Is the Stampede a Style Equalizer?

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Sarah G. Schmidt's home

I was at a corporate event last week to kick off Stampede. While enjoy the bull busting a friend of a friend shared with me that she thought that Stampede was such a fun time for the city. I totally agree. What’s better than sunshine, midway junk food, rides, livestock, and well fitting jeans? Not much.

She went on to share that she thought that during Stampede that no matter where you’re from or what you do, everyone kind of looks the same in western wear. I looked around. Sure there are some that are uber stylish in their Stampede get up. The same as there are folks that are looking haggard (and not Merle Haggard, rest him). But the vast majority look fine in their flannel, denim, hats, and boots.

For days I thought more about why people look fine? For gents, it’s amazing what a well fitting pair of jeans over slick boots will do for the bottom half. Pair that with a flannel shirt that has proper stitching at the shoulders and torso sides it’s no huge revelation that a bit of smart details and stitching go a long way. Feet tucked away in closed toe boots ensures we’re not grossed out by gnarly toes. Finish the look off with a hat that keeps things just a bit mysterious and I think we’re onto something here.

As for the ladies, the theory I’m sticking with is that it’s attractive because it’s actually a put together look. It took time and a touch of effort. Yeeee Hawww! Many go for the free and flow sundress belted at the smallest part of the natural waist. It’s loose most everywhere and nipped at the waist just so. That hourglass silhouette is always going to be pleasing to the eye. Good on you. My other suspicion is for those wearing jeans, it’s a hell of a lot more flattering and appropriate than leggings. For those wearing leggings during Stampede, it’s usually under a dress or skirt - which I don’t mind as a layering piece. It’s when folks try to wear them as pants that really grind my saddle the wrong way.

The play of the fabrics works too. You have a soft cotton or flannel with stiff denim. Cowboy boots and straw or felt hat add different elements of texture too. It’s not all one fabric or texture. It’s multiple. That’s why it works. If you are head to toe in cotton, it’s a bit too casual or “hippie”. Say you’re wearing more formal fabric like a satin blouse, pants, and shoes, it starts to look like a costume. A great outfit has a few different things going on. It’s not necessarily complicated, just layered.

Style aside, part of the joy of Stampede, to me, is that it is a bit of a blissful escape from the everyday without having to leave my city. For 10 crazy days the city welcomes anyone who is game to have a good time and get down. It’s that country meet city hospitality that we became famous for. These days it’s rather rare to have something to celebrate and enjoy just because. That’s what makes me proud to be a part of the community. For those naysayers that say it brings out the worst in some people, I simply retort, “yes, some.” My thinking is that the small fraction people who want to do naughty things are going to do naughty things.

The rest of us are golly gosh darn happy to help host the greatest outdoor show on earth.