Ranch Dressing… Western style, how to get it right
Okay, I have a body that’s basically a mass between my bust (which isn’t small) and waist and a fairly long set of legs for my large-boned, 5′ 4 1/2″ frame. Most of the time I’m in blue jeans as most cowgirls are in Texas. I need some things western but sophisticated to build a more career-like wardrobe. What do you suggest I start buying besides denim, gingham, and calico? (Haltom City, TX)
Whoa, gingham and calico!?! Sweetie, there’s great western and bad western. Summoning up an Elly May fantasy when you aren’t built like Miss Clampett and it’s not a Beverly Hillbillies theme party, is simply not a good thing!
Western wear is riding high in fashion right now. Details are what’s key. Giddy up into the spirit of the west with timeless, rugged classics rather than hokey duds. Unless you are at your home on the range, head-to-toe cowgirl from your ten-gallon hat down to “cowgirls do it better” panties gets too costumey.
While Wrangler men’s cowboy cut jeans are a fashion insider secret, authentic cowgirl jeans typically are high waisted so you can ride ‘yer horse without sharing the crack out back. To flatter your short torso and long legs, try designer style low riding bootcut jeans that will lengthen your body, proportionate your legs, and instantly add more pizzazz.
No cowgirl worth her weight in prize buckles would wear her shirt untucked, but for your figure that’s exactly what the doc orders to create a leaner, more fluid silhouette. Avoid big, bulky sweaters and select thin knits (with no wild life embellishments, please) in warm dark hues like eggplant, sienna, or olive and wear them out over your jeans. A rich single-button velvet blazer is the perfect addition, along with a tooled leather handbag, and a pair of western influenced boots that have just the right amount of a designer touch to add sophistication.
Look for vintage pearl snap western shirts- the old ones have a more fashionable slim fit around the armholes than the fuller cut ones that abound. Wear your western shirt open and untucked over a skivvy to draw the eye down and create the illusion of a more sculpted, leaner silhouette. How about a pair of suede jeans with it?
Why not try a corduroy jean skirt rather than denim? Top it off with a white shearling jacket and wear the higher 17″ cowboy boots or Frye’s with some funky colored opaque tights. It’s all in the mix- just rope in modern fashion elements to buckaroo classics and be on your way to earn your spurs in style.
–October 17, 2003