When you and your family are exploring 8,500 acres of wild pastures and mountains on horseback, casting a line in a crystal-clear river, shooting trap, or swapping stories over a bite around the fire – you’ll be so swept-up in the unforgettable magic of your dude ranch vacation… that you might wish you looked the part.
As a dude ranch and guest resort that’s been in operation for over a century, at C Lazy U we know a thing or two about authentic western style. Our wranglers know that looking good and having confidence are big parts of the cowboy & cowgirl lifestyle. Since our staff can teach anyone to ride a horse like a champ (regardless of age or experience), we figured they might be able to teach a lesson or two about authentic cowboy fashion.
Western Style Essentials
Whether they’re rugged, showy, or elegantly understated, you want to make sure that you have a sturdy and comfortable pair of boots for the ranch. We recommend Ariat, Justin, Corral or Old West brands for an inexpensive but reliable set that will treat your feet right. In addition to durable construction, these brands don’t skimp on looks, providing style along with their well-known reliability.
If you’re looking for a boot that you can wear out on the town as well as on the ranch, our fashion-forward wranglers recommend Lucchese and Old Gringo brand boots- both are making a boot with all the elegance and sophistication of a time since passed, antiqued in all the right places, and with leather softer than a newborn calf. These brands pride themselves on their handmade, bespoke, high-quality products, and you’ll be able to take special pride in these boots – though the quality can carry quite the price tag.
Regardless of what brand and style you choose, remember that if you buy a pointed-toe boot you’ll want to go up a half-size for comfort. And no matter what, wear your new boots several times to break them in before bringing them to the ranch – your feet will thank you!
For the hard-working wranglers on the ranch, there’s only one choice for quality jeans… can you guess the name? Wrangler brand lives up to its namesake. Jeans from this industry leader are sturdy, with the classic riveted look and thick denim – perfect for the cowboy or cowgirl that spends long hours in the saddle or out fencing. If you want to saddle yourself up in the most authentic pair of pants possible, you can’t go wrong with a pair of Wranglers – and ladies, don’t worry, Wrangler has options that are as flashy and sassy as they are sturdy.
For those of you looking for a jean that looks and functions as well in the city as on the range, 7 For Mankind, BKE, and Diesel are all fashionable and reliable brands (and seen on our guests quite often).
Related: History of a Dude Ranch
If you’ve taken the time to invest in a pair of good jeans for your ranch stay, the last thing you want is to be caught with your pants down! The best way to keep your britches up during the day – and add a bit more clout to your appearance – is with a classic western-style symbol: a big, shiny belt buckle. There was a time when the only way to earn one of these bad boys was to sit a bull for 8 seconds or have the best ride on a bucking bronc’ that wanted nothing more than to put your face into the dirt… but now the hardest part of getting a buckle is picking which one you like best! Want a touch of C Lazy U to take home? Our store carries a wide array of buckles for you to choose from, ranging from little rounds to serious bling.
If you’re looking for something special prior to your stay, Montana Silver Smiths carries a variety of well-made buckles. You can also stop into Sheplers or Boot Barn and browse for an elegant buckle to accent your western ‘fit.
We’ve saved the best for last. One part of the cowboy look you don’t want to add to your ensemble is a leathery face, and the best way to keep away the sun is with – you guessed it – a classic cowboy hat. There are all different kinds of materials and styles to choose from: palm leaf hats are very popular, owing to their lightweight but sturdy construction; felt hats (once made with beaver fur) are traditional too and can dress up an outfit even when dirty; modern “Nashville country star” styled fashion hats (ala Tim McGraw) have become increasingly popular over the past few decades; and the “telescope” or “gambler” style is popular with fans of Clint Eastwood and classic spaghetti western fans. Consult the chart below for a better idea of all the shapes that you can find hats in, and if you’re feeling adventurous, think about having a hat custom-made. A bespoke hat will last a lifetime and you’ll get exactly what you want. Check out Colorado Hats and Company in Estes Park, Colorado for the real deal!
Seasonal Style and Preparation
Is it your first time coming to the dude ranch? You’ll want to know how to prepare for your trip, as well as how to handle packing for the Summer & Fall or Winter & Spring. Don’t worry, no matter the season, there are plenty of opportunities to flaunt your dude ranch fashion. More importantly, at C Lazy U, you’ll be comfortable and have fun year-round.
Well, what are you waiting for? All that’s left now is for your impeccably well-dressed family to come on out to the ranch. Experience one of the best all-inclusive resort experiences in the world… and look great doing it!