Stampede: Fashion advice for the not-so western
Many Calgarians loathe being defined by cowboys, the Stampede and the Wild West, but it’s hard to avoid that identity every July when the Stampede rolls into town once again. It’s become workplace tradition to wear Western-style clothing for the 10 days and while there are many who embrace this tradition, there are many that detest it.
Whether you love or you hate it there are ways to get through the days of Stampede without looking like a total poser or buying clothes you only wear once a year.
A good rule of thumb is: if you’re not actually a cowboy, don’t try to look like one. Avoid the big belt buckles, lasso ties, expensive hat and boots. Those who know you, know very well that this isn’t really you, and those that don’t know you can tell you’re faking it.
Another good rule, especially when it comes to workplace dress code: If you would wear it to Cowboys, Ranchmans or the Roadhouse, don’t wear it to work. If it doesn’t fly when it’s not Stampede, it likely it won’t fly now.
For both guys and gals, accessories are key. Spend your cash on pins, broaches, earrings, ties and belts. Pairing these with jeans and a nice shirt will immediately turn your outfit into a Stampede one.
I stopped into Worth on 17th Avenue to speak with owner and stylist Carl Abad for his tips. “One western wear item per outfit,” he counseled. If you
want to wear boots but doubt that you’ll rock the cowboy ones all year, think about buying jackboots, motorcycle style boots or ones with a low heel. Pair with denim and another small western accessory and you’ll have an outfit for Stampede and boots you can wear year round.
Local artist and designer Tiffany Wollman has reworked old men’s western shirts into cute dresses for girls. I stopped by the Gallery next to Worth to try on a few of Wollman’s dresses and see how I can make them work for the week.
You can pair any of the Estelle dresses with jeans to make them work appropriate. After work you can remove the jeans to withstand the July heat and rock the dresses whether your braving the crowds of Nashville North or planting yourself at a watering hole far from the Stampede craziness.
If accessories aren’t for you, hit up Value Village, Junk Star Vintage, Divine or any second-hand store for a cheap western shirts to get you through the ten days.
Special thanks to Carl Abad from Worth (119, 1013 -17 Avenue SW), Aaron Ellard and Leo Casuga Jr. from The Gallery (113, 1013 – 17 Avenue SW) and Tung Vo from Songkla (11, 718 17 Avenue SW).