3 Popular Western-Wear Features

by Jennifer Janelle
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The rich history of the wild west conjures up images of cattle drives, rodeos and six-shooter pistols. Western culture is characterized by individualistic tastes in activities, food and clothing styles. Still, there are iconic symbols that if spotted while traveling might indicate a destination out west. The 10-gallon cowboy hat and concho belts come to mind. These are just two from a long list of fashion choices that have retained popularity for decades out west.

Travelers who choose to take an adventure toward the sunset are in for a treat when it comes to interesting activities to take part in. Among the many options for visitors in states like Texas, Arizona and Colorado events like rodeos, western dances and outdoor sports provide ample entertainment opportunities. Being in the know about fashion trends in this part of the country can help make visitors feel more at home while there.

Western Footwear

Rugged cowboys that were some of the original pioneers in this region were practical dressers. Western boots are a preferred footwear option when rounding up cattle, riding bucking broncos and dancing. The phrase, “scooting a boot” is common local parlance for visiting a dancehall to do some 2-stepping. A large selection of different materials have been adapted for boots construction over time. Full-quill ostrich boots are a common sign of dress wear when headed to the dancehall. Trusty durable leather is still the dominant material used for work boots. Other exotic skins such as alligator are also sometimes spotted at popular honky-tonks.

Western Belts

Contestants on the rodeo circuit compete for elaborately tooled leather belts adorned with huge ornamental buckles as a top prize. Leather is the most common material for western belts but different additions to the basic strap include lettering on the back of the belt identifying the wearer by name and silver conchos with turquoise highlights. Extra-wide belt widths are another common distinguishing characteristic of western wear belts.

Western Headwear

Cowboy hats are still a popular part of western wardrobes. These vary in construction from felt to reptile skins such as rattlesnake. Different styles found in this popular headwear include the cattleman’s, ranch and gambler.

If a trip out west is being planned, knowing what to wear can help travelers get into the spirit and mindset of individualism that dominates this region. Western fashion is a part of the story of the early history of western pioneers. Wardrobes of sturdy boots, belts and hats were part of how the west was won.