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Oct 6, 2010

Cathy Get Your Gun!

Friends, thank you so much for the warm -- some might even say excessive -- welcome you gave Michael yesterday.  We definitely will have him back.

I see Male Pattern Boldness becoming more than a mere sewing blog, but something akin to the ill-fated reality show Britney & Kevin: Chaotic  It's always fun to get the real story behind the celebrity facade, no?  Why not our celebrity facade?

Anyway, you'll be pleased to know that my cold has now moved into the draining stage -- never pleasant, but a sign things are winding down at last.

Now then, readers, how do you feel about Western garb?

It's no secret I'm fond of Western shirts, having just treadled myself one last month.  I've always had a fondness for cowboy kitsch too: Indian jewelry, Sons of the Pioneers songs, cap guns -- that sort of thing.  (I do draw the line at the boots, though, which don't flatter a short man.)

I love how Hollywood used to throw stars like Joan Crawford and Barbara Stanwyck into Westerns (usually when they were on the way down), which often led to over-the-top camp classics like The Furies or Johnny Guitar.  

No one looked as comfortable with a holster on her hip as Joan Crawford.

That's why I was so delighted to find this vintage pattern on Etsy the other day, from 1947.  Shirt, pants AND bolero!

I love that it can go full-out Dale Evans (left) or more in a Katharine Hepburn Philadelphia Story direction (right).  Versatile!

I think Cathy is going to love this look and it will give her a chance to explore the more aggressive side of her personality she's had to suppress in those girly-girl outfits I've been making her wear lately.  There's more than a little Joan Crawford in Cathy...and Broderick Crawford too!

Readers, do you wear Western wear?

Do you consider it politically incorrect, given that most Westerns are about slaughtering native peoples, or liberating as they often put a girl in pants and gave her a rifle?  

Or is it just a fun sporty look?

Do you draw the line at fringe and rhinestones, or are you willing to go full-out Queen of the Rodeo?

Do you think it's a little too much for anyone outside of San Antonio?  Is this strictly an American thing, Euros, Kiwis, Canadians, et al?

Can Cathy pull this off?

Hope so!


  1. I spent a good many of my teenage years in Texas, which means that my definition of Western wear might be different than yours. Boots, Wranglers, big belt buckles, and sleeveless button-down shirts were the western uniform of the day. And I did, as much as I could afford. 'Sides, there's nothing like watching a guy in skin-tight Wranglers walk away from you!

  2. I live in the part of Canada that likes to pretend it's Texas, and, ah... it's not my thing. Though I do keep expecting to be run out of town for not owning cowboy boots. Nothing in particular against the movie genre, either, just not my particular flavour of fantasy. If you must put Cathy in vintage slacks, I'd go with the Katherine Hepburn as opposed to the wild west look... though personally, I think those classic high-waisted ladies' trousers only look good if you've got a classic vintage figure to put into them (whereas I think Cathy is with me in the narrow-hipped boy-figure category).

    That being said, I'm sure my hesitance will be overwhelmed by the legions of fans crowing in excitement---I'm sure it will be a very fun outfit for a fun photo-shoot. :)

  3. I would love to see that pattern embellished Nudie Rodeo Tailor style. Rhinestone roses win my heart!

  4. I think I'm still into the Michael-love, but why not 2 birds with one stone ... new western shirt and jeans for HIM instead of Cathy? Cowboys are sexy, cowGIRLs, not so much. ;-)

    And do you mean cowboy boots with jeans tucked in are a no-go? I think with jeans worn out, they lengthen the leg, and they certainly make you taller with the heel. I never thought you were "short" though. You've always looked just right to me.

  5. Peter, really. Give the boots a chance! I really do believe that cowbo boots are great with the right pants!! Something nice and fitted around the top with a leg that tapers out into a nice bootcut and length to the floor with the boots on can draw a beautiful long line all the way to the point of the toe... giving a taller effect. Like Clinton and Stacy always say to women on "What not to wear" when they try to get women to wear the uber pointy women's shoe!!

    I LOVE western snap shirts!! I have several friends whose chosen dressing style is in line with the rockabilly movement... almost greaser look with a Pomp haircut and inevitably western shirts make their way in there over your basic white tshirt out of a package. I love that depending on what is worn with the shirt it can be dressy or very casual and I intend to make some shirts like this for my significant other (I bought the burda 8471). My pattern isn't exactly "western," but once you have a basic shirt pattern you can design things like yokes and have it be whatever you want!!

    I've been a "lurker" for a while and plan to begin seriously blogging as I am moving into a scary venture of working for my mom in her sewing shop. Scary because we aren't sure we can support both of us, but exciting because it feels like the Etsy "quit your day job to do what you love" stories.

  6. 'Sides, there's nothing like watching a guy in skin-tight Wranglers walk away from you!

    I couldn't agree more!

    I like the shirts as long as they aren't too gaudy, I think the one you made is perfect! The boots are my favorite because they're super comfortable and can be really obnoxious and still look good since most of them are under your jeans. Besides, I just love shoes. I like the jewelry too in moderation. In my opinion a little goes a long way with western wear.

