Every Halloween there are boys and girls who dress up as cowboys from the old west. Complete with cowboy hats and toy pistols, they roam the costumed streets and pretend to shoot bandits and bad guys. Have you wondered, though, how cowboys really dressed? With all the commercialization of the trade, some of the key characteristics of cowboys have fallen through the cracks, such as the western leather belt and specialty chaps for horse riding. So if you want to dress up like a real cowboy, take these few notes into consideration.
True Cowboy Attire
The first, and perhaps most noted item in a cowboy’s uniform, is his shirt. These were typically made of cotton so they would breathe in the harsh temperatures, and always long-sleeved to protect against sun burns, thorny shrubs and bushes, or untamed animals. They come in a variety of styles, most with flashy buttons down the front or patterns in the fabric. One type of traditional shirt had a buttoned on bib that could removed and washed conveniently. This helped to keep the shirt from getting too dirty or smelly in a time where washing laundry was scarce. To complete his basic ensemble, a cowboy would wear canvas pants good for riding a horse all day. These pants had to be durable so they wouldn’t frequently need repairs, but also comfortable enough to wear for days at a time while exploring the range.
Hats are also a must for any good cowboy because they keep the sun off his head and neck, which can greatly reduce chances of heat fatigue or heat stroke. The ten-gallon hat comes to mind first, but it’s not the only style cowboys wear. Finally, the famous cowboy will finish any outfit. They need to be sturdy, are typically made of leather, and some even have spurs to encourage his horse. Fun fact: cowboy boots typically have pointed toes because it’s easier to slide into and out of stirrup.
In addition to the traditional wardrobe, there are a few accessories most cowboys would sport. One is a bandana, which was helpful to keep around their neck so they could pull it over their face in the even of a dust storm. Chaps were another common add-on. They wrapped around a cowboys pants to protect them from any dust or mud that came with riding a horse.
Dressing up as a cowboy is easy with these few insider tips!