Sunday, January 17, 2010

Giddy Up Y'all

The matter of cowboy boots is similar to the issue of slippers. Confidence and indifference are required behaviors necessary to avoid the “Giddy Up” syndrome. The aforementioned syndrome and the "Big Hat-No Cattle" cliche are first cousins methinks. I mean the lattitude for ridicule when caught wearing slippers without the uvulas to do so is limited compared to the shit you can get when attempting a cowboy rig. Careful now.

And let me just tell you early on-if you EVER wear any kind of boot with shorts-make sure you have your Broke Back Mountain-Can’t Quit You t-shirt on to accompany your rig ‘cause that’s what you are broadcasting. Fine if you want to-but just make sure you stay away from my ass-literally. I'm channelling that great ensemble-The Village People.

You are not a cowboy-and for those of you who genuinely are cowboys, you probably aren’t reading this blog and if you are-none of the drivel herein applies to you. You are a rare and vanishing breed and I am humbled in your presence. You wear hats-buckles-belts not only because you can-but because it’s part of your lore-your heritage and by god, that’s what you generally wear to work. You, Cowboy, have every right to shout “poseur” to every “Big Hat-No Cattle” dilettante who is foolish enough to attempt adorning themselves with even one component of the Cowboy rig. Butcept I just realized that Cowboys don't use words like poseur 'cause if they did they would be poseurs and ...well you know what I mean. Your authority on which to base such call outs is exactly why I leave my boots and buckles at home when Texas-Oklahoma-Arizona and New Mexico.

So this post is for the rest of us. The ones of us who got cowboy outfits for Christmas when we were little kids-the ones-if you were like me-who got one new pair of cowboy boots every year. For me, this ritual occurred in the fall when my mom bought my back to school clothes. Phil Nofals Fine Shoes-the source of one hundred percent of my shoddings for the first fifteen years of my life, only carried cowboy boots in the fall. I can still smell the new leather of the Acme boots at Phil Nofals. I think I usually got black ones.

I got reacquainted with cowboy boots after college. The trad years of undergrad didn’t support a cowboy boot option. You would have been ridiculed right out of the Kappa Alpha house had you rolled in wearing anything other than L.L. Bean-Topsiders-Bass Weejuns. Strict trad code in that environment and I certainly didn’t have the uvulas to be the outlier-situational or otherwise.

Jack Kreindler, co-founder of 21 in Gotham was a big fan of cowboy boots-as evidenced here. Wonder where these babies are now?

Howdy-Doody sported a unique rendition-a man of no consequence-seeing how he had his initials tooled on his boots.

When I make another million and don’t have to give it to someone else-I’m gonna have the boys at Rocket Buster make me a fancy pair.

Every time LFG and I go to Cactus Cantina I ask if I can try on a few of their vintage boots.

Cuh-boy boots as my buddy back home,W.A.H. calls them-are probably about thirty percent of my afterhour’s casual shodding since about that same amount of swathing finds me in jeans-and I’m often in boots when wearing jeans.

I wear pretty basic cowboy boots. Noconas are my brand of choice because they are reasonably priced and are fairly high quality. I have three pairs that serve me well. 

Black-Brown-Brown Suede. And when the weather is oppressive in the summer-you can always bust out in a pair of Nocona shoe boots. The slipper of cowboy shoddings.

Green Lizard. Any Green Lizards at your house? Shut up.

The cowboy boot realm is where this normally fuzzy-diced redneck guy practices restraint. Why? Because if you push this envelope too far a real cowboy is gonna beat your ass or you are going to end up a member of the People of Wal-Mart website-if you go to Wal-Mart in an envelope pushing cowboy rig.

Toe variations-they're all good.
These are my general guidelines for the ever so shallow dip that I take into the cowboy pool. This should be considered a compass-not a detailed road map. If you are in need of more detail-call Roy Damn Rogers.

I wear boots ONLY with jeans-blue denim year around-corduroy five pocket jeans ten months a year and white jeans in the summer. NO boots and suits-dress trousers or formal wear.

I make certain that my jeans are long enough. I tend to wear flat front casual trousers a bit on the short side. That’s fine with loafers-it’s not fine to have jeans coming to a halt before the correct exit point on the bootie trail.

I wear a Polo-Ralph Western belt with a fairly modest silver buckle. 

Leave the Turkey Platter Rodeo buckle to the folks who’ve earned the right to wear them. Ass beatin’s may once again ensue over such issues.

And finally, I wouldn’t wear a cowboy hat on a bet. I defer this to those who are authentic in their western swathings. I’m an unabashed giddy up poseur but even I have limits. And my limit is met-long before I top it off with a ten gallon boater.

Onward-Giddying Up Y’all


Mrs. Blandings said...

Oh, my, who'd a thunk it? An Oklahoma girl born and bred cowboy boots are the next best thing to being barefoot. Can't imagine life without them and don't think twice about how they seem to go in and out of style on the coasts. Never in a million years would have guessed you have one pair, more or less three. I had on my favorite pair of boots in a pretty swish shop here not too long ago. The cute girl working there said, "OMG, I LOVE your boots!" as only cute girls can. They were older than she. Onward.

