It's time to wrap up warm, stay safe, comfortable and dry and enjoy gardening even if the elements have other ideas. And to do that you're going to need some trusty over-the-top workwear.


Of course you could make do with an old jumper or that cast-off jacket (with holes at the elbows) but once you’ve tried bespoke, purpose-built gear you’ll never go back.

Modern workwear combines natural materials such as wool and leather with hi-tech composites such as neoprene in combinations tailor made to keep you warm, dry, and mobile.

There are five basic considerations that your perfect jacket needs to provide:

Stay warm

The first consideration, as autumn arrives and temperatures slide to become winter, is to stay warm. With daylight becoming an ever-rarer resource as the seasons roll over it’s important to make the most of your days and get those big gardening jobs done! Getting cold when working isn’t just uncomfortable, it increases your fatigue levels and makes you less able – both physically and mentally – to keep going. Combined with decreasing light from an early-setting sun and you could be *feeling* like you’ve put in a full day's work, but in reality you’ve only been active for a couple of hours.

Rab jacket
Smart new materials can keep you warm with the minimum of bulk.

Suddenly tasks like giving the lawn that final mow for winter starts to take all day when it took you an hour in summer… And big autumn jobs like erecting a fence run past that weekend you set aside and start to drag on for weeks…

The trick is to stay warm and active and don’t let your body fool you into cutting your day short.

Stay dry

It’s great weather for ducks… But gardeners not so much. Damp days in the wrong gear will cut your gardening activities short or – if you’ve not something truly waterproof to wear – prevent them from starting altogether. And getting wet isn’t just uncomfortable, do it too often for too long and you’ll get ill.

Being able to tighten up collars, cuffs and hems keep the wind and water out.

And getting wet makes you cold. Your body heat leaves your body and goes to work trying to evaporate the water you’ve soaked up, while non breathable fabrics will then trap this moisture and heat causing you to stew in your own steam. At best your muscles will tire and you’ll call it a day, or at worst you’ll catch a chill and potentially lose the whole week.

More like this

Modern waterproof, breathable workwear let’s you keep working in comfort, whatever the weather.

Stay flexible

Simply repurposing your old Sunday best as ‘gardening clothing’ is tempting but isn’t conducive to getting the best out of you in the garden. Not only are those holey, worn clothes obviously less warm and less waterproof than modern ‘pro gardening’ alternatives but make you less physically productive too.

Modern jacket
With clever tailoring, today's jackets move with you and get out of the way of those physical chores.

Your old smarts simply aren’t designed for repetitive actions such as bending and stretching with sleeves and trouser legs designed to house and contain the body rather than allow it move within it. Movement within such clothing creates friction that will ultimately wear you out – no tools or gardening jobs required – meaning that at the end of the day less apples get picked and less lawn gets raked.

Modern workwear on the other hand is cut to allow kneeling and bending, stretching and lifting. It’s aim is to be as invisible and unobstructive as possible, stepping aside to get you closer to the job in hand.

Stay stylish

And – great news – you can do it all in style. Today’s waterproofs are nothing like the old oily workwear your grandparents might have worn. Now you can tend your allotment one minute, pick the kids up from school the next, and meet friends for coffee all without a change of garb (and all without looking like a scarecrow).

Stylish jackets
There's no need to look a scruff. Now you can get the job done in style.

And if you’re looking for a little colour then the days of drab greens and browns are far behind us. And bright colours aren’t just on trend, if you're working solo out in the wilds you can stay safe and get seen should an accident happen by sporting your choice of warm oranges and reds to bright industrial-style fluoros.

And keep gardening fun

Feeling comfortable, getting the job done and truly achieving something isn’t just good for your garden, it’s good for your mind and soul too. Gardening isn’t about manual labour, feeling uncomfortable, feeling tired… It’s about feeling good through creating something beautiful. So do yourself a favour and wear the jacket that let's you do the job properly.

Stylish gardening jackets
Look great and feel good in your choice of colour and styles.

Here’s our pick of ten of the best that meet the above in style:

The best jackets for gardening in 2023

Rab Men’s VR Summit Jacket

Rab Summit VR

Top brand Rab make a huge range of jackets – anything from lightweights such as this through to full polar-proof winter attire but this one hits the spot for us.

