a Man doing rodeo

What to Wear to a Rodeo: Look Stylish & Turn Heads!

Last updated by Yauni Smith on

So, you’re going to a rodeo! A day full of horseback riding, calf roping, barrel racing, and more. As you may know, the distinct feature that ties a rodeo all together is the clothing: we’re talking western wear

Items that come to mind may be a pair of boots or a cowboy hat, but that’s only scratching the surface. You can throw on many more pieces to fully dress on theme! By looking the part, you can better enjoy the immersive, wild west experience a rodeo provides. Plus, how many excuses do you get to dress up like a cowboy or cowgirl?

So, look no further; this guide will tell you everything you need to know about how to stay fashionable yet comfortable in the crowd. So saddle up, and let’s buckle down on some fan-favorite pieces you can wear to convince goers that it's not your first rodeo.

blonde haired girl leaning on horse Trailor with grass as high as her knees in a black tank top that says "wild faith", blue jeans  and her hand tipping down the front of the copper colored Hollywood Cowboy Hat by American Hat Makers

The Classic Cowboy Hat

Whether or not you’re familiar with rodeo culture, you still know an emblem of western fashion is the quintessential cowboy hat. You can definitely count on almost everyone at the rodeo to wear one too. Thus, a trusty cowboy hat is a must-have.

There are still ways to be unique when choosing your hat. Cowboy hats come in a variety of styles differing in the material; they include but are not limited to:

  • Leather
  • Canvas
  • Felt
  • Straw

Style is one priority. However, in terms of functionality, the straw hat presents as a more breathable option, perfect for a hot summer day while a felt hat provides more warmth when it's colder outside. Leather hats are also great as they are sturdy and generally long-lasting when treated with hat care. Other factors to consider are color and brim size. 

Browse American Hat Makers to find the perfect cowboy hat for your next rodeo!

Image on girl in jean jacket wearing an American Hat Makers felt Cattleman hat in color black

Choosing the Right Top

Now, this is the fun part! There are so many different western-esque tops to choose from, which lets you express your individuality while still dressing appropriately.

Ladies, you should definitely play with patterns. Classic prints include gingham, plaid, and paisley. You can also look into solid-colored tops with little embroidered accents for a more minimalist look. If you want to ditch the top and jeans approach altogether, another great option is a fringey or patterned dress, which may offer maximal comfort on hotter rodeo days.

Now, for the gents, the most common tops are either a button-down or a rodeo-themed graphic tee. If you choose the former route, you should keep in mind factors such as fit, pattern, and material. If you’re more a fan of the shirts, you can sport a tee reflecting on-theme phrases like, “saddle up!” or “not my first rodeo.”

image of back of girl wearing a brown fringe jacket, blue jeans and her arms above her head with her hands resting on a brown felt fedora hat from American Hat Makers (Java Hat)

Timeless Jeans

You’re not ready without a pair of blue jeans! Now, let’s talk denim, and determine which style, cut, and fit of jeans is the best for you.

Jeans come in all appearances, shapes, and sizes. Regarding the color, you can opt for a dark or light wash, depending on what you pair with on top. Darker washes help your other pieces pop more while a lighter wash gives off a softer, brighter look.

You also want to find a pant shape that suits yours. Options include the straight leg, the boot-cut, the flare, and more. The perfect style should be consistent with your goals for the rodeo. For ladies, the flare and boot-cut offer a more chic look, but looser-fitting jeans allow room for more movement. For guys, jeans essentially vary by snugness; if you want a pant that hugs you a little more (and shows off your cowboy physique), try skinnier jeans.

Related: Womens Cowboy Hats

girl with brown hair in a horse print shirt and blue jeans peering through a metal post horse arena wearing the Jessy, a navy felt cowboy hat by American Hat Makers

Dress it Up 

So we’ve established what to wear on top and bottom, but we must not forget accessories! Here, you can really get creative. 

Ladies, DO wear jewelry! Spice up your outfit with a statement necklace or a flashy bracelet. Dabble with belts, especially those with a western-inspired silver or brass buckle. Jackets are great too; seek denim or flannel outerwear to elevate your cowgirl aesthetic to the next level. Grab your favorite fringe or leather purse for the cherry on top, and you’re ready to go!

For the gents, the most typical ways to accessorize are also through belts and jackets. If you’re wearing a more plain shirt, then throwing on a denim jacket and an embellished leather belt can dress you up instantly. Moreover, a neckerchief is an excellent add-on too. Luckily, these scarfs come in all different patterns, so pick one that resonates most with your inner cowboy. 

girl with brown hair in a white t-shirt, blue jeans and a red belt, red print scarf and red cowgirl boots with yellow stars wearing the Jessy | a navy felt cowboy hat by American Hat Makers

Statement Boots

The best way to giddy up your look is with a killer pair of cowboy boots. This essential footwear draws inspiration from equestrian attire and is crucial to the average rodeo-goer.

Like cowboy hats, the boots also come in many materials. Some include:

  • Snakeskin
  • Crocodile
  • Lizard
  • Calf

All these styles present differently, so choose the print that’s right for you. Furthermore, the boots also come in different lengths. If you’re wearing a dress, perhaps select a knee-high boot to enhance your top. However, avoid very high heels as they may limit your movement and stray from authenticity.

For the first-time owner, unfortunately, these boots were not made for walking. Make sure to take your cowboy boots for a spin before the big day to break them in. This way, you won't leave with blisters and sores when you put them to the test at the rodeo. 

girl in a American Hat Makers felt Cattleman hat in gunsmoke color, wearing a cream colored dress with rodeo print and knee high brown boots with cream stitching

Ready for the Rodeo!

As you can see, rodeo attire extends past the hat and boots combo. By following this guide, you know exactly what to throw on to be stylish and comfortable ‘til sundown. Keep in mind, though, that while fashion is important, ensure you take proper preventive measures against the heat such as wearing sunscreen and bringing water. Watching rodeo sports can be quite physically taxing.  

Go get 'em, cowgirls and boys! Live out those wild west dreams with your new fashion sense, and throw on an outfit that’ll have everyone around you saying “yeehaw!” 

Looking for authentic, trendy, and durable cowboy hats? Check out American Hat Makers for hats that come in all styles, shapes, and sizes!

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