"Go west, young man, and grow up with your country."
This now-famous catchphrase has been attributed to Horace Greeley, who encouraged young men to experience westward expansion. Many of these young men took jobs as cowboys or became miners, which are both archetypes of the American West.
So, when we think of kids' western wear, we think of these two types of western settlers. Nowadays, being a cowboy or cowgirl is more of a fashion statement, though some use their ensembles for practical use such as riding in a rodeo.
If you're ready to deck out your little one in their first western gear, then read on for some essentials of the look.
Denim, Denim, and More Denim
A denim jacket and denim pants may be referred to as the "Canadian tuxedo," but a real cowboy or cowgirl can't have enough of it.
While many people think that the miners of the 1848-1849 California Gold Rush created the modern jean, this would be incorrect. Instead, the jeans were actually created in Genoa, Italy. They were worn by sailors, the origin of the word is thought to be from Genoa.
Sailors may have originated the look, but denim originally hailed from Nimes, a small town in southern France.
So how did denim come to be associated with the old west? That's where the Gold Rush miners come in. Levi Strauss began mimicking the material from Nimes with cotton from southern plantations. He is credited with patenting the idea of putting rivets in denim pants, giving birth to the modern incarnation of the jean.
Levi began selling his pants in large quantities cheaply in San Francisco, and thus, they became a western fashion trend.
Jeans can serve as the basis for any type of western outfit. Whether you choose a jean top or jean bottoms, you'll definitely be authentic to the look.
Your daughter can even wear decorated jeans, with rhinestones on the pockets, for a feminine take on the 19th century-born fashion.
A cowboy (or cowgirl) is nothing without his or her boots!
Cowboy boots may have seen out the 20th century as a fashion statement, but they were created for the ultimate in function. First worn by the Spanish who herded cows through Texas, they're the epitome of practicality becoming fashionable.
The cowboy boots, created out of leather to ensure they were hardy and didn't snag, are essential for both form and function. The heel ensures that a cowboy (or cowgirl) doesn't get his or her foot caught in the stirrup. Wearing a shoe without a heel when riding a horse can be dangerous, as the rider's foot can go all the way through the stirrup and the horse can take off, dragging the rider behind.
The heels of the boots, even for little ones, are made for function over form. But nowadays, and you can use them for a little bit of fun and making some great noises when they go square or line dancing.
These boots are also laceless to ensure that the cowboy doesn't accidentally pull on them during work.
Nowadays, your little one doesn't have to only choose the most basic of cowboy boots: they come in all colors, even bright pink. So now, your little cowpoke can show off their personality and still ride with them.
You can also choose more than one pair for your child, keeping one for riding and one for things like dancing or just to be fashionable.
Along with the denim staple and cowboy (or cowgirl) boots, nothing is quite as necessary for a cowhand in the west as a practical cap or hat.
A cowboy hat is sometimes known as a Stetson, which is the first company to pioneer the fashion statement. And while a cowboy hat can finish off the look, your little one can still look authentic and complete their chores on the farm with a baseball cap.
Stetson created them for the same purpose: to keep the sun off of the cowboy's face. A baseball cap does the exact same thing, though you may wish to add some protection to the little cowboy's neck. This may include adding some sunscreen or ensuring that he or she wears a scarf around his or her neck.
Western shirts have come in and out of fashion, but we're certain they were also made for function. Nowadays, they come with fun designs that you can wear when riding or working, or simply going to school or participating in afterschool activities.
A cowboy needed to protect his or her body from the sun, which is why western shirts are long-sleeved. While they were mostly on their horses, busy cowboys and cowgirls still needed to ensure they protected their skin from the elements.
A cowboy wore a lighter western shirt in the summer to absorb the sweat and keep his or her skin cool and covered. In the winter, they would often wear a flannel western shirt to keep warm as they braved the colder temperatures of parts of the west like Nebraska or Minnesota.
Dressed to the Nines in Kids' Western Wear
Kids' western wear is a great way for your little one to express his or her love of all things cowboy or cowgirl. The clothing is practical enough to wear when riding or going to a rodeo, but stylish enough for your child to wear in their everyday life.
Visit our website for a huge selection of western wear for kids of all ages.