REPUTATIONNothing’s more amusing to an old cowgirl than a line dance, especially at an Elk’s Lodge at rodeo time. There I was, holding up the bar with the best of ’em, eyeing a roomful of cowpokes. Most were hell-bent on catching a girl long enough to grab a slow dance, milling around like a wild herd if I ever saw one.

What I noticed then was how much the same all the men looked. Boots, jeans, a belt with a big buckle and a hat—usually black and checked at the door—which is apparently the uniform of success, whether you’re a weekend cowboy or the real deal. Aside from the obvious benefit—success by association—it seemed to me that every man there stood the same chance, more or less. Once up close, age and gut-size inevitably made the cut.

Study old photos from the early days and most cowboys look different from today. Back then, they wore wool pants inside the boot, full leather chaps or shaggy woolies, vests, neckerchiefs and banded collar shirts. But the point is, they all looked the same then too!  Safety in numbers. But, with good herd management, they have evolved to new strength. Truth is, it took almost a hundred years, the silver screen and the Wrangler NFR to develop the work-wear chic that seems to be the cowboy look of today.

Now, less is more. Most cool dudes wouldn’t be caught dead in loud patterns these days, or worse, those Aztec prints of a few years back. Solid colors or vintage shirts worn out, over a T-shirt, is what’s in now. It’s L.A. rocker style—as if no one can tell if you’re getting dressed or undressed.

“I can tell by your outfit” is the rule. So? All I know is there isn’t a man alive who doesn’t look taller, leaner and sexier in a good fitting pair of jeans than in anything else money can buy. Add a nice boot and the mysterious shadow of a well-made hat, and there’s one heck of a look you can call “dressed for success.”

Don’t ask me, or a million other women why, it just works, whether you ride broncs for a living or not.

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