Ten-gallon hats off to cowboy towns Dallas and Fort Worth
At Wild Bill’s Western Store in Dallas’s historic West End district there are big, bad hats and fringed jerkins for sale and all manner of cowboy boots embellished with stitching and (perhaps) rhinestones; styles come in names such as Laredo Runaway and Mad Dog Goat. A belt buckle embedded with a blinking great turquoise or in the shape of a steer’s head? Look no further.
It’s amusing how often we have wardrobe brainsnaps on our travels, during which we buy distinctive clothing and accessories that speak of a place but when worn anywhere else look like fancy dress. This is particularly true of sarongs, which are de rigueur at tropical resorts but, back home, who can remember one single knot from the special tying session you attended by the pool? Straw beachcomber hats? Perfect in Fiji. Foolish in Frenchs Forest.
In Japan, it seems positively respectful, and always rather fun, to pad around a traditional inn wearing a loose-fitting yukata and flip-flop slippers. This clobber doesn’t always look the part in, say, Melbourne or Mackay, but how irresistible to buy up big, just the same. Friends have returned from European alpine climes with embroidered peasant blouses, dirndls and feathered felt caps and spent many long months hoping for a yodelling night or Bavarian beer fest at their community club or hall. Ditto for saris, salwar kameez and Punjabi suits. Once I bought a floaty dress by Russian expat designer Michoutouchkine in Port Vila, Vanuatu, only to dine at my resort that night in a restaurant that had the identical swirly pink-and-white pattern on its tablecloths. Talk about blending right in.
Texas is the acknowledged home of the hat and chaps of all kinds (and cowgirls, too) wear them, from the meet-and-greet guys and gals at Dallas airport to hotel doormen and taxi drivers. There are not necessarily any cows within cooee, although at the Stock Yards precinct in Fort Worth there are two cattle drives a day (11.30am and 4pm) and many a shop selling western clobber. And you might want to worship at the Cowboy Church where the Sunday Service is at high noon, but let’s presume it’s hats off for that one.
Follow on Instagram: susankurosawa