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The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

Burning Questions

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

By Lee Pitts

I know the cowboy and cowgirl community looks to me as a stylish trendsetter who is always in fashion. 

As a man of few fashion surprises who owns at least three pairs of jeans and a stack of T-shirts, some even without colorful pictures of cows or cars on them, I realize I have a responsibility to share my insight as to what’s fashionable.

I’m constantly barraged with questions like, “What’s in style – shotgun chaps or chinks? Fringe or no fringe? Vest or no vest? Pendleton or polyester? A feather in one’s hat or a hat band? Belt or suspenders? Wrist watch or pocket watch? Jinglebobs or no jinglebobs?” 

As a leatherworker, I’m often asked if it’s fashionable to put a person’s name on the back of their belt or if “that style” went out with Lyndon Johnson. I prefer initials on the tip of a belt. And yes, people should wear a belt and pull up their pants. 

Even though teenagers are often seen with their pants pulled down like they have $500 worth of nickels in the pockets, it’s not a style that will ever catch on with the cowboy crowd. 

Can one imagine Trevor Brazile getting off his horse after roping a calf and mooning the crowd in Las Vegas at the National Finals Rodeo (NFR)?

The top five questions I get from people who want to dress as stylish as myself are as followed.

Question number five: Levi or Wrangler?

I was a Levis man in my younger years, but this was before I learned Levi gives hundreds of millions of dollars to extremely liberal causes, while Wrangler sponsors the NFR. So, now I’m a Wrangler man. 

Okay, okay. The fact Levis now cost $60 per pair might have a little something to do with my fashion awakening. At any time, a person could add up the cost of everything I’m wearing and the total wouldn’t be near $60. Compromise position – Cinch jeans.

Question number four: square toe or pointy toe?

I notice a lot of rodeo cowboys and cowgirls are wearing square-toed boots these days. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe proper boots should have pointy toes so a person can get their foot out of the stirrup faster with less hang up. 

Compromise position – my favorite boots have always been Justin Ropers with a round toe. Under no circumstance should a cowboy or cowgirl wear those silver toe caps on their boots which make them look like derelict rock and roll singers.

Question number three: outside or inside?

Because I also make spur leathers, people ask if the buckles should be on the outside or inside. 

It depends on what part of the country a person is from. If they’re from California, the buckles should be on the inside so they can put a big, gaudy concho on the outside of their spur leathers. 

If they live closer to Texas and Nebraska, it’s fashion forward to wear the buckles on the outside, which is more practical. 

Compromise position – I really like the three piece spur leathers with a concho on the outside and the buckles in the middle.

Question number two: wild rag or bolo tie?

Wild rag for sure, unless one happens to be from Arizona. I’ve traveled this particular state extensively and have found only an Arizonian can wear a bolo tie and look good at it. 

Arizona cowgirls are also the only ones who look good with big, old Native American Squash Blossoms around their neck. Maybe it’s the turquoise? 

Compromise position – do like I do and don’t wear either, because neither a wild rag or bolo tie looks good with a T-shirt.

Question number one: black or white?

The number one question I get is, “Is it more fashionable to wear a white – actually grey – or black hat?” 

I used to wear nothing but silver bellies, but I’ll admit nothing looks better than a properly shaped black hat, except under really dusty conditions. I’ve seen some auctioneers wear brown hats, but a person has to be really courageous and good looking to pull this look off. 

Compromise position – just wear a straw hat all year-round. They’re a lot cheaper, and a person won’t care as much if one happens to blow away or get stepped on by a bull or horse. 

I’ll admit straw hats don’t look good if theyʼre worn with a suit, but I tend to avoid any enterprise requiring me to wear one of those darn things.

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