    I'm looking forward to see what you have in mind for Cathy though!

  7. I live in New Mexico, so of course I wear cowboy boots, jeans and silver. However, I like my version of Western wear to be a bit subversive--Western with a side of bohemian perhaps?

  8. I love western shirts with fancy yokes and pearl buttons. But having just spent six years in southern New Mexico, I'm wary of Southwestern jewelry, which often reminds me of tourist-y gift shops.

    I'd LOVE to wear a couple of low-slung belts, though... and I DO have a buckle with a steer's head on it. I'll wear it today in Cathy's honor.

  9. I'm from Kentucky, you know that state that the Midwest doesn't want, and Southerners say isn't really 'the South'. So yes personally I avoid outfits that make me look more 'rural'. (Western Shirts, faded Levi's, bolero ties) I'm not against them, and I certainly don't consider it politically incorrect, I just wouldn't ever wear it.
    High-waisted trousers is a fine line to walk for a lady. Just make sure you hit your NATURAL waist and avoid the 'mom jean' look.

  10. I live in New Mexico but am from the east coast. I like western wear mixed with classic pieces. Give the boots a chance! They're a lot of fun with pencil skirts.

  11. This is probably going to piss some of you off, but I really, really, really detest Western Wear. It looks silly and cartoonish to me.
    I did have a pair of cowboy boots (back in the day) and I loved them because they were very comfortable.
    My disdain for the cowboy look is almost as intense my disdain for CW music. Excluding the Dixie Chicks, of course.
    Please don't anyone take this personal. It's just my opinion. If you like it, wear it proudly. While I don't like it for myself, I don't snicker behind the backs of the many Rodeo Queen Western Wearers that I see in Nebraska.

  12. I ADORE Western wear. Cowgirl is my summertime alter ego! And I think Cathy will look smashing in this ensemble. Plus I'm a fool for a good bolero.

  13. yippy ti yi yay!! Can't wait to see this. You'll have to find a great hat though.

  14. Being a California girl, western wear is second only to beach wear in my heart. There were good and bad cowboys, after all. And I also love cowboy boots - short guys can wear them! You wear the jeans over the boot. That's why they call them "boot cut."

  15. Listen to some Riders in the Sky to get in the right mood, and then go for it!

    I prefer the more subtle Western-inspired options. Pearly buttons are my favorite!

  16. Thumbs up to Western Wear! Boots! Jeans! Smile pockets! Piping! Western Shirts! (Remember my jacket from last February?) Yippee Ti Yi Yay, Indeed!

  17. In Australia we have R. M. Williams. Think BIG HORNS. I'm sure you will enjoy their latest catalogue, because I have been ....

  18. yeeeeessssss. So looking forward to this one!

  19. I love the look of the older Western shirts with the contrast binding on the shirt pockets and all that embroidery. Rhinestones and fringe just don't cut it with me. Wear it: never. For one, I look fall down laughing silly in Western gear; for two, I'm in eastern Canada where wearing Western gear can be taken to be a political statement.

    You have the rangy build to look great in this whichever way you make it up. Tough choice: more casual everyone else or Hepburn with the precise tailoring, great fabrics and wonderful leather goods they always put her in.

  20. Rangy! Oh, if only that were so. I don't think you can be rangy at 5'7" however.

    "San Antonio Sue" sounds like a song Roy Rogers might have sung. LOL

  21. If my boobs were not so big, I'd western wear all the time. I prefer men's western wear to women's, so my boobs tend to bust out of the shirts. I blame breast feeding.

  22. Joan Crawford looks like she could have been a man earlier in her life....

  23. I live "Out West", in a metro area, but probably less than an hour from real cowboys, and I have red hair and freckles. In high school my best friend was the Little Britches Rodeo Queen (I am not kidding). I am rather terrified of having the wrong assumptions made about me (Unlike my BFF, I'm in no way a cowgirl), so I don't really do full-on western wear. I don't do western accessories at all (pearl snaps excepted) - I have never owned cowboy boots and probably never will. I DO like the color brown, corduroy, calico floral prints, suede, and denim (but no all-over denim, regardless of the trends). It's a fine line, and I'm the only one who knows when I've crossed it. :)

    I also don't really go for cowboys (with the exception of a nice treadled shirt) - I don't like the cut of Wranglers on a man at all! Give me some Levis 501s, or better yet, a well-tailored suit.

    But a good western look in NYC? That's just about perfect. Cathy will look so fiesty!

  24. Haven't worn Western wear since I made matching Western shirts for my then-boyfriend and me in 1975. Still have the patterns! Not sure I want to revisit them, though ...

  25. Wow -- Australians have "Western" wear too.

    And even weirder: their seasons are all backwards!

  26. As an Australian in Italy, home of the spaghetti western, I have a very muddled sense of western reality. But I do love a cuban heel boot, theres something in the way it makes you walk.
    If Cathy's going to make it work, I think success is in the sneer.

  27. Peter you made me laugh. Joan Crawford would be scary in that first still even without the gun.
    Re Cathy I think she's game to try anything.
    Re western clothing I think the all out style is great on people who sing for a living..but I'll tell a secret here - I'd wear western style boots if they didn't look silly on me.

