Rodeo fashion style did not exist in 1886, for Calgary’s first organised agricultural event – the Calgary and District Agricultural Society. It was 1912 when American Guy Weadick organised a livestock performance, a Wild West rodeo that morphed into today’s Calgary Stampede. This annual 10-day rodeo and festival is a magnet for international cowboys and cowgirls. For many, the Calgary Stampede embodies its tagline the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.”
Outside of the rodeo arena, there are few rules during the Calgary Stampede (July 7-16, 2017). Work takes a backseat to pancake breakfasts, boozy lunches and line dancing. If you want to look the part, western attire is de rigour.
What are the rules for Calgary Stampede rodeo fashion style?
If you want to mimic authentic cowboy and cowgirl’s effortless fashion style, here are the five (5) wardrobe musts.
- Denim – Anyone who is riding a horse, bull or participating in a Stampede event will be in jeans. Clearly, this clothing selection is a practical choice when attempting to stay atop high-spirited livestock. However, these men and women typically establish their style with form fitting dark denim blues and blacks. For the spectators’ denim choices are not as prescribed. You can expect jeans of every colour, denim shorts, sundresses dresses of every length and a more than a few miniskirts. Fashion tip: white jeans are acceptable, but watch where you sit…just saying.
2. Boots – In the same vein as denim footwear choices around big animals and dusty arenas should never include open toed shoes or high-heals. Leather cowboy boots and lace-up ropers are the standard footwear options. Often these boots have been custom built for the owner and worn so many times that they fit better than slippers. Not planning to ride any livestock? Cowboy boots are still a practical footwear option in the event of rain (sadly that does happen), and in the beer tents where the dance floor can turn into a sticky mess. Read about Alberta Boot Company here and how you can order your pair of boots.
3. Cowboy Hat – The brimmed western hat serves a clear purpose for keeping the sun off the face and rain out of the wearer’s eyes. The bonus is almost everyone looks better in a cowboy hat. Your hat choices range from breathable straw to warm felt material. Read about the Smithbilt hat makers here.
4. Shirts and Tops – Western shirts are far from prescribed. Theses tops cover a broad gulf of styles including fringes, leather touches, beaded designs and much more.
5. Belt Buckles – These are a status symbol of sorts. Any cowboy or cowgirl who has won a notable rodeo event proudly sports a large metal belt buckle commemorating the occasion. Bigger is considered better in the buckle department.
Western accessories for this year’s Calgary Stampede.
Designer Nancy Newman works with vintage fabrics, handwoven pieces of cotton and soft leathers to create gorgeous one-of-a-kind bucket bags. It is her finishing touches, the accents of nickel conchos and rivets that give these handbags an authentic western flavour. Giddy up cowgirl!
Step into your favourite jeans and finish the look with a hand cut leather belt (available in a range of colours) and a shiny belt buckle of your own. Designer Robert Aucoin at Iron Art makes these belts and buckles in Ontario.