There are really only two occasions - also known as work and play - and Western Wear suits both occasions.
It’s not just cowboys who wear western wear. The vast majority of men and women own a pair of jeans (or two, or three) and a well-fitting long-sleeved shirt (or two, or three) that suits your personality. That’s the core of Western wear right there, almost from head to toe!
But it’s the accessories that make the difference, and identify you. What will take you to the cowboy groove is the boots and the hat. Yes - it’s really the footwear and headwear that make the difference!
First, the feet. Remember, cowboy boots have moved beyond having only pointed styles, since not everyone can wear them. Cowboy boots come in square toed and rounded toed styles. Some boots get closer to ‘biker’ styles and that’s why several bookmakers like Canada West, Boulet, even the venerable Lucchese, make boot styles that are solid, and might be plain except for some metal adornments, and emphasize a square toe.
At the other end of the spectrum, take a cowboy boot with a rounded toe and make it shorter, just above the ankle. Now you’ve got a ‘Romeo’ style, or the style of Blundstone boot that has been a trendsetter for decades. Yes, they have a few extras, such as a pull tab at the heel and some stretch fabric near to the ankle. These makers of short boots are pretty smart, making their boots easier to get on and get off. But at their core, you cold certainly argue it’s an offshoot of the family of cowboy boots. Bottom line, put on your jeans and shirt, then add your Blundstones or biker boots, and you’re pretty dang close to being a Westerner.
Now, the top part - the hat. Let’s face it, almost everyone has the need for a hat at some time of the year. The weather kind of demands that we go beyond homie and parka head coverings to something amore substantial and stylish. A hat - you need a hat. The question is do you want to wear something called a beanie, or do you want to wear a hat that fits your head, covers your head? A real hat deserves to be in the sentence ‘from head to toe’ - hey, that’s your hat and boots.
No doubt about it, a traditional Western hat is a working hat. It’s not just the fit, and it’s not just the style, it’s the purpose-made shape of the hat, and the key is the brim. The brim of the hat is what covers your face and neck from the rain and snow and sun. The workers in the fields all over the world have traditionally had wide-brimmed hats, because the hat is a treasure of any person who works with their hands. Too busy working hard to wipe off the sweat or rain? No problem, your hat keeps you dry. Riding in he mountains, looking for gold, and your horse is getting thirsty? It’s also known as a bucket hat. Don’t get squeamish on us.
Sure, the essential Cowboy hat style has been improved by adding a few well-placed holes to let some air circulate up there. And the brim could taper down, or curl up. It could be a 2.5 inch brim, or even a 3.5 inch brim. These are the functional questions anyone will ask (or might just think about).
Then, onto style. The hat can be pounced (shaped) in many ways to suit the personality of the hat wearer. A simple rounded top might suit some, but most hat wearers want a beveled top with one or two peaks, like a Stetson or a Serratelli. Want more of an adventurer look, or are you even a private eye kind of guy? Wei’s has you covered. Wei’s carries 10 different brands of Western hats, and any of them are good enough for a Cowboy.
This is why Western-style hats are inherently superior to ball caps. There - we said it. Sure, we like ball caps but Western Cowboy hats are much better-looking, and yep, they are more functional. Got a wet neck? You’ve probably been out in the rain wearing a ball cap.
On a Saturday night when there’s a community dance, it’s time for cowboys to shower a lot and dress up a little. Clean and shine the boots with mink oil. Put on fresh socks that are tall enough so cowboy boots will not chafe your calves. Wei's has Schaefer boots socks and other brands that are made for the purpose. Some cowboys tuck their pants inside their boots, like a traditional soldier’s attire.
Clean jeans, a good-looking belt and a big buckle. A western shirt. Sometimes a cravat, now often called a wild rag, which absorbs sweat at the neck and accentuates your head. Ready for any occasion.