What to Wear to a Rodeo
Here’s your fun and fashionable wardrobe guide that speaks to the cowboy or cowgirl in everyone.
You’re going to the rodeo. If this is your first rodeo, or even one far down the line, this guide will help you stay in front of the crowd. The key to dressing for a rodeo is to dress for comfort first. Rodeos can be long outdoor events with weather that can be hot or cool, wet or dry, and sometimes windy. So, naturally, you’ll need to factor in layers for inclement weather, but today we’re focusing more on your rodeo style.
Let’s get you into a rodeo outfit that’s all you.
For a man, woman, or child, nothing says rodeo like denim. Light or dark, tight or loose, denim can anchor a rodeo look on which you can hang your hat. Paired with a cool T-shirt, Western boots, hat, and the right accessories, you’re good to go!
A few side tips:
- Ripped jeans are too urban for a rodeo.
- Boot- or straight-cut jeans are regulars at a rodeo.
- Guys tend to wear jeans over boots, and gals tuck them underneath.
- Blue denim, as in blue jeans, matches the rodeo scene more than other colors.
These are tips, not hard-and-fast rules. So, you do you — the rodeo you.
Here’s where you get to walk the walk! Say “cowboy boots.” Now you’re talkin’ the talk. It’s a rodeo, where cowboy boots fit like broncs to a chute. And like broncs, each boot has its kickin’ style, with color, pattern, shape, toe point, and boot shaft choices. Are boots not your style? No worries, what you wear to a rodeo is more about comfort than style, although … cowboy boots!
Yep, we’re still talkin’ the talk, so go ahead and call it a cowboy hat. You can bet your bottom dollar that’s what the cowboys and cowgirls call it. The cowboy hat comes in various forms and patterns and is the likely centerpiece of your Western outfit. So, whether you choose wool, straw, or full-fledged felt hat, make sure you’re comfortable with it. That includes breaking it in before the rodeo. Remember, with comfort coming first, here’s where you top off your outfit with your head held high.
A clean, tucked-in Western plaid shirt is always a flattering and comfortable choice for a rodeo outfit. Button-down or snap, a long-sleeved plaid shirt is so rodeo-fluid that it also looks good with rolled sleeves. Rodeo folks are versatile, so you’ll also see patterned and paisley shirts nicely fitting the bill. If you’re expecting warm weather at the rodeo, consider a darker color to hide the sweat stains.
You know you want one. A buckle, a beefy one made of silver, or maybe two-tone, or bronze, or gold. So, get one! A big, fancy one. The bigger, the better, but not so big it’s uncomfortable! Oh, and don’t forget the belt! You’ll need that to hold up your britches. Besides, a leather belt complements your jeans, and a fancy belt buckle completes your whole rodeo outfit.
Now we’re starting to accessorize. Some may know wild rags as handkerchiefs, bandannas, or scarves because that’s their roots. Once upon a time, these rags were essential tools to keep the sun off the skin, dirt out of the lungs, and a whole passel of other uses. Guess what? They’re still used that way. However, there are now styles created with snazzy patterns and materials that can turn a regular ol’ Western outfit into a head-turning fashion statement. Fashioned around the neck with a knot or slide, bound to hold a ponytail, weaved into a braid, used as a head scarf or belt, twisted around a wrist, tucked into a shirt or back pocket, get creative with wild rags. There is no wrong way to wear them.
Turquoise brings out the beauty and excitement of the West more than any other gemstone. It’s a shoo-in at a rodeo, and the bigger, the better. Turquoise in bracelets, pendants, rings, chains, and earrings, if Western and set in silver, is a beautiful option to help make a statement.
What is it about tassels? They’re cool on accessories, that’s what. So, what are tassels, you ask? If you’re fashion-conscious, you know them when you see them. If you’re new to tassels, they’re those creative dangly things attached to earrings, handbags, jackets, skirts, bracelets, shorts, and even boots. At a rodeo, you will also see tassels woven into the manes and tails of a horse and embellishing horse equipment like reins and headstalls. So, for your purposes, a display of tasseled accessories will help you flaunt your entire rodeo outfit.
Fringe is not the same as tassels, although it’s easy to think of it at first. Fringe dangles too. Think Western movies, those flicks of cowboys wearing buckskin with rows of thin leather strips hanging off sleeves and pants. Shoot, how cool! In the Old West, the fringe drained rain off the duds, preventing the body from getting soaked. Mind you, the fringe was also decorative. And here we are. In today’s fashion, fringe heightens the drama wherever you see it displayed. You see it displayed on chest pockets, across the back and shoulders, built into boot shafts, and, of course, on sleeves and pants where it originated. Denim shorts, a skirt, on your boots — where will you display the fringe?
Take your look to a new level with a touch of snakeskin added to your outfit. Snakeskin, whether real or not, carries a mystique that radiates country. Think “snake,” and you’re there! Snakeskin is popular in accessories like belts, wallets, and purses. But for a ssss-seriously stylish look, strike hard with snakeskin boots, belts, and accessories. Of course, if you want to go all-in with snakeskin, there are always shirts, pants, dresses, and skirts to coordinate with your outfit.
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