Neu Perspectives

Cool To Be Cowboy

Is it just me, or has it really and truly become cool to be cowboy? Cowboy fashion has begun turning into mainstream fashion choices.

Is it just me, or has it really and truly become cool to be cowboy? 

I’m guessing the recent surge of Western TV series and cinema dramas has given new life a fresh perspective to our worn-out wranglers, hats and long-sleeved shirts. We, who sport dirt, are elevated in the fashion world. I suppose there are good things and bad things that come with popularity. It’s wonderful that I can walk into a mainstream store and find clothing that’s useful and attractive and denim that has more than one wash. But, as with everything these days, the price tags are higher, and I can’t help but chuckle at the misinterpretation of our staple items. 

Number one — jeans. Mainly, jeans with holes. I know, I know, it’s the oldest thing in the book for folks to scoff at. I’ve heard it for decades. “You paid how much for those pants full of holes? Heck, I’ve got ones like that I’d just give you!” But understand, if you’re trying to be cowboy, it’s pretty silly to buy weary pants. For the most part, when we dress up, we try to find jeans without distressing, weird, aged washes or holes. When we work, it’s sort of the same thing. Holes in our pants mean exposure, which equals sunburn, dirt in poor places and potential for fire ants. (For those of you lucky enough to avoid them, please know that fire ants are awful). Plus, if you’re anything like me, when your pants usually give to overuse, it’s almost always in an embarrassing place. 

Number two — our shirts. I see cowboy shirts with short sleeves, fringe sleeves and no sleeves. I’m not opposed to short sleeves, or even fringe, but it’s important to understand that long sleeved, collared button-up shirts are that way for a reason. If you have ever had a lead rope draped over your arm, and the horse goes to leave, you know that a short-sleeve shirt equals instant rope burn. And just like pants with holes, exposure equals problems. You open your world to potential for sunburn, hay scratches, bug bites, bee stings, mesquite thorns and silly tan lines. Most people look at me in a long-sleeved button-up shirt in Texas in July and think, “Boy, she must be hot!” But my summer shirts are made of light material, and they keep the sun off my arms. The collar keeps my neck protected from the elements too. 

Number three — the hat. I can’t stress enough how important it is to us outside workers to cover up our head and face. I cringe when I see men and women outside with nothing on their heads. Why age faster than we have to? Hats are a very individual thing, and I promise I won’t say much about the shape or style of what you wear, just as long as you have something on your head. Ballcap. Cowboy hat. Felt. Straw. Palm Leaf. Bonnet. Something! Preserve that lovely skin and stop squinting. Being a cowboy is an outside gig — act accordingly. 

Boots are similar to hats. They are very individual and can be worn in many different ways with many different styles. Often, you get what you pay for. Just be sure that you turn them upside down and stomp the toes before you slip your feet into them for the day. My boots have been home to toads, mice, crickets and black widows at different times, often just from sitting overnight. I’m not a shotgun (boots on the outside of pants) kind of gal, but kudos to you if that’s the route you take. 

Leggins protect our legs from lots of things, but something has to give in the summertime heat. Those can hang in my tack room until fall, unless I really need them for catching a breaker by a hind foot. 

Scarves are also treated seasonally for me, but extra bonus points if you can wear them year round. They are super stylish, add a pop of personality to our otherwise dusty outfits and can do about 100 different things in one day, including: protect our neck from the sun, keep us warm, highlight our eye color, keep us cool, tie a gate shut, lead a horse, sub for a belt and more. 

Overall, I applaud the fact that our style is mainstream. It’s been great for selection, and to be honest, great for business. We now have a fabulous and diverse array of clothes and boots to pick from, and it’s fun to see people from all walks of life celebrate the lifestyle that feeds our families. 

But don’t blame me if your knees end up covered in fire ant bites. 

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