The Best of Western Wear for 2015

WW_Lakota-Chief-Black-Bird -by-Fred-CumminsJohn B. Stetson set up shop in 1865 in Philadelphia and began selling his “Boss of the Plains” Stetson hat he had invented while living out West, recovering from tuberculosis. Stetson’s American cowboy hat is among the iconic brands that define Western wear—

Read more:

The Hat Rules

/John-Wanye-Hondo_Calvary-HatThe right hat can make all the difference in a Western. Just think back to Robert Duvall’s pheasant-taking-over-his-head job he wore in 1972’s Joe Kidd versus the hat he wore in the 1989 Lonesome Dove miniseries. Case closed.

Read more:

A Rustler’s Roughouts

roughout-traditional-boot-for-menIn rock ’n’ roll’s first across-the-charts hit, written on a paper bag in 1955 by Carl Perkins, the singer admonishes his dance partner not to step on his precious blue suede shoes. Sueded leather, whether it be blue, black or brown, is commonly made from split cowhide and is relatively fragile; it scuffs easily.

Read more:

The Best of Western Wear for 2014

When pioneers headed West, they had to adapt their clothing to the new unchartered environs they found themselves in. They also picked up new designs, noticed in some natives’ beaded and buckskin garments.

Read more:

On Wild Bunch Time

wild-bunch-photo_montana-silversmith-pocket-watcThe infamous Wild Bunch made a trip to Fort Worth, Texas, in November 1900 to attend the wedding of gang member Will Carver to Callie May Hunt, one of Madam Fannie Porter’s girls from San Antonio.

Read more:

The Shirt of a Condemned Man

tom-horn_steve-mcqueenThe hanging of Tom Horn on November 20, 1903, marked the end of the Old West, a place and an era ultimately strangled by railroads, telegraph wires, fences and other newfangled trappings of a new century that included the mechanical gallows tripped by Horn’s own weight, the ultimate expression of the yet-to-be-coined term “self-service.”

Read more:

The Tucked-In Rangers

Texas-rangers-cuffs-tucking-pants-vs-stacking-pantsDuring the Canadian River Campaign of 1858, Texas Ranger Capt. John “Rip” Ford wore his striped trousers tucked into heavy-top boots. In the most widely-circulated Texas Ranger photo in history, Company D Rangers posed with their tucked-in boots while on assignment to protect a silver mine in 1890.

Read more:

The Vanity Plates of Footwear

roy-rogers_justin-bootsIf a picture is worth a thousand words, a picture and an 80-word description were still inadequate for style number 3542, one of Justin Boot Co.’s “handsomest” boots, according to a 1939 catalog.

Read more:

Western Wear of 2012

best-of-western-fashion_paul-bond_true-west-magazine.After Buck Brannaman got his deserving tribute in the award-winning Buck feature documentary last year, we all thought that Paul Bond should be next on the list.

Read more:

Vested Interest

/western-fashion-vests_texas-rangers-styleMustaches, hats, boots and vests became sartorial staples among males in the American West during the 1800s. Case in point is the accompanying photograph showing members of Company F of the Texas Ranger’s Frontier Battalion.

Read more:

Let’s Rodeo


Wild West shows and frontier rodeos are largely responsible for the distinctive styling and flare seen on cowboy shirts today.

Read more:

Great Movie (and TV) Hats

lone-ranger-and-movie-hat-johnny deppDespite the television show’s invitation to return to “those thrilling days of yesteryear,” The Lone Ranger of the 1950s depicted times, places and things as they never were.

Read more:

Dreamin’ of Being a Cowboy

fashion_vintage-cowboy-western-wearWe all need heroes. We need champions whose deeds and accomplishments thrill, inspire and teach. For much of the 20th century, the cowboy was the archetypal American hero. Strong. Brave. Self-reliant. Virtuous. Several generations of Americans grew up wanting to be like their cowboy heroes. We started by dressing just like them.

Read more:

The Tombstone Legacy

red-shash-gang-tombstoneOn Wyatt Earp’s arrival in Tombstone in the 1993 movie Tombstone, the preening and corrupt Cochise County Sheriff Johnny Behan bragged about the town’s fashionable citizens. Behan personified the duplicitous nature of the silver-mining boomtown: well-dressed, but of dubious virtue.

Read more:

Life-Saving Buffalo Robes

buffalo-hide_robes_coats_soldiersMeriwether Lewis and William Clark’s Corps of Discovery passed the first winter of their epic 1804-06 expedition on the northern banks of the Missouri River in what is now North Dakota.

Read more:

This is a Hold Up

Frank-James_authentic-Ghomley HolstersThe jaundiced characterization of a dandified, belt-wearing, young riverboat hand is vintage Mark Twain—and a puzzle. After all, men seldom wore belts to hold up their pants in the 1800s. Belt loops were even rare on pants until the 1920s!

Read more:

A Tribute to Paul Bond

paul-bond_western-boot-maker_rodeo_photo.Renowned bootmaker Paul Bond passed away in February. He was just 96 years old. He was “just 96” because, by all accounts, his youthful vigor belied his advanced years. Right up to the end of his life, Bond frequented the bootmaking shop he established in 1955 in Nogales, Arizona, to design boots and talk to his customers.

Read more:

Custer’s Dash


Courageous. Brilliant. Foolhardy. Ambitious. Insubordinate. Aloof. Flamboyant. Vainglorious. These are all terms used by contemporaries and historians to describe Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer.

Read more:

Rodeo Ben’s Jeans

western_wrangle-jeans_rodeo-ben_Western wear as a separate apparel category got its start in the 1940s after WWII ended. Rockmount Ranch Wear, Westmoor (Panhandle Slim), Miller and Karman (Roper) initially catered to ranchers, farmers, cowboys and tourists living in or visiting the American West.

Read more:

The Mexican Hat Dance

charlie-one-horse-stetson_fancy-loops-gus-plume-hatThe elegant Californio gentleman shown in the accompanying photo may or may not have ever danced on his hat, as the fellow did in Allan Sherman’s 1963 parody “Mexican Hat Dance” (or “Jarabe Tapatío”). Resplendent in his white suit, complete with pinned cravat, watch fob and pearl-handled pistol, he wears a pristine straw sombrero charro that has obviously never been stomped.

Read more:

The Legacy of the Ranger Belt


The desperate clash between 14 Texas Rangers led by John Coffee Hays and 70 or more Comanches in the Texas Hill Country in June 1844 left 23 Comanches dead on the ground—including their chief, Yellow Wolf—and another 30 wounded.

Read more:

True Westerners

Rick Wallner

Rick Wallner

The best book on Bent’s Fort is David Lavender’s Bent’s Fort , although Mark Lee G...

Justice for Jack

Justice for Jack

Pioneer Jack Swilling should be remembered for his many contributions to Arizona...

Liberty, Not Death

Liberty, Not Death

Children soothed their thirst by scraping their fingernails on barrack windows t...

MAY 2015

True West Magazine Issue May 2015
Buy This Back Issue: May 2015

JUNE 2015

True West Magazine Issue June 2015
Buy This Back Issue: June 2015

JULY 2015

True West Magazine Issue July 2015
Buy This Back Issue: July 2015


True West Magazine Issue August 2015
Buy This Back Issue: August 2015


True West Magazine Issue September 2015
Buy This Back Issue: September 2015

True West Site Guide


True West captures the spirit of the American West with authenticity, personality and humor by linking our history to our present. Whether you call it the Wild West, the Old West or the Far West, America's frontier history comes to life in True West, the world's oldest, continuously published Western Americana magazine.

Western movie fans, re-enactors, history buffs and road warriors, we got your history covered: outlaw, cowboy, Indian, lawman, gunfighter, fur trapper, miner, prospector, gambler, soldier, entertainer and pioneer. Check out these True Westerners now!

Product of the Month

The Illustrated Life and Times of Wyatt Earp

Wyatt Earp

"Your book is fascinating, coupling your powerful illustrations [and] tracking...from birth to Tombstone to the legend [Wyatt] had become;...even Wyatt would approve." --By Hugh O'Brian, of the TV series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp

"Hands down the definitive books on Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday." --By Allen Barra, New York Newsday