Western Wear Today and Yesterday

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Western clothing has long been known for its utilitarian and simple function. It was born out of farming and ranching. Western clothing is one of the least demanding within the fashion world as it does not demand more than necessary. Even a cowboy hat is not always necessary.

The Basic Western Outfit

The basic outfit consists of cowboy boots, jeans, a t-shirt or typical plain shirt, and a shiny belt buckle. Blue Jeans were especially designed for horseback riding and makes the legs look longer. Any type of Cowboy Up Apparel provides a couple of good examples. As a result, they have long been popular with cowboys.

How Western Outfits are Worn

Even though you may really like the way that your boots look, it’s always best if the legs of your jeans over your boots. As a result, it’s actually recommended to invest in jeans that almost catch at the heel and let them roll up at the ankle. This prevents ride-up during horseback riding. Some even glue and iron the inside of the legs to create pleats running down from the center.

When you say the phrase “western shirt” to some people, the first thing they think of is the fringed floral embroidery. However, this is very old-fashioned in western gear. The Stars & Stripes and Mo Betta patterns were much more popular recently. Today, it’s plain colors, on-the-side stripes, and checkered patterns. 20X is also the new Mo Betta.

The hat is probably the most famous piece in Western apparel. It’s tightly woven, thin but tough and smooth to the touch. However, unless it fits your head size, it won’t work. As a result, you really need to try in several until you find one that fits you. Draw strings and frills are also no-no’s for farms. And it’s not worn like an old-fashioned ladies’ church hat, with the forehead exposed.


A certain posture is associated with Western gear and it’s not a slouchy one. The shoulders need to be pulled back exposing the chest. The belly isn’t too much of a concern. The chin should be slightly tucked so that the hat almost hides the eyes. The legs should be thrown forward, as if the walk is heavy. The feet should roll for the whole bottoms to touch the ground.

Brief History

Leather boots and felt hats have been a part of Western gear since the 1800’s. That was also when the bowler hat was invented. It was found to be better than the original slouch hat as it was less likely to blow off in the wind during horseback riding. The yoke was invented then as well. However, the modern western shirt with bright patterns, long sleeves, and pockets first became popular in the 1950’s. It was inspired by Mexican vaquero and Confederate shirts. They were popular for daily casual wear in the 1970’s and during the turn of the century. Denim was invented during the Gold Rush of the 1840’s being preferred by the miners for its breathability and cheapness.