THERE’S a misconception that farming folk and those who live in the country spend their time in overalls, wellies and waterproof jackets – which on occasion may be true – but the reality is that people who live in rural Scotland are every bit as fashion-conscious as the rest of us.

From luxurious tweed and cashmere to artisan boot-makers and designer brands inspired by the countryside and the changing seasons, there’s something for everyone who wants contemporary style and superior quality.

There are lots of familiar and popular brands available for those who love country life and enjoy the great outdoors – whether they’re involved in farming or activities linked to the land such as equestrian sports, shooting and beating, gamekeeping, fishing and so on.

Country clothing, of course, is by no means old-fashioned as you will discover when you visit a store such as the long-established Country Ways which has stores in Aberdeen and Banchory in Aberdeenshire.

The business is a mainstay of country, lifestyle and equestrian clothing in Scotland and the team there, led by Rosemary Michie, has carefully curated an outstanding range of UK and international brands such as Fairfax & Favor, Holland Cooper, Pikeur, Samshield, Le Chameau, Aigle and many more.

And, of course, you’ll find all your Barbour requirements at Country Ways too – it’s a brand with a long association with farming families and folk who choose to live in rural locations or simply just love the Scottish countryside. Indeed, the waxed jacket oozes country lifestyle and is as synonymous with the great outdoors as Harris Tweed and tractors!

Another popular British heritage brand is Fairfax & Favor, famous for its men’s and women’s boots, footwear, outerwear and accessories including handbags and travel bags as well as gloves, hats and socks.

This year, Fairfax & Favor, as part of its desire to encourage people to get out and about to experience some of the UK’s landmark castles and palaces open to the public – many of them in rural locations – has listed the most popular after conducting its own consumer research. In Scotland, it’s probably no surprise that Edinburgh Castle topped the list but it also highlights Stirling Castle, Falkland Palace in Fife, and Castle Fraser at Inverurie and Glamis Castle in Angus.

Of course, Country Ways is only one of many rural clothing specialists around the country and there is also a raft of independent fashion stores in many of Scotland’s popular rural and market towns. Wedding and occasion wear is also part of the mix as farming folk like to get dressed up for big days – and nights – out.

So, why are independent businesses like Country Ways, established in 1978, still growing and building customer loyalty? What makes them different to the ubiquitous chain fashion stores? “In our case it’s our customer service,” says Rosemary Michie. “You come into our stores and you can browse, ask for our help if you want it, chat about the weather – there are as many conversations about dogs and ponies as there are about our products and brands.

“We get to know our customers well and people like the personal touch that we can offer, and it’s the same team you deal with if you phone us or send us an email. It’s all about people at Country Ways and while we have an incredible breadth of brands and products for women, men and children that makes us stand out too, it’s all about communication.

“Our store in Aberdeen, in Holburn Street, is a landmark in the city while our new store in Banchory, which we bought during lockdown, has a prominent corner site in the town and – both are dog-friendly too.

“Everything that we have in our stores is available online so if you’re a bit further away from our stores you’re not missing out.”