The City of Edmonton is bringing us the 43rd Canadian Finals Rodeo in a weeks time. My dear friend Kathy Butkovic suggested that I do a little collaboration with Calgary’s own Ted Stovin from Everything-Cowboy regarding CFR Fashion for both urban and rural cowboys and cowgirls. Check it out.
Cassie: It feels as if only a few times a year, the people of the western community get to take off their work boots and slip into something a little dressier. Not that there is a damn thing wrong with work boots, dirty jeans and a dusty hat, but it does feel good to get dressed up and go out on the town.
It is known in the fashion world that trends come and go. When they come back they are often updated slightly and thrown back into the mix of things. This year we saw Vintage Western make a full come back. Of course there are a few trend setters who were ahead of the curve, but this trend finally caught up with the masses this year.
Vintage Squash Blossom necklaces have been, and will continue to be around forever. They are a statement piece that quickly grabs your attention. Bolo Tie’s made a comeback this year. Some adorned vintage pieces, others created new versions from painted and carved leather pieces, to large concho styles. Anything with turquoise goes, you really can’t go wrong. If you think turquoise is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
Tooled, painted, and vintage leather accessories are everywhere. Have your Grandpa’s old belt? Wear it. Did a friend of yours paint you a leather cuff a couple years ago? Dig it out. Tooled leather whether it be a belt or cuff goes with every outfit. While you’re digging Grandpa’s belt out, ask him if he has any old style cowboy hats, ’cause you bet they made a come back.
If you are looking to get a new purse or bag, the number of leather artisans in North America is endless. In Canada I would recommend asking Kim Hodgins of Kim Hodgins Designs if she is able to whip something up for you. Paige Leather by Paige Albrecht is also always sure to please. If you have the money to spend and can handle the US dollar exchange, I would suggest looking into 26 Mile Collective, HD West Leather or Jennilie Leather.
Clothing wise, florals aren’t just for spring. I see floral prints on every item of clothing, right down to floral stitched patterns on jeans. Flare jeans have been back in the rodeo arena for a few years now, but more so now in the bleachers. Shirts that hang off both shoulders, or are cut out at the shoulders, turtle neck-style shirts, and dusters are everywhere. Suede type materials have also made a comeback with everything from dresses to pants. Lastly, fur vests and jackets are very appropriate for the CFR. They are another timeless look that you can pair with any outfit.
B & B Clothing Boutique in Olds, Alberta is currently one of the busiest boutiques in the western community. Owner Charlsey Whittemore, has new items coming in weekly, and has something for everyone. B & B will be in Edmonton during the Canadian Finals Rodeo, but be sure to get there within the first few days so you don’t miss out on getting the right size in the perfect floral dress, or one of their best selling lace maxi’s.
Though square toe cowboy boots have been a staple for everyone to wear with their jeans when headed to the city, you have more options than just that. Knee-high heeled boots pair nicely with leggings or dresses. Booties of every style will be everywhere you look in the city. My personal favourite are currently my Jeffrey Campbell Cromwell Suede booties with accents of silver on the toe and heel. While in Edmonton, and if you have the extra spending cash in your wallet, Poppy Barley has a beautiful collection of handmade leather shoes, my favourite being the Two Point Five ankle bootie. They source their leathers from a family run tannery, and pay attention to detail when creating their shoes; their pricing reflects this.
With fashion the options are endless. Style is a way of saying who you are, without speaking.
As always, what I have listed is only what I saw trending this year, and are mere suggestions if you are looking to spruce up the wardrobe. If your eye is drawn to something, pick it up and try it on. Wear what you feel comfortable in, and wear it with confidence.
Ted: For anyone that’s wondered, my main 100X black hat was built by Vern Elliott of Gold Springs Custom Hats in 2008. He’s re-done it a few times since but I’ve probably worn it 1,000 days or more in those years. Since then, I’ve burned through plenty of straw hats from the American Hat Company. Also, I work at Smithbilt here in Calgary in the winter. That’s where my 100X silver belly is from and we always have stock.