The VR Summit Jacket features a breathable Pertex Quantum Air shell which is guaranteed to keep you warm and dry while its durable water repellent coating sheds water like a duck’s back. Complete with a hood – fully adjustable with a stiffened peak to keep it in place – it offers top-rated wind and rain protection from the waist up.

Inside there’s a warming, brushed wicking lining while outside it’s cut for agility and action. The VR excels at stretching and responding to movement while a drawstring waist prevent ride-up and air gaps as you climb or stoop.

And – of course there’s YKK Vislon zips both on the large hand-warming pockets and double-ended front zip for easy entry and exit around tools and layers.

Scruffs Trade Flex Softshell Work Jacket

Scruffs Trade Flex Softshell

Scruffs workwear is often seen keeping workers safe and warm building sites, but it’s just at home in the garden doing likewise.

This jacket really does do the lot. It’s designed to protect you from the elements being wind and water resistant with a high collar and dipped back hem. It features a fleece lining (and fleece lined collar) for warmth, with adjustable half-elasticated hem and cuffs for a warm, air-tight fit.

Plus it’s mesh-lined for all-day breathability meaning that as the day’s temperature changes you’ll stay cosy or cool inside, all day long.

There’s abrasion-resistant panels where it matters and best of all it’s ‘4-way flexible’ meaning that you’ve maximum range of movement once wrapped up inside as the jacket stretches and adapts with your body as you work, while its sleeves are ergonomically cut for bending and lifting.

And all that with sharp modern ‘means business’ looks and a keen price.

Berghaus Men's Ghlas 2.0 Softshell Jacket

Berghaus Men's Ghlas

Another excellent midweight option to wear 100% in autumn then add underneath a thicker more padded warmer outer layer when the cold bites.

There’s a durable water repellent finish, plenty of pockets, acres of stretch and a profile that won’t get in the way if you’re swinging garden tools or climbing trees.

It’s also made from Bluesign approved fabric, meaning that its construction involved lower environmental impact than other man-made fabrics.

Team it with their matching trousers for a 100% warm top to toe agility and protection.

Orvis RT7 Quilted Gilet

Orvis have got the outdoor game aced and while their thicker, oiled outdoor weather-wear gives superb waterproofing, it’s the freedom and workability of their RT7 diamond-quilted gilet that caught our eye.

An insulated gilet perfectly keeps your core temperatures up while allowing you to get busy with the gardening tools unimpeded. The diamond quilting means plenty of insulation, all held in check (literally) to prevent unwelcome bulk. Wear on top of a thick cotton shirt to keep the cold out, or underneath a looser waterproof top coat to stop the rain in its tracks.

The mid-waist snaps can be adjusted to allow a looser fit, or fasten them up and go for a more tailored, stylish Orvis outdoor look. And a large internal pocket is the perfect place to keep a hat or gloves at the ready.

A range of classic country colours – we love this garnet red – complete what is a class act.

Finisterre Lapwing Insulated Shirt

Finisterre Lapwing

In the garden it’s all about the profile and the ability to move and while Finisterre classify this as a ‘shirt’ (or even a [cough] ‘shacket’…) it IS filled with their A-Form Engineered Insulation to give high loft and better-than-down performance. And the FC-free water resistant finish keeps you dry too.

Wear loose and enjoy ‘jacket-free’ levels of movement and airflow, or simply fasten up and pop the collar when the weather demands. Alternatively roll it up small and keep it in a bag ready for when the sun sets or wind chill arrives.

And – of course – Finisterre will happily provide you with all kinds of shirts and knitwear to wear beneath when you need to build the layers and last you right through to springtime.

Barbour Prestbury

Barbour Prestbury

It’s the modern, outdoors-y take on the classic Barbour wax jacket. Less detail, less sculpting and fitting, and more room to move and get the job done.

A Barbour’s water-shedding abilities are legendary and this is no exception, with a 6oz Sylkoil waxed cotton outer guaranteeing that you’re waterproof no matter whatever the wind pressure. And that warm box-quilted lining inside that stay-dry cocoon will keep you cosy without wrapping you up in bulk.

Plus Barbour’s famous wipe-clean surface will have you smart enough for entertaining mere minutes after muck-spreading.

The looser fit give you below-waist warmth and waterproofing without impeding bending or climbing and a fastenable high collar seals you in if you really need to keep the weather out.

