Contrary to what bro-country songs would have us believe, Texas girls don't always run around in cut-off jeans and bikini tops, or even in flouncy cotton dresses paired with cowboy boots. And that suits us just fine—until Rodeo Houston rolls around.
"Will I be shunned if I show up without boots on?" asked my Vermonter co-worker. First of all, no. Shunning people for wearing the wrong shoes is something they only do in Dallas, and as locals know you see all types at the Rodeo, wearing whatever they want. That's part of the fun.
On the other hand, there's no better time and place to indulge your inner cowgirl—but that doesn't mean your rodeo outfit has to feel like a cornpone country costume. Think of it as being yourself, with just a hint of Texas twang courtesy these styles that will fit right in your closet.
I know, I know, I just said you don't have to wear boots. But you can! Throwing on a pair of them makes any outfit more Texan. Just look at Kam Franklin of The Suffers, who performs in boots and glam dresses. If you don't want to make a big investment in a pair, you can search for a broken-in version at Texas Junk Co., My Flaming Heart or any thrift store, although there's going to be a lot of competition for them right now. If you just can't get on board with cowboy boots, a pair of moto boots will work too, as will equestrian boots—basically any pair designed for going out and getting dirty.
Denim on Denim
This look is so hot right now that not even Ted Cruz wearing double denim can shake its style cred. And it's so easy. Take your jeans. Add a denim or chambray shirt. There, you're done. For best results, pick items that are close to the same color, but not exactly matching.
If your look falls in the indie/definitely-not-a-hipster area, consider adding a 1950s-style embroidered Western shirt to your wardrobe—it will go perfectly with your skinny jeans and Buddy Holly glasses. Lucchese in Highland Village has some nice ones for women, or guys can splurge on the legit vintage versions from L'Equipe.
A modern take on Native American textiles is currently driving a Southwestern style renaissance in both fashion and home decór. If you need another reason to embrace ponchos (you don't), we humbly suggest this colorful version from Forever 21, or this slouchy take by Free People. You'll be stylish, comfortable and warm all day long.
Flannels and Fringe
Western-inspired textures and patterns—buffalo checks, slouchy plaid flannels, nubby suedes and particularly bold fringe have been mainstream fashion trends for at least a year, and if the spring collections from Rebecca Minkoff, Ralph Lauren and Alexander Wang are any indication, the look is not going anywhere anytime soon. Think Lauren Bush Lauren bringing prairie glamour to Vogue.
Add Some Turquoise
Going straight from the office to the rodeo? The most sophisticated black sheath dress suddenly gets a little Texan when topped with this classic Southwestern stone, particularly if it's paired with silver. If you don't own any, the selection at J. Landa can't be beat.