Whether be it the sheriff or the mayor or the saloon keeper in Western wear, all seem to have a higher fashion quotient than most of us. All of us would have gone through a phase when we dreamed of donning the style and riding into the horizon with the love of our life. Hollywood adored this western style and cowboys were deemed as fashion Gods. Even today Woody the animated cowboy of Toy Story have more fan following than many celebrities. This is because of the fact that this macho styles attracts people regardless of their gender and age group. While the small ones are fascinated by the cool look the adults view it with a fond nostalgia. This is why the style makes a rocking comeback every time we think it is out of style. This cowboy fashion is also called as vaqueros outfits and today the article is about its origin and the basics you will need to know before buying this fashion.
Vaqueros is the Spanish equivalent of cowboys. In fact cowboys is the English translation of the Spanish word Vaqueros. The vaqueros spread among Mexico when the Spanish people arrived in the land along 1519. They started establishing ranches for stocking of the cattle and the horses they imported from Spain. Vaqueros taught riding for native Indians on well trained horses and consequently they also learned how to handle cattle. Thus, cattle ranching spread across the country and soon by 1700s it had spread north into areas which we now identify as Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Argentina. These native ranchers and cowboys were called as vaqueros which meant cow in Spanish. Soon they developed additional skills like roping and spread more thus marking the beginning of California's livestock industry.
By mid 1700s the livestock production sector saw great rise but there were a lack of markets for selling the end products like meat, hides and tallow. Vaqueros transported these products to Mexico City by trains which would in turn return with supplies. Only by 1800s American ships began coming into Californian ports and traded these materials. The opening of the local market for the animals commenced chaos when large roundups were held to collect cattle. This chaos was all managed by the hard riding vaqueros who soon rose to stardom. These vaqueros with their excellent riding and roping skills were said to dismount their horse only when they wanted to dance with pretty women who catch their eye. Pretty cool right!
Around the early and mid 1800s ranching which was still then deemed to be Hispanic profession soon started being adopted by the Americans who poured into the Mexico held lands. These newcomers and the Americans who married into the rancher families adopted the vaqueros style. This only increased with more people coming into California as the result of the 1849 gold rush. The famous style of people donning this style, riding ponies swinging a big loop of braided reatas that has been used extensively in Hollywood was the famous vaqueros style along 1800s.
As the livestock industry became popular these vaqueros started spreading across the country to Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona and even Hawaii thus carrying on their style with them. While the cowboys in Oregon and Idaho remained strictly Hispanic the travelling Texans adopted many new styles from the Mexican vaqueros.
Even today the legacy of the vaqueros carry on and will endure till the cattle are raised in big American pastures. The vaqueros techniques are still followed by modern livestock industry and their fashion also have carried on with time. These vaqueros styles has fascinated designers for a long time and even influenced the rockabilly movement in which the buckskin jackets were adapted as suede fringed jacket which turned into a major symbol in the counterculture movement in late 1960s. This micro trend of vaqueros seems to reappear season after season with various interpretations.
Now if you think of adopting this vaqueros style you will have to know some of the basics unless you want to be dressed just like Woody. While the vaqueros style is cool it still is hard to incorporate that outfit into your daily lifestyle. But try not to be too worried of the costume connotations. In recent times the vaqueros trend has diverted to less dress up and more into wearing comfortable hard-wearing utilitarian workwear. This vaqueros style includes chore jackets, denim and plaid shirts that is easy and comfortable to wear and also made in trendy fabrics like corduroy, shearling and suede.
As of Woody you cannot dress up into a whole cowboy but you can adopt the style one at a time. Keeping separates that pairs well with your existing outfits is the best choice like inserting the style by wearing a cowboy shirt and blend it with your regular look. A western styled denim or a checks shirt that is the casual look you would like to don on in weekends. If the shirt is too western for your taste then go with curved patterned piece called yoke in front and decorated with piping or embroideries on the back. As for the pants, denims work the best. Light washed denim is a good choice while a pair of black slim fitting jeans can balance out the extravagance of the shirt. Make note to avoid leather chaps and most importantly boot cuts.
The vaqueros fashion has been an important part of the culture for a long time. Wild west is known as the golden age of the cowboys and was known to be the start of the Western fashion which was greatly dominated by the cowboys, ranchers and of course outlaws. This vaqueros style which started out as a practical style the western style has transformed into formal style that had added fancy decorations over the decades which had an otherwise mundane style in 19th century. Knowing the vaqueros styles of the time in all components like hats, shirts, coats and so on can help you out while purchasing for the style.
