Country Wear: Hard-Working Cowboys Need Hard-Working Clothes

You’re spending a lot of time out in the country and have already started to feel like quite the cowboy. Yee-haw! But your trainers getting stuck in the thick mud and your tracksuit getting snagged on bushes or stable fences are a constant reminder that you’re not entirely ready for the unforgiving country environment. So, if you want to feel like a true cowboy, you better dress the part.

cowboy on a horse

Looking cool and dangerous wasn’t the only reason cowboys wore their recognizable attire. They needed something that can withstand dirt, mud, heavy rain, burning sunshine and all kinds of other harsh conditions. So, it makes sense to dress like a cowboy when on your way to the unpredictable Australian countryside. Not only will you stay protected and comfortable, but you’re also going to look fashionable considering the current popularity of cowboy style. Now saddle up, these are all the pieces you’re going to need.

Cowboy Boots

cowboy boots

Cowboy boots are one of the most distinctive elements of country wear. They were designed in the mid-1870s specifically to enable cowboys to do their work better and to provide protection. They are high to protect the cowboy’s legs from mud, thorns, brush, snake bites and biting cattle. Their narrow and pointed toes and heels allow cowboys to slip in and out of stirrups easily. Today, as cowboy boots are considered a stylish statement piece, they also come with additional adornments such as embroidery. In any case, when buying cowboy boots, it’s essential to choose a model made of genuine leather that is water-resistant and can mould to the shape of your foot, ensuring you stay comfortable.

Cowboy Vests

cowboy vest

Although the vest is one of the most overlooked pieces in a cowboy’s attire, they still have an important role to play. Why did cowboys wear vests? Well, vests came to be used as an alternative to coats as most of the cowboys didn’t like the way coats restrict mobility. Wearing a vest as an outer garment doesn’t restrict arm movement when riding a horse or doing odd country jobs.

And since the Australian climate rarely requires you to wear winter clothing, cowboy vests are often the practical choice for an outer layer. A thick, padded vest over a shirt can often provide enough warmth. Plus, unlike coats, vests don’t easily get caught on fences, horns, trees, etc. They also feature pockets which allow storing items the cowboy needs. Pants pockets can be hard to reach when you’re in the saddle while keeping things like a pocketknife or tobacco in a vest is a lot more convenient.

cowboy wearing denim vestGenerally, a vest is worn over a thick button-up shirt made of flannel or wool. Today, you can find cowboy vests made from all sorts of materials from wool to canvas, leather, oilskin and synthetics. To make sure you’re getting something of good quality, focus your search on vests by well-known country wear brands such as R.M. Williams, Pure Western, Ariat, Johnny Reb, Just Country and similar names.

Cowboy Shirts

cowboy shirtThe purpose of cowboy shirts is to protect you from the dangers out in the country: sun, sand, thorny shrubs and annoying insects. Considering this, cowboy shirts traditionally come with long sleeves. The most common style is the cotton bib shirt. It’s breathable, while at the same time UV-resistant and protective. In addition, the practical bib shirt doesn’t wrinkle and is easy to clean. Another popular type of shirt for the countryside is the loose-fitting, band-collared work shirt. As far as looks go, you may want something that’s dark so that any accumulated stains and dirt aren’t easily noticed. Checkered shirts are also a great choice when you want to inject a dose of colour and personality into your outfit.

Trousers

moleskin trousers

For obvious reasons, tracksuit bottoms are a big no-no. For the countryside, you’re going to need tough trousers which can’t be easily pierced through. In the winter, a pair of trousers made of thick canvas or cotton can help you stay warm and protected. Moleskin trousers are also a great choice as they are highly resistant against abrasion and strong winds. For the summer, denim can be a great alternative for keeping cool. Go for trousers with a boot cut design which will allow you to comfortably wear your boots underneath.

Cowboy Hats

akubra hat

And finally, to top off your look, you’ll need a good cowboy hat. No sensible cowboy would be caught without a hat. Cowboy hats are designed to shield the eyes from the sun and dirt, protect the faces from sunburn and shield the ears from winds and the cold. To really stay comfortable around the countryside, always have a hat that’s fit for the season. This means wearing straw hats in the summer and traditional felt hats for the winter. What’s common for all cowboy hats is that they feature a wide brim. Cowboy hats can also be used as decorative accessories as they frequently come with accents such as shaped brims, prints, studs, buckle sets or feathers. If you want something that’s practical and ideal for our weather, go for the iconic Australian cowboy hat – the Akubra.

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