Toad said...

Every bone in my body, just wants go bleah, everytime I see cowboy boots on city folk. I do understand you sometimes just can't take the country out of the boy, but.....

Anonymous said...

The expression used in my native state of Colorado was always, "all hat, no cattle," and was reserved for the wealthy "dude" who donned western duds to mingle with the working ranchers and rodeo folks, kind of like the former occupant of the White House. Cowboy boots have become mainstream casual wear over the years, and I don't think most folks take any notice. But stop with the boots, and maybe a horse hair belt.

In my hometown, you can see the local ranchers and stockmen in the Safeway in their boots and hats and chaps (sigh) and spurs, all covered with cow poo and blood. It's quite a different fashion statement.

Have a great time in London, and leave the boots at home. They might mistake you for a Texan!


Anonymous English Female said...

ADG - May be we should meet up and go visit R.Soles on the King's Road - get you some Sloane Ranger cowboy boots ?

ADG said...

Mrs. B. Surprised back at you. Glad to know that you sport boots from your original neck of the woods. I wear most everything without concern regarding if it's in style or not. It's not a fetish but it may be close-I think women in either cowboy boots or clogs look great!

Toad...I'm with you my friend. That's why I try to humble myself when talking cowboy boots and admit my impertinence.

Hallie...thanks. NO intention of taking cowboy boots to London. The shoes but not the boots.

AnonEng...won't be seeking Western wear while in England. Thanks though.

DA said...

Every few years when we visit the wife's family in Hutto (that's right due northeast of Austin) I get a hankerin' for some boots. I've had Justins and Tony Lamas through the years. Then I get back here to the United States (Ann Arbor) and just can't wear 'em. After a half century of trying out kit and costume I'm accepting that it's Bean Boots, work boots of the Red Wing ilk, Weejuns, and Topsiders for me.

One authentic exception for a Yankee wearing cowboy boots is my little brother who wears black ones in Brooklyn when he fronts his bluegrass band. If you can walk the blocks to and from subway stops in those heels and on hard pavement you've earned it.

I've never written before ADG but I must say that Maxminimus postings are always the bright spots in my week. Thanks and keep up the great work

Pigtown-Design said...

I had a great pair of black cowboy boots for about 20 years before they just plumb wore out. I would wear them instead of heels with a ball skirt and cashmere top. Just enough height and all of the comfort in the world.

To me, there was nothing stupider than kids in England & Wales wearing cowboy boots with the shortest skirts imaginable. I just wanted to slap them.

Paul said...

Here in FL, there are some legit wearers of cowboy boots (lots of horse ranches where I live), sometimes the boots make their way into a Starbucks ordering a caramel brulee latte! Kinda takes the shit off the kickers!

Summer is a Verb said...

You're not gonna like this sister has that same exact RL belt...XXOO Neologist Allie

ps..also in possession of Babe's childhood pair of Justin Ropers (just in case the Christian Dior outfit needs some dressin down for Walmart visits).

Doug said...

Long time voyeur of your blog. Always felt a certain kinship in matters of style and have great admiration for your turn of a phrase. Harbored a certain private "shame" over my cowboy boot interest amidst an otherwise outward tradly appearance and image. Found your latest posting immensely liberating. I'm curious though ... within the OTR boot realm ... I would have guessed you to be more of a "Lucchese Classics" man rather than "Nocona" man.

VogueOntheRange said...

Oh Maxminimus, your words are like gold to the ears of Vogue On the Range, and it just tickled me to bits to read this post! You, sir, are a true cowboy, for the sheer respect you give to the way of life:

"You wear hats-buckles-belts not only because you can-but because it’s part of your lore-your heritage and by god, that’s what you generally wear to work. You, Cowboy, have every right to shout “poseur” to every “Big Hat-No Cattle” dilettante who is foolish enough to attempt adorning themselves with even one component of the Cowboy rig. Butcept I just realized that Cowboys don't use words like poseur 'cause if they did they would be poseurs and ...well you know what I mean. Your authority on which to base such call outs is exactly why I leave my boots and buckles at home when Texas-Oklahoma-Arizona and New Mexico."

Cheers to your very rare perspective that exudes your ever-enduring class and taste, and from a fellow beltway blogger who is displaced from the Range, here's to hoping you'll add the Cowboy State to your itineraries.

Vogue On the Range

November said...

It's hard to describe the pleasure you get from wearing a pair of decades old boots (like many things, they get better with age) but you've come through once again.

I was wearing a pair of Texas roughout (suede) boots many years ago when I was in a bad car wreck. The boots and I were stitched up and I still enjoy wearing them (occasionally) to this day.

Thanks for this piece.

ADG said...

DA...that ain't no excuse man. Throw on a pair of boots in Ann Arbor....come on!Thanks also for the kind words about the blog b.s. over here.

MegTown...I had a guy in Portobello Road offer me money for the boots on my feet one day....years ago.

Paul..."the shit out of the kickers" ... I'll be using that!

AllieSummersVerb...Funny-I bought that one at the Ralph Outlet in Rehoboth for next to nuttin.

