Honky Tonk big trucks set the mood of cowboy culture

Story and Photos by Kathleen Gasperini

City centers aren’t the only sources of fresh, authentic influences in fashion these days. As more young people search for value, traditional brands, and eras with meaning, Label Networks takes a hard look at what a major portion of the United States is made of -the American cowboy and country music fans.

One way to capture some of the more current and fashion-forward cowboy styles was by scoping the fields at the recent Stagecoach festival April 25 and 26. Featuring bands such as Kid Rock, Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum, Reba, Brad Paisely, Little Big Town, and others, you could get a strong sense of the cross-over taking place between a new kind of rock with hints of country, and country that’s being redefined into alt-country and rock-abilly, such as sound coming from bands like Little Big Town, Reverend Horton Heat, Maxim Ludwig and the Santa Fe Seven, and Darius Rucker (formerly known as Hootie from Hootie and the Blowfish).

Button-down plaid shirts, denim, cowboy hats, and Converse = the new-school cowboy

There’s a reason that Nashville is becoming the new source for a different kind of music. Jack White moved there as well as scores of other indie players. Nashville styles mixed with ranching, desert motifs, Native American, and military camo are plentiful. Many who sport cowboy-inspired styles are in the military or are in some way closely associated with the military, which accounts for the prevalence of camo, red, white, and blue, and other aspects of Americana such as oversized belt buckles, cowboy hats, bandanas, tattoos, Levi’s, and Wranglers.

Dark denim and white and/or plaid starched button-down shirts give many cowboy-inspired fashion players a well-kept look, but it mostly comes down to the sparkling clean cowboy hat.

There’s also a new direction in cowboy influences with surf brands creeping into the heart of styles particularly Quiksilver, O’Neill, Billabong, Volcom, and Lost. Plaid shirts, sleeveless, and button-downs within these surf categories are an important aspect to this genre, as well as surf shorts -less neon than basic colorways as the preferred styles, capped of course with a cowboy hat.

Other than worn cowboy boots, Vans and DC shoes are also a staple now. Other brands to note are Dickies (along with Carhartt which has always been a part of the scene), and moto-inspired brands such as Affliction, Fox, and No Fear Racing.

When it comes to authentic Americana, cowboy influences remain a staple part of the landscape in the United States as one trend that will never disappear. Now, as the genre takes cues from other aspects of sporting cultures and lifestyles, the new cowboy generation is taking another step forward.

Moto and Surf brands are growing in popularity among young cowboy fans including brands such as Lost, No Fear Racing. Dark, clean denim, belt buckles and a cowboy hat are signature style.

Black denim and black cowboy hats with plaid or mixed with flip-flops and surf shorts in darker colors are common.

Surprising was the popularity of Affliction and cowboy-tattoo artistry in T-shirts

Tattoos are huge in cowboy culture, especially ethnic designs and foreign characters if they%uFFFDve traveled or been stationed in various locations.

Tail-gate parties are the norm. Surf trunks and cowboy hat for the man with the skeleton beer bong.

Bandanas and buff bodies among younger country fans among key accessories.

More big belt buckles on studdly guys.

Kaki cargo shorts and white starched button-down shirts among new crossover styles.

Laid-back cowboy twittering.

Fox Racing is a key brand, along with prints and plaids in patterns.

Horse shoe pits are a key activity. This guy is wearing a Volcom belt and Vans which notes the crossover of sporting styles.

More surf brand crossover with Volcom and Billabong.

Next best thing to a cowboy hat are straw fedoras which are gaining popularity with the cowboy culture crowd.

There%uFFFDs something about really in-shape country fans.

Lone cowboy in faded perfect-fit Wranglers.

The band Petty Cash plays a cross between Tom Petty and Johnny Cash. Their black outfits (a nod to Cash) was a popular choice among many at Stagecoach.