Quality is key here with all of these hats in my mind. That hat Vern made me is bullet proof. All those days, wear and tear have it not looking like it used to. It’s not the hat’s fault though or Vern’s, I’ve put it through about everything a hat can take. Same goes for my silver belly from Smithbilt which I’ve had since 2013. I’ve learned lots more about building hats since then and I think it’s time to build myself a new black one this winter.
It might cost $800 or more for a 100X hat. I’ve saved money by having a hat I can get fixed or reshaped when a cheaper, lesser quality hat won’t hold up that long or hold it’s shape as long. Investing in quality has paid off for me.
Ideally, it’s best to have someone shape your hat for you or get it fitted. Having one that’s too tight is no good. Don’t add any different hat bands either, there’s a reason the one that’s on it is there.
My favorite pair of boots in the past few years has been a black pair of square toe ostrich boots from Welsh’s I traded my friend there an ad for in 2012. Some of those exotic skins are tougher, like the elephant Tony Lama’s I bought back in 2009. Leather soles may not be ideal on the ice in our Canadian winters but they can be re-soled. Buying great Canadian, handmade boots like Boulet and Brahma pays off long term in this business. I wear both and actually have a custom pair of Brahma’s on the way from Winnipeg right now. Just in time!
Speaking of long-term. I’ve had a few pairs of my Wrangler Jeans last longer than I can fit them. It probably happens more than I’m thinking it might but they have been great jeans. New in the past couple years that I’ve noticed are the retro and advanced comfort styles. The advanced comfort jeans are a dream to travel in. If you haven’t tried them out yet, you might want to. They are like hanging out in pajamas all day.
With jeans in the cowboy world, I rarely ever leave my house unless they have been starched by Drycleaning by Dave here in Calgary. If you didn’t know, that’s what makes those awesome creases, the ones my mom made fun of me for. In our business it’s a cost that saves on the laundry time and lets us wear our jeans a lot longer when we are on the road. Dave even does pickup and delivery in Calgary. It’s handy.
Then comes the question, do the pants hold up the belt or the belt hold up the pants? My belt came from my friend Kathleen Brannon of Desert Sage Bead Art in Reno, NV. Kathleen and I met at a horse show in Vegas when I was in school there back in 2011. Kathleen made me the classiest belt of all time in the summer of 2013.
Some things that never change are the classic pearl snaps, also from Wrangler. My Dad never bought a shirt that didn’t have three snaps on each sleeve. Snaps for the win, but also for the win are the new advanced comfort shirts. The advanced comfort shirt I have fits better than any shirt I’ve ever had, it’s also denim by the way. Retro is back as Cassie says. Plus it’s formal here in Canada too, check out Aaron Roy and Ty Pozzobon, they are wearing the same shirt I’m talking about in competition right now.
Wild rags won’t likely ever go out of style here in Canada. Silk is what I want and bright colors are becoming more popular. If you don’t have one you might want to add one or two to your wardrobe. The same goes for a nice pair of lined deerskin gloves, made in Canada.
Don’t forget though our western retailers all carry t-shirts, day-to-day shoes, hoodies, ball caps and much more.
Another cool thing about this business is how many people have jobs or businesses doing other things besides rodeo or bull riding. I know a lot of people who are farmers and ranchers but then I know a pilot and Earl Klapstein who owns Eddie’s Men’s Wear on Calgary Trail in Edmonton. Like anything else I’ve mentioned in this story, it’s likely going to cost you some money but it’s going to be high quality stuff that lasts.
In the past couple year’s I’ve bought a couple jackets from Earl that I used every week on the road this fall for the PBR’s Monster Energy Canada Tour. Earl and his crew have made sure I got the right fit and right piece. They haven’t gone un-noticed either. Someday when I grow up I guess I’ll have to get some more stuff from him. If you’re in the market, Earl is a huge supported of our way of life in this country. Supporting folks like him help make everything go around.
Thanks for checking this post out! If you have any fashion ideas, trends or anything else you would like to let us know about, please do in a comment below!