By: Blonde Two

Do you remember a favourite piece of clothing from your childhood? Something that wasn’t yours but that you liked to borrow as often as possible and were hoping to one day own? I did, it was a red checked Swanndri shirt bought by my Nan for my Dad and washed so many times that it had shrunk to my size. Swanndri shirts are the ultimate New Zealand farmer gear, they are made of closely woven wool, are often over-sized and do their job against the New Zealand weather really well.

After years of being fought over by my sisters and myself, the original red checked shirt has long since been consigned to the rag pile. There is, however, an even better Swanndri shirt at the farm in New Zealand. This one is a greeny grey, as heavy as a canvas tent (we are talking Scout tent here) and as smelly as the cows it goes out to look after. This ‘Swanny’ or ‘bush shirt’ however, is considered to be a family treasure, we all want to wear it when we visit. Here I am doing a bit of fence mending in it.

It wouldn’t be right to bring the green shirt home but this year, Mr B2 and I were really pleased when we bought ourselves our own (modernised and cotton) versions of the Swanndri shirt. No longer made in New Zealand but, as the label says, ‘Born in New Zealand, made in China’ these shirts are were so comfortable that we also brought one home for Not-At-All-Blonde as a graduation present. I love mine and, although it is not a technical fabric, it does a great job on those need-a-bit-of-warmth days and I can see myself getting a lot of wear out of it this autumn.