Yesterday, the National Western Stock Show took to the streets of downtown Denver with its annual parade. There were loads of longhorns, heaps of horses, copious cowboys, rafts of ranchers, and a jillion journalists to document their every move. But more noteworthy than the parade were the parade-goers themselves, the workaday Coloradoans who watched the pageant roll on by. You see, Mayor Hickenlooper deemed yesterday “Dress Western Day.”
So even though the weather was cold enough that the horse shit was steaming before it hit the ground, parade goers arrived in style. Because, unlike Madonna and Jessica Simpson would have you believe, they know that Western wear isn’t meant for warm-weather lounging. It’s meant for frigid mornings herding cattle onto the plains, or, in this case, 17th Street. In other words, out with the daisy dukes and in with the Carhartts. Out with the sexy rhinestoned cowboy hats (except on the rodeo queens, bless your hearts), and in with the wide-brimmed Stetsons. And while we’re at it, out with the stiletto cowboy boots, because, well, they’re ugly.
That said, cowboy attire doesn’t have to eschew fashion for function, and on that count, Denver’s parade goers all but failed. So in hopes of an even better “Dress Western Day” next year, here is a slide show list of Western wear Dos and Don’ts based on the parade. -- Naomi Zeveloff