Shopping & Fashion

The Right Way to Wear Western

The style editor of Cowboys and Indians magazine schools us in roper fashion.

Take a peek at any woman’s closet in this city, and you’re more apt to find Louboutins than Luccheses (hint: it’s a boot brand). So with Cattle Baron’s Ball around the corner (October 15), we needed a primer in authentic Western wear. So we turned to Holly Henderson, the style editor at the Dallas-based Cowboys & Indians magazine.

“A pair of killer boots can make an entire outfit, and Fort Worth’s M.L. Leddy’s is renowned as one of the best custom boot shops in the country,” Henderson says. “Choose from rows of samples then tweak the design, or bring in your own artwork. A hand-tooled floral motif is classic, but exotics (anything from full-quill ostrich to alligator) are inarguably the most eye-catching. Salesmen take six to eight measurements from arch to instep to craft the perfect fit for your feet. Take note: you’ll need to order now for next year’s event—the turnaround is 12 to 16 months.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Do women wear buckles, too?

style_cattle_baron_belt_bucklesTrophies aren’t just for cowboys. Concho belts are typically worn with skirts and slung low over the hips, but a high-waisted mini or midi paired with a natural-stone trophy belt is just as chic.

What kind of boots are right for the occasion?

A pointed- or snip-toe boot is the way to go. It’s dressier than a traditional round- or wide square-toe boot. If wearing them with a neutral dress, choose a pair with bright embroidery or leather inlays to add some interest.

Hat or no hat?

If you want to live large, spring for the cowboy hat (since it’s fall, opt for felt instead of straw). Just be sure to know your size down to the 1/8 of an inch to make sure it’s a perfect fit. And remember, wearing one is a commitment—there’s no avoiding cowboy-hat hair.

How can I use what I already have in my closet?

Western is all about accessories, so simply pick out your favorite LBD and go to (Cow)town. Boots are a must, and when it comes to jewelry, one standout piece is all you need to dress up your look. Although piling it on is never frowned upon.

Do’s and Don’ts

Don’t forget to break in your boots. You won’t be on the dance floor long if the leather is still stiff.

Do remember the venue moved from Southfork Ranch to Gilley’s Dallas. The one-time honky-tonk has a more laid-back vibe, so dress accordingly.

Don’t be afraid to layer jewelry. When it comes to Western fashion, more is always more. It’s pretty much what Navajo pearls are made for.

Do be yourself. Yes, more is more, but don’t overdo it to the point it looks like you’re wearing a sexy Annie Oakley costume.

Do experiment with stones. Sure, turquoise is the quintessential Western stone, but onyx and jasper broaden your color options. To really stand out, opt for dark blue lapis lazuli or white buffalo turquoise.

Western Wear Resource Guide

Pinto Ranch: A one-stop shop for upscale Western wear with an impressive selection of Lucchese boots, Rocki Gorman jewelry, lambskin jackets, and a slew of artisan buckles. 8687 N. Central Expwy. Ste. 2184. 214-217-6200.

The Gypsy Wagon: The clothing leans more boho than cowgirl, but the boutique also stocks Old Gringo boots and original jewelry by the likes of Richard Schmidt, a silversmith out of La Grange, Texas. 2928 Henderson Ave. 214-370-8010.

Melissa Benge Collection: Eclectic is the best way to describe this storefront, where turquoise jewelry, feathered hats, hair-on-hide bags, and bedazzled boots are mixed with on-trend casual wear. 2823 N. Henderson Ave. 214-821-1777.

Anteks Curated: The Preston Center boutique carries Southwestern giftables, including stamped silver concho belts designed by owner Jason Lenox (shown above) and bow ties made from real feathers. 4004 Villanova St. 214-706-6983.

Castle Gap Jewelry: It’s the best place in Dallas for authentic Native American jewelry, representing some of the top silversmiths in the business. Every piece is one of a kind. 8300 Preston Rd., Ste. 500. 214-361-1677.

Orisons Boutique: A perfect place to shop for a head-to-toe look. Don’t be afraid to ask for help—the staff have years of experience outfitting local socialites for Cattle Baron’s. 113 E. Virginia St., McKinney. 972-562-7077.

Wild Bill’s Western Store: Skip the jewelry counter and home in on the healthy stock of boots, hats, and Western pearl-snap shirts. 311 N. Market St. 214-954-1050.

Maverick Fine Western Wear: Shop in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards for all your Western needs, from apparel to accessories, then knock one back at the in-store saloon. It doesn’t get more Cowtown than this. 100 E. Exchange Ave., Fort Worth. 817-626-1129.

M.L. Leddy’s: This Fort Worth standard in premier Western wear has everything from a custom boot shop to private-label, hand-shaped hats. 2455 N. Main St., Fort Worth. 817-624-3149.

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