sectioning” if it means taking large logs and cutting them up into smaller pieces which can then be split.
The axe I bought is an American felling axe from Gransfors-Bruk.
It’s a smidge lighter than my regular axe from the hardware store (which is kind of an unsatisfactory, middle-of-the-road between an axe and a splitting maul) and has a much thinner, sharper blade. This thing really bites into the wood!
For the past month I have been sectioning the logs that the construction crew left behind in a pile on my property. I can’t begin to express what awesome exercise it is! Since I am mostly chopping instead of splitting, it’s easier to get into a rhythm. That consistent swinging really gets the blood pumping and after only a half-hour I am pouring sweat even if it’s twenty degrees outside.
So, what do I wear during my wood-chopping adventures?
Layers are important here. I need to be warm at the start and then be able to shed layers as I get going. Let’s start with my jacket.
My jacket is the recognizable L.L. Bean barn coat. Some versions have a cotton flannel lining, but I recommend the wool lining you see here.
Although I would prefer a hefty zipper instead of the buttons, this jacket is a perfect work jacket. It’s roomy enough to layer, but not so big that it gets in the way while working. It also has a bit of an action-back so it allows comfortable extension of the arms. A larger collar would be nice, but this one is good enough.
There are large pockets which are fine for carrying my phone and the protective leather wrap that covers the axe-head when it’s not in use. I only wish there was an inner pocket for my phone, as it tends to get cold when it’s in the hip pocket.
What makes this jacket so good for outdoor work is the fact that it’s made from canvas. As I chop, I fling wood chips everywhere. If I had on a soft wool jacket or a fleece jacket the chips would be sticking to me like Velcro.
Under my jacket, I usually wear one of my thick flannels from Lands’ End or Woolrich. The picture you see here is a fleece-lined flannel from Lands’ End which keeps me very warm.
The t-shirt I decided to wear under my flannel is a nod to Christmas. IYKYK.
The pants I chose were my flannel-lined jeans from L.L. Bean. Not much to be said about these. Simple, comfortable, durable. And they fit decently well, despite L.L. Bean being known for having off-the-wall sizing. I took my normal pants size in these and they are a good fit. They aren’t nearly as tapered as they appear in the photo.
My boots are my fleece-lined Hunter boots. The fleece provides enough warmth for this time of year, especially with the Lands’ End boot socks underneath. As the weather continues to dip, I’ll need to swap them out for my shearling-lined boots.
Considering it’s already quite snowy in my neck of the (literal) woods, I needed to put some spikes on my boots.
I made the mistake of waiting a little too long to purchase spikes a couple years ago and paid for it with a sore tailbone and back after taking a nasty spill in the driveway. Never again! The spikes are also excellent for walking atop the log pile to see which log I can maybe nudge off the top.
To top it all off, I wore my Akubra Federation IV fedora.
I usually rotate between a handful of hats since they get SO sweaty and I like to give them some time to dry out between wears. Both my Akubras (including my Campdraft) and my Stetson Roadster are great work hats especially when it’s snowing since the wide brims keep the snow out of my face while I’m swinging a large, sharp object.
Lastly, but arguably most importantly, I have on my safety glasses! My sons would be able to tell you how much of a stickler I am for safety glasses and I will not take one swing without them on. Not only that, but I have safety glasses for my sons if they are outside with me while I am chopping.
It’s incredibly important to show your kids that you take sensible safety precautions. So, wear the damn safety glasses. Wear your damn seatbelt. Wear the damn bike helmet. If you don’t, your kids won’t. And it only takes one split second for you to regret it.
Now, go outside and get some fresh air!
Have a wonderful weekend!