It doesn't take more than a few clicks through the official Calgary Stampede Photo Archives to see that there have been a few changes to Stampede fashion in the last 103 years. In fact, during the first decade of the event, the only people who wore 'old west' attire, were the cowboys who actaully competed in the rodeo, while the attendees simply wore whatever was in fashion at the time.
Looking around in recent years, it would seem that somewhere around the 100 year mark, things have started to shift back that way.
For those of us who aren't authentic cowboys & girls, it used to be that as Stampede approached, we either dusted off our annual western attire, or, we made our way to the local western store and bought whatever we could wrangle up that made us look the part. It typically involved the cow-folk staples of: a cowboy hat, jeans (chaps optional), a plaid shirt, a western belt and, of course, cowboy boots.
Then, about 10 years ago, country music got a little more rock 'n roll and took its fashion with it. That evolution, coupled with the growing popularity of Bohemian Chic fashion, has influenced our western look to become more about indicidual style than costume.
This year, in addition to those doning the more traditional Stampede attire, we saw the staples like cowboy boots and jeans mixed with felt fedoras, lace dresses, feather & leather jewelery, beaded headbands and suede fringed accesessories.
So if next you aren't up to dusting off the old basics, or rushing out to buy something with pearl snaps, simply browse your wardrobe from the other 355 days of the year and make your Stampede 2016 look one that is all your own.
For the DrumhellerMail.com