Woman of the West

Anyone who knows me, knows I cannot leave the house without having on a styled outfit, no matter what the occasion or circumstance may be.

Whether it be tossing on work clothes to go outside or headed into the city for a night out; western fashion has become a great outlet for me to showcase how style can also be tied into everyday practicality.

Living on the ranch, I have learnt very quickly that there is a lot of ‘get up and go’ around here; meaning, I do not have time to be getting accessorized and dolled up to do everyday tasks and chores. This factor ultimately shifted my mindset into incorporating practical workwear that could be thrown on-the-fly, which serves it’s purpose to keep me warm, yet fashionable to my standards.

I remember the very first time I had gone out to do chores with my boyfriend. It was bone-chilling temperatures in the height of winter. I had come very unprepared, having only my Twisted X Driving Mocs for ‘work shoes’, and a light jacket that had no intentions of keeping me warm against the below zero December cold.

I remember being very out of my element, and my boyfriend, Marvin, gave a little chuckle as he stood at the door ready to go to work, equipped in his muck boots, winter coat, gloves, and wild rag; as I stood in the front entryway looking like hotdog at a hamburger party. Shortly after this somewhat humorous realization, Marvin got me into some warmer outerwear (which included his oversized snowmobiling jacket that made me look like I was swimming in it), and that was when I realized that my clothing options needed to be broader if I wanted to be involved in daily chores.

A staple item that every working farm girl needs is a Carhartt work coat. These jackets are made for the working woman, with durability and warmth for Alberta weather. I find myself throwing on my Carhartt jacket almost every time I am going outside to do work year-round. If you are in search for one, I recommend checking out your local western shops first. My favourite places to find women’s outerwear are Mark’s, and Cowboy Country.

Something that has really become prevalent over the years is that western fashion has come a long way, and it is constantly evolving and changing. I have grown to appreciate that you can really showcase your personality through what you wear, and long gone are the days of dull coloured wool, cotton and muslin garments.

Flashback to the mid 1800’s, ranch women would typically only have two or three outfits to choose from, and would have been hand-sewn or passed down from their elders. Their work wear would consist of full-length dresses and skirts, accompanied by long sleeves and high collars.

Flash forward to modern day, where women who are out working on ranches have the luxury to choose what and how they dress to suit their needs/ lifestyle.

Something that I have learnt is to keep it comfortable and practical, all the while adding my own twist of western style and flare. Adding a wild rag, a cute ball cap, and a trendy pair of sunglasses can transform an everyday look into something creative and fashionable.

Story by Chelsey Becker