Doug...thanks. I'm humbled by your kind remarks. Noconas...I have a buddy who put me on to them 20 years ago. No real loyalty beyond habit.

VogueOnTheRange...Thanks! Now marry me.

November...thanks. Glad that you and the boots made it!

DAM said...

ADG, I am with you on many things, including cowboy boots - I have a pair of justin's i've been breaking in for about 4 years, but those ankle booty things are just as bad in the "stay away from my ass" as the boots and shorts.

How, exactly, do you propose wearing the lizard booties?

ADG said...

DAM...settle down boy. The shoe boots are worn with jeans. I'll show you. After I get back from England.

Anonymous Texan said...

Good post...picked up the nuances.
Brown Nocona's make the grade, ditch the Roach Killers & Brothel Stompers.
Only wimmen,jotos, & polo players wear white jeans down here.Got to be skinny as a fence post to pull off the 501 look.I wear em with khakis...don't own a pair of jeans..must be a communist. Better to affect an "Old School South Texas Rancher Type", khaki shirt,brush jacket,khaki pants, Ranger Belt w/plain buckle, boots, & 30 year old sweat stained Stetson....all with the necessary age & patina. My idea of backslidin
is wearing boots on Friday with blazer/khakis instead of 684's...look damn sure worked on Left Bank. ADG you are absolutely correct that less is more on this rig.

ADG said...

Texan...I knew that this post would smoke you outta hiding. You are exactly the type that I was thinking about when I wrote this one up. Also why I leave these little props at home when I travel your direction. Thanks for the comments.

Anonymous said...

ADG, I am reminded of a pal who went boot shopping in Nashville, where the clerk asked him "John Wayne or John Hiatt?" meaning Brown or Black... I have more boots than sense, most of them Justins and TLs. I even have a pair made from the skins of cute baby seals. NO not really, but I think they ARE sea turtle. Presumably they are ver' old. All of my green lizards are still alive and eating flies, but I have about three pairs in peanut brittle. The last time I saw the shoe boots on a man, it was on a serious rocker in the 80s. You are SO retro, man.
Your pal in Cola Town.

Scott said...

Friend, a pair of boots are one thang, but them pointy shoes are made for fellers who do ladies hair. Might fly in Warshington DeeCee, but not in any state that begins with a "T".

BTW, I've got a pair of Wrangs I keep just for boots. They're too long for anything else. Wear 'em with a basket weave Ranger belt. (TinTin would like that one.)

Do you know "London Homesick Blues"? This boot/London talk brought that song to mind.

Hang tough, Cowboy,


Sartre said...

I can't do it. Nope. Just cannot do it.

Doug said...

In your sartorial (unwritten) rules of footwear is there any overlap between your RM Williams and your Noconas. Do the Venn Diagrams representing cuh-boy boots and Ozzie riding boots have any intersection ... or are they complete separate categories? Thanks, Doug

Tickled Pink And Green said...

In my day the University of Texas KA's had a uniform consisting of a white starched button down, great pair of jeans and cowboy boots. And aw man, they looked dang good. Yeeehaw.

ADG said...

Tickled Pink...those KA boys usually stood out in some way on every campus-not always good.

Doug...thanks. Your question is robust enough to warrant another post.

Sartre...great to hear from you. Boots...probably not so much a Main Line thang. I can't find your email address. Drop me a brief email and catch me up on your happenings.

Scott...what's your point? Under the right circumstances, I CAN do a woman's hair. If she requests such services in tandem with other things that I might be yearning to deliver her way-hell, I can do anything.

Victor said...

ADG I almost missed this post. Lately, I've been rocking my Tony Lamas (a staple if you're from El Paso like I am). I forgot how confident I feel in them, or maybe I'm just comfortable in them. Very few people seem to notice--except women I've just met and will soon forget--I wear them all the time now. When I go out it's usually with jeans, BB shirt, and a sport coat w/pocket square.

My favorite part is that they make me a little taller. I'm taller than most to begin with, but what man wouldn't kill for an extra 2 inches--shut up.


Someone Else said...

oh my, i just got a vintage pair of "cheaters" the cowboy (slipper-style) boots from Guess the other day. i was told that's what they were called back in the day...yours are amazing though.

it'd be cool to find more in that style. sometimes i don't want to commit to a full boot ;)

Kathie Truitt said...

I realize I am waaayyy late to this party but regarding the post above cutting down George Bush for wearing the cowboy boots/hat - I have a story for you on exactly how he came about having those boots/stetson.

I moved to Washington DC because my husband took over the legislative/lobbying office of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. Because President Bush was such a friend of farm/ranch issues they decided to gift him with not only a fancy pair of boots but one of the most expensive Stetson's money can buy. Actually, they had one especially made for him. He was to speak at the cattlemen's convention and while backstage I was put in charge of 'protecting' the boots/hat. When no one was looking I carefully took the hat out of the box and tried it on. I, to this day, take great pleasure of seeing pictures of him in that hat knowing that I was the first person to ever have it on.
And while the reader above may call the man a fraud, Mr. Bush actually WAS a good cattleman and most definitely had the blessing of ALL REAL cowboys.