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Fashion Icons of the Prairie: Charles Ingalls Edition

Walnut Grove, Minn.-Welcome back to Fashion Icons of the Prairie, the column where we pay tribute to the fashionable folks of Walnut Grove and the surrounding towns and break down the unique attributes that make them fashion icons! 

In this edition of Fashion Icons of the Prairie, we take a look at the unforgettable stylings of the one and only Charles Ingalls!

Charles Ingalls: The Basics

There are several basic elements of Charles’ style on which you can depend. We won’t beat around the bush here–there’s one thing everyone knows Charles for, and that’s his penchant for going shirtless. Do you know anyone else who would comfort his daughter over the death of her beloved dog while shirtless with a perfect sheen on his chest? Caroline loves it and you love it, too. However, in addition to his uncanny ability to pull off shirtlessness in virtually any situation, Charles exhibits several key tendencies that show that his fashion is not just a look–it’s a lifestyle.

What We Love About Charles’ Fashion

Let’s move beyond the obvious and dig deep to discover what makes Charles’ fashion unforgettable!

  • He Values What Suspenders Can Add. While suspenders are a common sight on the prairie and certainly a useful way to keep one’s pants up, Charles has truly mastered the art of suspender use. For him, suspenders are not only practical but key to his look. While traipsing about shirtless, perhaps chopping wood or preparing for the burial of a beloved pet, Charles places his suspenders in such a way that they perfectly frame his chest. He knows what accessories can do and he isn’t afraid to show it.
  • He’s Confident. Do you know anyone else who would go visit a judge in the county seat with his shirt unbuttoned nearly to his navel? We didn’t think so. Some might think it’s disrespectful or inappropriate, but Charles gets away with it easily. Why so easily? Confidence! Charles knows that if you take a fashion risk, confidence is key. If you feel like you look good and let it show, other people will pick up on it.  He knows that the sky is the limit!
  • He’s just a dumb farmer and he won’t let you forget it. Charles lets his fashion do the talking for him when he visits a big city. Numerous times he has spoken of his disdain for cities and his dress really underscores his point. How else would you explain that he’s willing to put a tie on to go have dinner at the Garvey’s but can’t be bothered to wear a suit or at least a nice jacket in the streets of Chicago? He wants everyone to know he’s just a prairie bumpkin and his attire lays the groundwork for his inevitable speech about being a dumb farmer.
  • He’s willing to pretend to like clothes because his family made it for him. We’ve talked a lot about his love of being shirtless and his wise use of suspenders in these situations, but let’s not forget that he’s willing to wear clothing just because his family made it for him. When his daughters gave him a colorfully striped nightshirt and hat, he thanked them for it. Even though we never see him actually wearing said pajamas, he acted like he would. And let’s not forget that time when Caroline bought some “sissy” material but Charles decided to put up with the shirt because Caroline was making it for him. What a guy!