Giddy Up In Style: What to Wear to a Rodeo

horse riding

There is loud cheering in the arena as you make your way to the stands, dust kicks up beneath your feet with each step you take, and a golden light is in the air from the sun that illuminates the anticipation apparent in everyone’s faces. You watch cowboy hats turn left to right in unison as the crowd’s eyes follow along with the action in the arena. Your heart starts beating faster, almost as fast as your heart would beat if you were the one on the horse. You crane your neck to see through the metal bars, holding your breath until the cowboy successfully throws his lasso and it lands exactly perfect. At just that moment, the crowd erupts in cheers and hollers as everyone jumps to their feet in excitement. You let go of your breath, but your heart is still beating fast—as it probably will for the rest of the day and well into the evening. Rodeos are anything but calm; but you knew that, and that’s exactly why you came. 

Summer is the season of making magical memories in the bright and warm outside world, and rodeos are one of those many joys. Some people can’t remember their first rodeo because they’ve grown up going to watch arenas full of horses and bulls for as long as they can remember. However, many other people attend their first rodeo later in life once they move to an area that is embedded with such a rich tradition. If this is your first rodeo, you probably have many, many questions. What are the rules that govern this exciting sport? Is it really even possible at all for a person to stay on a bucking bull without getting seriously injured? And what do I wear to a rodeo? 

While there are many questions that are better answered by simply going to a rodeo to see and learn for yourself, we can help you with one of those questions: What to wear to a rodeo? If you’re anything like us, you’ll want to be perfectly prepared and carefully dressed for the scene you are about to enter. We all know that being dressed correctly for an occasion is one of the best ways to feel prepared, ease the stress, and feel like you belong—even if this is your first rodeo!

Keep reading to learn what to wear to a rodeo, and some tips for keeping things fresh and exciting!

And to find a rodeo near you, check out Rodeos USA!

What to Wear to a Rodeo: Cowboy Hat (must-have)

A cowboy hat is one element of your rodeo outfit that you don’t want to skip! If you’ve ever thought a classic cowboy hat wasn’t right for you, rest assured that there are many cowboy hats out there that we would classify as much more than your classic, expected cowboy hat. 

Cowboy hats come in a variety of textiles, including felt, leather, straw, and canvas. Cowboy hats also come in a variety of brim lengths, which can have a huge effect on the overall look. In addition, cowboy hats are available in a huge array of colors—you might immediately think of light tan, brown, or black, but the reality is you can probably find a cowboy hat in just about any color imaginable! If you want to dress up your hat a little more, look for one with a cute trim around the base of the brim—ribbon, twine, leather cord, or a belted look all can add the perfect touch, depending on what you’re going for! 

straw cowgirl hat

Our Lack of Color THE DESERT COWBOY is the perfect straw cowboy hat, featuring a fun woven design!

what to wear to a rodeo

If felted wool is more your vibe for a rodeo hat, our Lack of Color Ivory Rancher Hat is the perfect hat for you! The golden ribbon bow detailing will give your rodeo outfit a classy distinction. 

When it Comes to Tops, Skip the Delicacies

Delicate fabrics such as silk, satin, and chiffon-esque weavings are beautiful and lovely, but they are best left at home in your closet if you’re planning an outfit to wear to a rodeo. You’ll definitely want to wear something lightweight and airy, especially if you’re attending a rodeo during the peak of summer heat, but fabric can be both light and durable. Cotton, linen, or light-weight denim is typically the way to go. If the rest of your outfit is bright and flashy you might opt for a simple, solid colored shirt, but if you want your top to make a solid rodeo statement then we would recommend going with a pattern such as plaid or gingham. 

Jackets are also important pieces in a rodeo wardrobe; even if the day is hot, rodeos often continue into the night when the temperature can start to drop. Make sure you’re prepared for whatever weather the day or night will bring, and choose a jacket that will keep the cold away while also adding to your overall look!

What to Wear to a Rodeo: Fringe, Fringe, and More Fringe!

If you’ve ever looked through the carefully curated selection of clothing we offer here at Nouveau and Vintage, you most likely already know that we are HUGE fans of fringe! Luckily, rodeos are the perfect place for you to rock as much fringe as you want.

While classic rodeo fringe usually looks like leather fringe on leather jackets, you should feel free to incorporate fringe in any way you want.

rodeo jacket

Our Riviera Jacket in Gold Squares would add the perfect amount of fringe to your ensemble, as well as a beautiful dose of glitter and sparkle!

What to Wear to a Rodeo: Finding the Perfect Pair of Boots

Like cowboy hats, cowboy boots are another hallmark of a classic rodeo outfit. Cowboy boots come in a variety of materials: crocodile, lizard, goat, alligator, calf, caiman, snakeskin, and classic leather. While some cowboy boots can have pretty high heels, those are better saved for more fashionable events. At a rodeo, lower, more sturdy looking heels are the norm and will keep you comfortable throughout the entire day of cheering on the events taking place in the arena. 

Don’t let that worry you though—even with lower heels, cowboy boots can still be incredibly fashionable! In addition to the large variety of materials to choose from, cowboy boots can be found in practically any color. Baby blue? Yes. Fuschia? Absolutely. White with black and gold stitching? Of course! And color isn’t the only thing to choose from; cowboy boots usually have intricate stitching patterns that make each pair truly unique, and the shape of the boot can have a huge impact on the style as well.

When choosing the perfect pair of cowboy boots to wear to a rodeo, consider what else you’re already planning on wearing. What color is your hat? Are you wearing full length jeans or a miniskirt? Questions such as these can help you decide on the perfect color, height, and overall look for your cowboy boots.

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