TV Fashion: Mike Rowe of 'Dirty Jobs' (Discovery)
Just a quick perusal through the list of the show's episodes and it's easy to see why this guy has more than a passing knowledge on the usefulness of rubberized accessories: avian vomitologist, storm-drain cleaner, hippo caretaker, shellfish farmer, sausage maker, garbage-pit technician, hot tar roofer, casino-food recycler, sewer inspector, baby chick sexer, pigeon poop cleaner-upper and a laundry list of other equally nauseating positions. Not surprisingly, every one of these jobs requires some serious form of protection to keep Rowe from never feeling clean again.
In his pre-"Dirty Jobs" days, Rowe sang for the Baltimore Opera (it's a long way from "Rigoletto" to pig dung), sold more than $100 million worth of simulated diamonds on QVC and appeared in several dozen Tylenol commercials, which just goes to show you the projected prerequisite trajectory for a bat-guano collector. (Pavarotti, get your shovel and bucket.)
Nevertheless, when it comes to something as mucky as mushroom farming, the optimal clothing instinct is "less is more." That is to say layering is bad; it would just give the dirt and grime more places to collect and take up permanent residency. So Rowe usually starts off the work week in jeans or shorts, a T-shirt and baseball cap before submitting to the necessities of rubber gloves, hip waders and safety goggles. Note to self: Though often frighteningly unstylish, safety glasses are the last bit of defense between owl vomit and your ocular devices - meaning "the less owl puke in your eyes, the better."
But ultimately, rubber boots and gloves are Rowe's sartorial triumphs of choice. And for your stylish tendencies, few boots have the panache and appeal of a pair of Wellingtons, based on the boots popularized by the first Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley - the same guy beef Wellington is named after. Called Wellies, the boots come in a variety of men's and women's styles based around activities such as leisure, shooting, farming and fishing. Each version is enormously stylish and comes in a host of colors, from red to black to brown to the traditionally British green. Ladies can even choose from the uberchic canvas-leg "Lady N" styles. Prices range from a modest $98 to the top of the line Hunter Sovereigns, which are handmade and run $399. You'll finally be able to trek through the back 40 looking fabulous.
Trust us, everyone needs a pair of rubber boots. Just ask Rowe, a man whose best foot forward usually lands in hippo dung.