Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cowboy Chic

In 1848 the U.S. acquired Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and California via a treaty with Mexico. In that same year, the California gold rush attracted thousands and thousands of fortune-seeking men. By the last quarter of the century the American West was rough and ready, and the place for action.

Enter the American Cowboywho rounded up herds of cattle, protected them from wild animals and thieves, and became a picturesque legend in his own time.

Here's what he wore:

STETSON: The high-crowned wide-brimmed felt hat, nicknamed "The Boss of the Plains", designed by Philadelphia hatmaker John B. Stetson. The Stetson protected a cowboy from the blazing sun and the deep crevice in the hat's crown kept him from being drenched during a downpour.

The hat cost $20 (a lotta money for a dude only earning $30 a month), but it lasted a lifetime.

Photo: Daniel Craig, Aliens & Cowboys (2011)  

Stetsons were available in black or white, so you could tell the good guys from the bad. You can guess which one made the best impression on a first date. ;)

Armie Hammer in The Lone Ranger (2013)

BANDANA: Folded and tied around the back of the neck with the triangle in the front. Nicknamed a "wipe", it was used to soothe an overheated brow, to pull up over the nose on a long, dusty trail, as a disguise so a man could play bandit, or to drop in front of a hot-looking honey so she could adoringly retrieve it.

Eric Balfour in The Legend of Hell's Gate (2011)

SHIRT WITH SNAPS: Snaps were better than buttons, allowing a cowboy to unfasten his shirt with only one hand while he kept the other firmly gripped around the horse's reins. Snaps were also handy when one hand was firmly gripped around a girl.

 Russell Crowe, 3:10 to Yuma (2007)

METAL BELT BUCKLE: Used to strike a match and light up that obligatory cigarette, afterwards.

CHAPS: Leather hides worn on top of Levi's which protected the thighs, and added a touch of animal magnetism to a cowboy's outfit.

Photo: Ben Foster, 3:10 to Yuma (2007)

HORSE:The best cowboys made sure to pick a horse that complimented their height. A man wants to look tall in the saddle, after all. It was also important for a cowboy to select a horse that wouldn't throw him. Getting thrown off a horse in front of a girl only made a man look dumb.

Viggo Mortensen, Appoloosa (2008)

BOOTS: With heels to hold the foot in the stirrup so a cowboy could stay astride.

Courtesy of Let There Be Clothes by Lynn Schnurnberger
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