Rodeo Ready: Your Guide to Western Wear Essentials

Two happy women in cowgirl attire with cowboy hats and bandanas smiling beside a palomino horse with a red halter.

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Few fashion trends are as authentically American as Western wear, defined by its iconic cowboy boots, denim jeans and wide brimmed hats. In fact, it’s hard to find a Texan that doesn’t have a few Western wear staples in their closet. According to fashion experts, Western wear is trending, and 2024 is the season for strutting in your boots and belt buckles. 

Here’s your guide for all things Western wear, and how to properly care for each piece, so it can be worn for years to come.

The Western Shirt: Classic Style and Unmatched Comfort 

Western shirts can be spotted by the yolk that covers the upper front and back with a snap front instead of buttons. Often made from materials like chambray, denim, or tartan fabric, Western shirts were designed to be durable, functional, and tough. These shirts were form-fitting because cowboys were known to wrangle horses and cattle, and any loose fabric could lead to snags and tears. 

Proper washing keeps colors bright and maintains the integrity of the fabric on Western shirts. Always wash them in cold water with like colors and never tumble dry. Instead, turn your Western shirt inside out and allow it to air dry. 

The Importance of a Good Pair of Jeans 

Every cowboy and cowgirl owns at least one pair of broken-in denim jeans. They’re an essential part of every Western ensemble, and they serve a practical purpose. Made from durable denim, jeans only improve with age—especially if they’re well-maintained. Brands like Wrangler and Levi Strauss are known for selling bootcut and straight-leg Western jeans, but many brands have jumped on the Western-style bandwagon over the years. 

The general rule for washing denim is to wash it every 10 wears or when it looks dirty. That way, you can maintain the right fit and protect the integrity of the fabric. Before putting them in the washing machine, turn your jeans inside out and check the pockets for loose change. Always wash your denim jeans (or shirts!) with cold water and never use fabric softener. When the cycle is complete, hang them on the line to dry.

Bring your favorite pair of jeans to a dry cleaner if you’re worried about washing them. We use solvents that are much gentler than soap and water, and we’ll remove any stains without damaging the denim. Dry cleaning can prolong the lifespan of your denim clothing.

Cowboy Boots: Choosing Your Perfect Pair 

Cowboy boots are the icing on your Western wear cake. Every pair is unique, offering style and comfort as you go about your day. Quality boots are worth the investment because they’ll last for years. Made from full grain leather, the boots mold to the shape of your feet and minor scratches just add to their unique look over time. To break in new boots, simply wear them around the house while you go about chores.

Leather cowboy boots require a lot of maintenance to keep them in good shape. Regular cleaning and conditioning with products made for leather is a must, and it’s wise to apply a repellant for stains and moisture. This will protect them from the mud and muck on the ranch (and puddles on the sidewalks of Katy).  Many experts also recommend storing your cowboy boots on boot trees to maintain their shape.

Old boots that are well-loved may require more care than you’re able to provide. Professional cleaning companies can provide cleaning and restoration services to give them new life and make them look their best. At OXXO Cleaners That Care, we have specialized products and practices to restore your boots to their former glory.

The Cowboy Hat: A Symbol of the West 

Nothing says “Western wear” like a solid cowboy hat. Most are made from straw or felt, but they can also be made from leather. Straw hats have been around for thousands of years, and cowboys wore them to stay cool and shaded under the hot Texas sun. Felt hats provided shade during the daytime and warmth at night, and they were also used as vessels to relieve thirsty horses.

Picking your Goldilocks cowboy hat can take some trial and error, but when you put on *your* hat—you’ll know. Here’s a quick way to determine the right cowboy hats by face shape:

  • Oval faces: any crown and brim combination works!
  • Round faces: high crowns with slanted brims
  • Long faces: medium crowns that sit lower on the forehead
  • Square faces: rounded hats with wide, curved brims
  • Heart-shaped faces: “Winslow” crowns with a small or medium brim
  • Diamond-shaped faces: shallow crowns that can be worn further back with medium or wide brims
  • Discuss the various styles of cowboy hats and their materials (felt, straw).

Always store your cowboy hat upside down in a cool, dark place. Placing it on the brim can break it down over time, causing it to lose its shape. 

If your hat gets dirty or needs to be restored, drop it off to be professionally cleaned. Our products are gentle enough to protect its integrity while removing stains and debris.

Don’t Forget the Accessories!

Large belt buckles, bolo ties, and bandanas complete the look of every Western outfit. Always pay attention to your clothes and add accessories that enhance the look without overpowering it. For example, a large belt buckle may look great with a Western style shirt and denim jeans. However, a bandana may be too much if you’ve already got a lot of fringe going on. 

Western accessories also need to be cleaned occasionally, and each process depends on their unique materials. A professional cleaning service has the knowledge and tools to clean your unique Western accessories with care, so you don’t have to worry about damaging them.

Putting It All Together: Creating a Cohesive Western Outfit 

Western wear should be fun and practical to put on, and it should make you proud to be a Texan. Combine your unique pieces to create a look that inspires you and makes it easy to move around in your daily life. For casual wear, choose denim jeans and a Western style shirt and complete the look with a pair of Cowboy boots. This outfit is perfect for running errands to attending PTO meetings at your kids’ school. 

If you’re attending a wedding or other formal event, opt for a dressier look. For men, this could look like a suit, bolo tie, and cowboy boots, while women could wear a nice dress with heeled boots. Accessorize with your favorite belt buckle or a bandana headband to complete the look.

To make any look complete, make sure it fits correctly. Proper tailoring and alterations by a reputable dry cleaner in Katy can go a long way in making you look put together. 

Trust Your Western Wear Cleaning to OXXO Cleaners That Care

Western wear has gone in and out of style for hundreds of years, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Having a capsule collection of Western style clothing like shirts, cowboy boots, and hats can make it fun to put outfits together that look great and feel comfortable. 

Embrace your own unique Western style by collecting pieces that speak to you and make you feel good. When it’s time to have them cleaned, drop them off at OXXO Cleaners That Care in Katy, Texas. We’ll make sure they’re properly cleaned and last for years to come. 

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