  28. I love my cowboy boots. I wear them with my harem pants. You should give it a try!

    I think Cathy will look fabulous in western wear. Can't wait to see your fabric picks.

  29. Hi, Peter,

    Western shirts, cowboy boots??? Whatever floats your boat, mate. My opinion... All that Western gear is in the same category as flamenco dresses. OK in the right place at the right time. However, as I neither live in Seville or Texas, I wouldn't wear either. I did once try on a flamenco dress and it gave me the waist I've never had, so it could also look gorgeous on Cathy's boyish figure. Now there's a project for you. After the wool suit for Michael, perhaps. Hehehe! Gaviota from Alicante

  30. I am a child of the suburbs, and I've never worn western wear, except for jeans, or worn cowboy boots which look like they would pinch my toes terrible!

    If you are not feeling the boots, don't wear them. But if they speak to you, then I don't think your height should hold you back. I've been around Texans, and believe me, short guys wear boots. But if you aren't feeling it for the boots, wearing them will make you feel foolish, as if you were in costume.

  31. You know, contrary to what people might assume, a short person looks awful with a higher heel, imo -- especially a guy. The proportion is off; it's just too much shoe. I suppose a short guy who has perfect tall-guy proportions could make it work, but I've yet to see one.

    Same goes for those big Western hats -- or any big hats. Small people have to keep things proportionate.

  32. I love western gear, but given that I live in the country with real cows and cowboys, I tend to give it a miss. I love a bolo tie and big jewellery especially.

  33. Maybe Cathy needs a guest post. She can tell us what she thinks about your design ideas.

  34. If you're considering the boots but don't want the heel then go for Ropers, they have a lower, squared off heel and look less "cowboy". I happen to know a vertically challenged man who looks darn sexy in his jeans and ropers.

  35. Peter, a second to the boots issue. There's something empowering about wearing them. I myself, have a red pair of cowboy boots and they are awesome. They make feel tall, and when I wore them to work, the guys were all appreciative. There's something about the way you have to walk in them....

  36. I live in cowboy country. Western wear is everywhere,even in my own house, my husband wears it. I see nothing politically incorrect about it at all.In my state there are more cows than people. I don't wear western wear it but if I did I like a more bohemian twist to it. I do have a really nice pair of boots though. There is something to be said about a man in wranglers and a pair of boots. Some sort of western boot is needed though.

  37. Well cowboy, I hafta say that yore Ten Gallon Hat is appropriate fer all occasions, 'cept take it off inside or Pa might tan yore hide. If you've got the know-how, get that lil' cowgirl Cathy all gussied up fer the rodeo like she should be. Them boots is good fer year round. See ya at the Hoe-down!

  38. Like Bratling, I grew up in the southwest US. I was exposed to more than my fair share of turquoise jewelry and scorpion-in-lucite belt buckles in my youth, and I have no desire to revisit that style, thankyouverymuch. Which is good, because western wear looks very out of place here in the land of Leon Leonwood Bean.

    But, hey, knock yourself out if that's how you want to roll... :-)

  39. I live in the Netherlands. Although we have the occasional western inspired fashion fad around here (the boots and jeans usually, pearly button shirts where last seen in the early 90's) 'real' western wear, if I understand it from the describtions here is something that's strictly for dress-up parties here. If you're into line- or square dancing.

    I don't want to offend anyone, and I guess one of the earlier commenters was right about it looking right in the right place, but to me, it's just some form of Americana kitsch (and one I would consider somewhat politically incorrect).

  40. Ref Australia, USA, and cowboys... Read Neville Shute's 'The Black Stump' for some interesting perspectives!

  41. As a native Texan, and in spite of being a (mostly) non-western attire wearer, I must speak up in response to the categorical denunciation of all western wear from a few writers. While a good bit of the most cheap and common bits of western wear may not be appealing on many, that much I agree. However, it seems to me that only an uninformed person would so broadly denounce an entire range of style so easily. It is much like, if I were to say- "I detest haute couture" or "I hate modern design" some other overly broad category within which there are certainly an exception or two. It simply depends on the speakers access to the full spectrum of the range.

    There is such variety in the styles and quality of western wear that most can find or create a flattering look. But that does depend on having sufficient access to quality and even modern stylish versions of western wear.

    Smaller folks, just like everyone else, need to have thier western hats custom blocked and trimmed after receiving professional advice on exactly the right shape and color selection. The shape of the crown is determined by the wearers jawline, and the brim width is determined by the wearers height and overall proportions.

    Even Glamorous Dame Cathy Could make an entrance at the barbecue or circle the dance floor in a western waltz wearing some carefully chosen selections. Here is a line of some of my favorite western boots that are available ready made and online. Most that I know who are very style conscious have thier boots custom made, but that is not always practical.

    Here is another website for consideration:
    This is not at all the most sophisticated western wear on the market, it is only what I could find online for an example at this moment. Most of the better shops don't seem to show their wares online, it seems.
    The western style is not the problem in flattering, it is the price point at which one shops. Quality sophisticated western wear is quite expensive, but it is available.


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