How to Incorporate Western Wear into Daily Fashion: 7 Quick Tips
More than a century passed since the era of the Wild West came to its historical end. Despite that, the spirit of the American Frontier doesn’t even think to linger, thriving and flourishing instead. This stout leather-brown thread, caressed by scorching western sun and dusty from desert sands, adorns the tapestry of American culture, embroidered into an image of a merry horseman. Fashion is one of those aspects that preserved elements of the Wild West to the full extent. Cowboy fashion morphed into western wear, acquiring new features but retaining its unique flavor. Some elements, like jeans, went beyond the frames of a single style and became a fashion phenomenon, finding their way into wardrobes all around the world. Others remain a distinctive feature of the cowboy style. How to wear those elements and not look like a cowboy caricature? Our outdoors store prepared some tips on how to wear western style tastefully.
Don’t Overdo Things
The first thing you need to keep in mind is that temperance is a virtue in every aspect of our lives, including fashion. It’s one thing to prepare for historical reenactment and another to spice up your everyday look with a bit of the West. Dressed up head to toe in cowboy attire, you are likely to be mistaken for an out-of-season trick-or-treater. On some occasions, that might be just what is needed. In all other cases, it’s better to stick to one or two pieces.
Luckily for everyone, western wear is not only about cowboy hats and boots. You can also choose from shirts, coats, jeans, pants, and all kinds of accessories. It can be a fine shirt with stylized yokes or embroidery, a Kippy belt featuring metal conchos or eye-catching buckles, a fringe jacket with Native American-inspired ornaments, or a bolo-tie featuring one of the symbols of the Wild West. A pair of jeans will no longer conjure up images of a cowboy riding off into the sunset. But put on a good old felt cowboy hat or a pair of, say, Corral boots – and the sounds of the harmonica are bound to follow.
Draw Inspiration from Different Sources
If you are looking for inspiration for your western style outfit, movies might the first thing that comes to mind. A choice like that is clear since westerns played a vital role in the popularization of the cowboy image. But movies were plentiful, and so were the styles. Apart from making the image of a cowboy popular, they also altered it, adding some features that had little to do with actual cowboys. The stylized excessively pointy toes were born during the Golden Age of Western movies. So if you plan to draw inspiration from movies, then be sure to compare those outfits with historical descriptions. There is nothing wrong with tailoring your style looking at a cowboy movie star, but real cowboys and their movie versions very often looked differently.
Movies are far from the only source of inspiration you have. The culture of the Wild West is a vein too rich even for movie makers. You can draw inspiration from other forms of art as well. Take a look at the works of Mark Maggiori, for example. If those paintings don’t capture the spirit of the American frontier, nothing does. Every piece portrays cowboys carrying out regular cowboy duties. No showdowns at high noon, no dramatic saloon entries. Only mesmerizing sceneries of the canyons, mountains, and plains of the West, well-groomed horses and cowboys as they are. Most importantly, the paintings capture cattle herders in their iconic attire. In addition to that, Maggiori captures other iconic characters of the Wild West.
Pay Attention to Materials
Sometimes, you don’t need to go all in and replicate the garments to the smallest detail. Materials and textures might be the only thing you need to give your outfit a Western frosting. Suede, leather, denim, and wool are the materials that were used in western wear. Even a simple denim shirt or a sherpa-lined jacket can work a harmonica in your daily outfit orchestra. Materials can give a hint without telling directly what you are trying to achieve with your clothing. Materials can also be bullhorns, with Texan tuxedo being one of the examples. Fashion encourages experiments, and sometimes too little or too much is actually just enough.
What to do with a Cowboy Hat?
Get one, of course! A cowboy hat never hurt anyone. Considering how many styles there are, you can get a small collection not to wear a single hat out. The most popular styles are the gambler, cattleman, pinched front, and derby. However, having a collection of cowboy hats doesn’t mean you should wear one every day of the week. There is a time and place for a hat like that, specifically if you are going to the rodeo show and want to feel and blend in as a cowboy.
To recognize it and put it on or leave it hanging for another day is the key to wearing it properly. It might look out of place if not accompanied by other attributes of western wear, but having too much on will make a hat excessive. Find the balance – and a cowboy hat will be your best accessory.
Boots are Always a Good Start
If you don’t know where to begin your search for a perfect western outfit, boots are always a good start. On par with hats, modern cowboy boots feature a wide variety of styles you can pair with practically anything. Jeans turned from a western exclusive to world heritage, but they nonetheless remain authentic cowboy wear. Pair jeans with cowboy boots – and you are all set. You can choose from traditional designs or opt for their modern interpretations. Roper boots might be the more appropriate choice for everyday wear since they are better suited for running (and hence walking) than traditional-style boots.
Some Things are Better Left Out
You might treat attempts to make every single cowboy garment and accessory work as a personal challenge. That’s perfectly fine – a little challenge is always welcome. But some pieces are better left to the past or at least special occasions. Spurs are the first thing that comes to mind. Unless you never get off your horse or prefer to walk on foot among other people, spurs are better off locked in the closet. Chaps can also be called a difficult case. We mentioned that a cowboy hat might sometimes feel out of place. Well, chaps feel out of place most of the time, at least in an urban environment. They work well for ranchers, rodeo performers, and horseback riders, but if you are a city dweller, please, keep your distance from them. Even a bandana, which is also sometimes frowned upon, is easier to incorporate organically into your daily outfit.
Care is the Best Accessory
Many iconic cowboy attributes are made of materials that call for care. You don’t need to worry about denim garments more than you usually do, but leather and suede are more demanding. The wear will show sooner or later, regardless of how well you look after your clothing. What you can do, however, is keep your clothing and accessories spick and span to postpone this moment. Looking neat never goes out of fashion, and your garments will thank you with years of service.