in her shoes

The Garden Designer Who Loves Jumpsuits and Clogs

Amy Wilson might be the only person in NYC dressed like a gardener who actually is one.

Photo: Gabriela Herman
Photo: Gabriela Herman

Private green space is a luxury in a city like New York, but if you’re lucky enough to have a backyard or patio, Amy Wilson can help you perfect it. The garden designer and prop stylist creates lush outdoor expanses for a range of clients — from plant enthusiasts working on a budget to high-profile homeowners whose names you would definitely know if she were allowed to mention them.

Wilson’s love of the outdoors comes from her childhood in Pennsylvania, where she frequently went camping with her family. As an adult, she was working as a reporter for a financial magazine in Manhattan when a friend who owned a garden-design company approached her about switching gears. The work exposed her to the rooftops and hidden green spaces around the city, and brought her so much joy that she enrolled in the Landscape Design program at the New York Botanical Garden. Now she’s with The Organic Gardener, where she does everything from arranging flower beds to hauling trees up a several-story building using a crane.

The Cut caught up with her to talk about her favorite jumpsuits, the power of clogs, and why you should be okay with not impressing everyone you meet.

Photo: Gabriela Herman

On her go-to daily shoes: Most definitely clogs! My father is a veterinarian and when I was growing up, he wore them to work, too. But I wear sneakers as well.

On what she wears to meetings: I feel most confident in well-tailored pants plus a pair of comfortable shoes. In my early New York days, I had a teal corduroy suit from Micheal Kors that made me feel invincible. I wore it with high-heeled boots back then, but today I’d definitely switch to flats. With age comes the realization that walking with confidence is everything. Not everyone can do that for blocks upon blocks in heels.

On looking pulled together: I’m on my feet all day, whether it’s working on set, prepping for a shoot, or gardening. I never change outfits unless I’ve been installing a garden, and even then I’ll use wet wipes in a bathroom in an attempt to look presentable while still in dirty jeans. The one thing I will do is switch a clog that has a small heel — it makes me feel more chic.

On Monday outfits: You’ll probably find me in a jumpsuit. I know they’re very trendy now, but there’s a reason women love them. It’s one-piece and makes me feel the way I imagine men feel in a suit — like I’m wearing armor. Also, I have two kids, so the less I have to think about things in the morning, the better it is for everyone.

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On who she dresses for: My partner would say I am definitely not dressing for him. (“Is that another sack dress!?”) I dress for myself and also other women. I see an assortment of people from when I get up until bed. It starts with the messenger picking up my kit at dawn, my neighbors en route to school drop off, fellow subway passengers, and then it’s all the work people: art directors, creative directors, the celebrity garden client or shoot subject. Add to that photographers, models, florists and assistants and it’s a long list. It would be impossible to dress to impress any one group, although everyone does seem to like my high-tops.

On how her style has evolved: It hasn’t changed that dramatically over the years! I have pieces from my teenage years I still wear and clothes from my mom too. Perhaps motherhood and breastfeeding has meant more in the way of jumpsuits but otherwise, for better or for worse, I have changed very little.

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Old School Clog

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The Garden Designer Who Loves Jumpsuits and Clogs