The Indumentarian: How to Avoid Looking like a Cowboy

Feature photo by Moyan Brenn

It’s very easy for women to dress in a certain theme because their options are endless. The variety of choice invites a lesser ratio of getting it wrong because, at the end of the day, a woman can just say that they didn’t “get it” and “what philistines!” and all that crap.

Men, unfortunately, are not as lucky (or should I say, as decorated). In this sexually limited world that we find ourselves in, men are thought of as disposable vessels that created and continue to create all the world’s ills. They’re thought of as devoid of any emotion other than anger and ambition. Now this being true, much of the male population that I know are not assholes (much of them, not all of them. You know who you guys are). However, this being the 21st century and all, I feel as though there have been strides made in diversifying what masculinity is. Masculinity has stepped out of the cave of the 1950s and into whatever the 2011 equivalent is (perhaps an abandoned Blockbuster).

Now, since this article deals with one certain trend, it should be noted that one can do whatever one likes, just so long as you own up to it yourself. Do not sully my reputation by blaming the Internet.

That said, here are a few tips to look less like your childhood bedsheets and more like one who shall step into the desired bedsheets of that love one (or not so loved, I don’t judge).

Don’t Clint Eastwood it too much

Yes, Clint Eastwood has become a verb- it’s what happens when you have a career as long and iconic as he has. What I mean by this is that you can easily go overboard, especially as a man. Remember: it’s a trend, not a history lesson. In this way, it is much easier for a woman to get away with some semi-authentic look because of the fact that no one really knows how cowgirls dressed and the western look for her tends to derive many times from Dukes of Hazzard. And that’s the south. I would suggest if you do wear a bandanna, leave the denim shirt for some other occasion or leave your house hat-less. Absolutely no cowboy hats with cowboy boots (it’s one or the other) and do not add unnecessary accoutrement like gun holsters or spurs or chaps. Self explanatory. And if you do have a suede vest, wear a t-shirt or sleeveless undershirt, lest you die of heat stroke.

Topping it Off

Yes, those flimsy cowboy hats were all the rage (from 1997-2005) but one must move on from those days. They are over, but they shall return eventually.

Other than being outdated, what message do you think a limp and tattered cowboy hat sends to a potential mate/suitor? A well made and hard (for lack of a better term) cowboy hat in basic colors (no fun colors at least until 2014) like tans, greys, whites, blacks, and maybe even rich reds shall do the trick.

Cowboys and Vaqueros

One can easily ended up looking like a roadie for Banda Limon (or something) especially if one is of Mexican or Central American persuasion. It is of vital importance to remember that this is a western look, not a cowboy look. You do not want to end up looking like a Marlboro advert.

In this instance, go for a combination of Native American prints with cowboy features. For the non Mexican or Central American, this works just as well. One needs to mix and match and, indeed, combine these pieces in order to have a flow in the outfit that says 2011 and not 1841.

Pick up the Pace

Yes, an outfit may make you feel different things, however it should not completely change your personality. If you feel the need to walkabout slowly like you’re a disoriented tourist or a cow or if you feel the urge to chew on a piece of straw, you’re doing it wrong. Also, there is nothing less sexy than speaking in a western accent while wearing this style. It’s cute, but cute isn’t always sexy. Actually it isn’t cute; it’s bloody annoying.

Well, there you have it. If it seems like too much work, it’s because it is work. You should try to look your best, if not to land a date, to land a personality of your own. Until next time, hombres…

Don’t be a stranger but do be stranger.