Weatherford Democrat

Features

January 4, 2010

From Wild West to modern rodeo, the look is new

(Continued)





Cowboy boots may have changed the least over time. Such embellishments as high heels and decorated uppers appeared early as cowboys tried to set themselves apart, Reeves said.



"Even in the 1870s, they would try to show that 'I'm a Texan, I'm a cowboy, I don't walk behind a plow,'" he said.



It wasn't until the 1920s and 30s, years after the cattle drives that made the cowboy an American hero, that the style we recognize today as Western wear began to emerge, Reeves and Weil said.



That had as much to do with Hollywood and the music business as it did with working cowboys.



"Western fashion as we know it really came into its own with the movies, the Western movie," Weil said. Before the 1920s, "Western fashion as we know it did not exist."



The look hit its zenith in the 1940s with the fancy outfits of Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, the singing cowboys and movie stars, Reeves said. "The Lone Ranger" and "Hopalong Cassidy" TV Westerns carried the look in the 1950s.



Reeves once saw an original Lone Ranger costume, including stretchy blue tights. "It was, ew-w-w, kind of scary. You looked at the suit and it was kind of like dance class," he said.



But the Lone Ranger's hat, boots and gun belt were enough to convince audiences that he was a cowboy.



"Even though the rest of it had more to do with leotards than what cowboys wore, we said, 'Yeah, that's a cowboy.' We made that cognitive leap," Reeves said.



Rodeo performers in the early 1900s had an underrated influence on the Western look, Reeves said. They started wearing bigger hats and brighter colors to get noticed, and teenagers in the audience began to imitate the style when they dressed up for a dance, if not when they went to work in the saddle.

Text Only
Features
Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA