There was a slight nod toward Western wear recently. It passed through faster than a tumbleweed in a Santa Ana gust, but it attracted a number of people who liked the hats, boots, jeans and colorful shirts that true and faux cowboys wear.
The Western trend has died down, but many people still have the outfits and want to wear them.
That's fine, but if you're going to wear cowboy gear, wear it right. This is especially important when talking about that trademark of Western wear, the cowboy hat.
"The brim should be perpendicular to your forehead," says Norma Gustafson of the Feed Barn in Orange. "Real cowboys just didn't wear their hats tilted back."
For those who missed out on buying a Stetson when they were hot, they're still around. The Stetson is the classic, John Wayne, beaver fur, no-nonsense cowboy hat. But while shopping, you may like some of the more exotic hats, including those made of horse hide, suede or pigskin.
"Hats by manufacturers like Charlie One Horse are geared more toward the fashion-conscious than the true Western aficionado," says clothing designer Brian Mayne of Mission Viejo. "You've got to decide whether you want to look like a true or a stylized cowboy."
One of the key parts to a hat is its band. If the old hat you have hanging on a rack has an elaborate feather band, you may want to replace it with a modern band. "Feathers were in a few years ago, and now they're out of style," says Mayne. "People are now using simpler leather bands or braided horsehair if they want one that stands out."
In the traditional cowboy hat world, the more Xs on the label, the higher the number on the price tag. "The higher number of Xs means that it's been made with a greater percentage of beaver fur," says Gustafson. Beaver hats have that velvety feel and are always in style.
The novel and TV movie "Lonesome Dove" revived a cowboy look that's still popular--the big brim that loops up high.
If you have a white hat, save it for a costume party when you can ride in as the Lone Ranger. Black is in, as are gray and tan. Brown hats should probably be kept inside until earth tones come back.
Although not technically Western, the "outback"-style hat made popular by the Crocodile Dundee movies is acceptable in most country clubs. Again, stay away from feathers.
"Watch one of the old Western movies to get an idea about hats," Mayne says. "Western fashion is back to the classics; leave the glitter alone."