Manly Tips 4: Cowboy GearDecember 2, 2009
I dress like a cowboy. Not all the time. But on occasion. I have a sheepskin coat, plenty of jeans, big belt buckles and wranglin’ gloves. I have three western hats, and they’re the most comfortable headgear I have. They keep the rain off in the summer, the snow off in winter and the sun off all the time, and they look great.
Well, I think they do. I have been told otherwise: “If you’re going to wear that thing, you might as well not come shopping with me.”
Many guys like wearing western gear, but only a very few can make that stuff look good. There are three simple rules for looking right in cowboy duds, and I’d say you should be able to say “yes” to at least two of them:
- You should be a cowboy, or at the very least, a farmer.
- You should play in a country band.
- You should know how to ride a horse.
Anybody else, myself included, just looks stupid. But, if you’re the sort of person who ignores advice from experts like me, let me explain things a bit more.
- Boots: I loved my boots. Black elkskin, low heel, soft and supple. They cost hundreds of dollars in the late 80s (when I looked like I was in a Bon Jovi cover band) and I wore them for more than a decade. I stopped wearing them after my car accident, and gave them away years ago. If you choose to wear western boots, please remember that you don’t tuck your jeans into them. Keep them shiny. And don’t put chains on them; that’s just stupid. Of course, I did it. Spurs, too.
- Jeans: Old and worn and dusty, maybe with a patch on one knee. Cowboys don’t wear baggy jeans, guys. And they should be Levis, Wranglers or Lee. Cowboys don’t shop at Old Navy.
- Chaps: No. No, no, no.
- Belt: Indulge yourself. Find the biggest, baddest buckle you can, and make sure everyone sees it. My favourite from my collection is a big steel Union Jack; not very western, but very 80s goth-metal.
- Shirt: Nobody looks good in those pearl-button Garth Brooks cowboy shirts. Nobody. Don’t even attempt it.
- Tie: A string tie is the best way to make sure that girl from Lavalife never calls you back. Go without, or tie a ratty old bandanna around your neck.
- Jacket: You will see a leather jacket with fringes on it, and you will say “That’s cool,” and you would be wrong. Nothing beats the best jacket ever made: a Lee Storm Rider, wool-lined denim with a corduroy collar. I used to wear mine year-round.
- Hat: This is the most personal choice here. I’ve been to the local cowboy hat store recently, and tried on a bunch, so I know I don’t look good in high-crowned Stetsons. I tend to favour Indiana Jones-like hats. And, like I said, I think I look pretty good, but I often hear people say “Why’s that ay-rab wearin’ a cowboy hat?”
If you go ahead with this, remember to avoid shaving for a few days. You might even want to grow a moustache. Just let me know before you head to Walmart; I want to get a photo.
Here’s the thing about cowboy gear: Other people might snicker when they see you. Real cowboys might snort and spit. But you will feel really, really manly. And that’s all right.