It’s all finished off with subtle stitching detail and angled pockets which will not only keep your hands worm but fasten with Barbour’s classic stud-close flaps to prevent pocket tools from escaping.

Dickies Glyndon Jacket

Dickies workwear is legendary. Hard wearing but keenly priced, Glyndon is their modern take on the classic gardener’s smock. Lots of room to manouvre but with sufficient light weight to prevent you feeling swamped.

It’s made from hard wearing but lightweight poplin cotton which is further reinforced across the back and the elbows and all those familiar gardening impact points where the material and seams need to take the strain.

It’s more to keep the dirt out – being fully washable – rather than a weather-protector but with room to wear woolens beneath you’re in no danger of catching cold.

Four huge pockets mean you can leave the house fully equipped for all-day activity with tools, gloves and perhaps the odd flask and sandwich.

North Face Rostoker

North Face started out equipping climbers but their tough and warm reputation – and ever-expanding range of performance products – mean that they’re clothing is ideal for anyone who’s active outdoors. Be it conquering the Eiger or pruning the roses.

The Rostoker is another smock-style gardening over jacket with bags of room and pockets for essentials.

It’s made from 98% cotton with 2% elastane for a little bonus stretch. It’s all woven into a durable canvas that’ll brush off snagging and thorns while its insulation is a generous 75% renewable and traceable HD wool.

In fact the whole garment is designed to be biodegradable meaning that at the end of its lifespan it’s not going to burden the environment.

Gardenheir Cotton Drill Chore Shirt

Gardenheir Cotton Drill Chore Shirt

Gardenheir are something new and different in the world of gardening wear. While recognising the need practicality, Gardenheir’s apperral also appreciates the quality of fine materials and the simple pleasures to be gained from elegant styling with an outdoor edge.

Now you can combine the two noble arts of fashion and garden maintenance in one and not just simply cut the lawn, but cut a dash at the same time.

All of their clothing combines classic themes, heritage materials and bold styling to deliver clothing that looks as good as it performs.

Our pick of their overlays is this Chore Shirt, a heavier version of their Garden Stroll Work Shirt made from 10 oz pre-washed, pre-shrunk Japanese cotton drill. It’s therefore built for work, sturdy but comfortable but roomy enough to be super-comfortable and perfect for layering over extra layers.

It’ll shrug off dirt when you need it to, or effortlessly deliver a stylish, fuss-free, outdoors-inspired look when you don’t.

Fjällräven Övik Wool Padded Jacket

Fjallraven Ovik Jacket

Fjallraven are the up and coming, on-trend, eco outdoor wear company that thanks to their sustainable credentials are so hot right now.

You’ve probably seen their logo on their eco-friendly backpacks but all of their clothing is made with sustainability in mind, and that doesn’t just mean responsibly sourced materials, Fjallraven are big on allowing you to care for and repair your clothing, selling kits, buttons and spares for you to patch it up and keep it being loved.

Our pick of their workwear is their Ovik wool padded jacket. Sharing a similar smart/functional styling to the Barbour and Ovis jackets above its in dark navy, black and (Barbour-style) olive with plenty of collar and cuff fastenings for wrapping up warm or going loose and informal.

There’s plenty of storage on board with large bellows pockets that open two ways – top for storage, side for hands, and a large chest pocket. There’s also a large lining pocket with a secure zip.

If you want the look and the durability of a classic with all the eco of the Fjallraven brand then this is the one for you.

Scruffs Mens Water Resistant Worker Fleece

Scruffs Mens Water Resistant Worker Fleece Black

Getting the bulk versus agility balance right, this second Scruffs option aims to keep the wind and water off your back while still allowing plenty of movement. Though technically a fleece with a low profile outline, it is water-resistant and it’s quick drying fabric means that if you do get caught in the wet it’ll be ready to head out again after a break.

Wear on top of a T-shirt late summer to autumn then bolster with woolens below to make the perfect weather-proof top layer.


Elasticated cuffs and an adjustable hem mean that you can really ‘lock yourself in’ and keep drafts out and a healthy array of pockets – with top quality YKK zips – make it as practical as it’s good looking.


Daniel GriffithsDigital Editor

Daniel Griffiths is a veteran journalist who has worked on some of the biggest home and entertainment brands in the world. He is a serial house-renovator and home improvement expert, taking on everything from interior design and DIY to landscape gardening and garden design.