The one famous style of Western wears is the western jacket. One statement piece is the snakeskin. This western vaqueros style was made popular by Nicholas Cage in Wild at heart when he sported an all black uniform which highlighted the jacket. A desert suede jacket is also a popular option in which the deerskin is used in the production of the jackets by the cowboys and Native Americans. These suede jackets were designed with fringes which allowed it to dry easily when it gets wet. This style again rose to popularity when it was a main piece in the teen drama " Sex Education” in which the female lead rocked the style. But if you think that it is not practical and too extravagant for you then you don't have to do it. The sandy suede without fringes is western enough and keep the cut of the jacket above the waist for a contemporary look.
You can also go with the denim trucker jacket that comes with shearling or borg lining. This denim style soon was adopted by mainstream style tribes and soon became popular. The famous denim jacket was first designed by Levi Strauss in 1880. This vaqueros style was designed for frontier laborers who were in need of durable hard-wearing clothes that lasted long despite the hard work they do. This style was characterized by thicker fabrics and darker washes which later evolved into comparatively lighter colors and fabrics.
The western shirts can be characterized by the yoke and elaborate embroideries and is a staple wear of western wear. The yoke is a shaped piece of clothing that is worn around the neck and shoulders and sometimes is defined by a contrasting color or pattern. They were designed to provide support the parts of the shirt that is looser around the chest and shoulders. By 1950s the modern western shirts with bright patterns, long sleeves, patches became popular. If you are a fan of embroidered shirts then choose them in subtle colors like dirty green and rust such that it doesn't look overwhelming. You can choose embroidered shirts with contrast piping but it is best to avoid fringes which might become an overkill. Also make sure that the shirt is well fitted to give a flattering look.
The base of any western vaqueros wear is to support their hardworking lifestyle. A denim or flannel shirt would cover this category well and faded check gives it a comfortable lived in look. Wear the shirt tucked in as the traditional cowboys would do. The style is designed to have the shirts originally in longer cut so that it is easy to tuck in and doesn't pull out when riding on a horseback.
They are usually in cotton with long sleeves that were put there to protect the rider from the dangers of sun, dust and thorns. A cotton bib shirt is a classic cowboy look. This style was designed so that the bib could be easily removed and cleaned without washing the whole shirt. This was because of the scarcity of water and washing the clothes daily became a luxury. Thus, bibbed shirts made it easier since the parts that became dirty soon can be removed and washed easily.
Another famous vaqueros style is the loose fitting, band collared shirt. These were popular among cowboys because of the material that were reasonable in cost.
Trousers were usually made of durable canvas or cotton which was a popular choice in summer. Some of the cowboys who came into ranching after serving in military kept on wearing whatever remained of their uniforms from the Civil war. With time the style adopted the practical changes that were introduced to make it comfortable for cattle drives. The fabrics became heavy or an extra layer of fabric was added to the trousers so that they did not easily wear off when rubbing on the saddle and to prevent chaffing. This extra layering since was known as saddle seat. Again when the heavier fabrics was needed denim pants were introduced. They were originally designed for miners in Northern California but soon came into open range when it eventually rose in popularity. Suspenders are another style that became prevalent at this time since the ranching involved riding and extensive movement and therefore could not afford to have loose pants.
Cowboy boots are one of the most popular style that still looks trendy even in 21st century. Traditionally the cowboy boots have stacked heel, round pointed toe and a high shaft. They are best to be worn under the trousers than over them. Nowadays the cowboy boots mostly looks like a Chelsea boot. Cowboys mostly wore military leftovers since they were inexpensive. The heels on the cowboy boots were put there since they were easy to hook onto the stirrups that kept the balance of the wearer while riding. Later by 19th century the rounded toe evolved into pointed toe that made it easier for the cowboys to slide off the horses quickly when necessary. Nowadays there are many styles available with variance in the height of the heels and the stacks. Cowboy boots is the most widely adopted style in all the vaqueros style. Even outside of Texas this style is rocked by most people and can be rocked to any events where the style is appropriate. Celebrities like Taylor Swift have also helped popularize the style widely.
As for the accessories that work well with the vaqueros style go for a subtle look. A tooled leather belt with a statement buckle or a neckerchief is a good look to rock with confidence. These accessories look the best when wore in contrasting colors. A red bandana looks striking when paired with an all black outfit while a blue one looks best with an all white denim jacket. Other styles like neckerchief, wild rags and string ties also is perfect to complete the look. These pieces are not very expensive and also versatile as per the wearer's taste.