Whenever some gangster / gangsta tool is confronted by the police, it seems de rigueur for said idiot to “represent” (i.e. show no fear, but indeed the utmost disrespect towards the “po-po”). This usually ends with said idiot getting shot, or at least having a paradiddle drumbeat played on his fool head by a cop’s nightstick. [Pause to let the cheering die down.]

Well, in planning my upcoming invasion of errr sabbatical in Britishland, my several Texas friends have berated me most foully for not representing… Texas. Apparently this means showing up at Heathrow in full Texas regalia (minus the nickel Colt Single Action Army revolver, of course, which is the one thing I would like to take with me, but of course cannot do lest some Brit rozzer ends up playing a paraddiddle with his nightstick on my fool head).

For those not familiar with Texas folkways, allow me to offer a simple explanation. Texas regalia is (at least) a 10-gallon 9x beaver Stetson, a silver belt buckle which could serve alternative duty as a riot shield or serving dish, a tasseled jacket in the manner of John Voight in Midnight Cowboy, a string tie, something called “boot-cut” jeans, and intricately-stitched cowboy boots with leather in at least two (and three is better) different colors, with silver toe guards and fanciful stitching.

I don’t even own a pair of jeans.

So today I went out shopping for what I consider the least visually offensive of the above list of deplorable regalia items. Of course, sending me out to buy this stuff is like sending Lewis Black out to buy an assault rifle, but what the hell: anything to avoid being a bad ambassador for the Great State of Texas, right?  After a full day’s shopping, I came home with a pair of these:

Yes, it’s the [deep breath] “Ariat Western Heritage Round Toe” style, as pictured, in one color (black) and with what is regarded in Texas as “conservative” stitching. I’m pretty sure I’m only going to be wearing them at night, in a place with subdued or no lighting.

This, by the way, is why Sunday’s post is so woefully tardy. Finding a decent pair of cowboy boots in “Stubby Extra Wide” is one hell of a chore, especially when it seems that the only styles available in that rather esoteric size look like the cat puked on them (no offense to cats):

Good grief. All I wanna know is: when did cowboy boots start being designed by Elton John?

I did find a very nice-looking style, but put the sample back on the shelf like it was an angry rattlesnake when I saw the price. Apparently it was made of leftover skin from Joan Rivers’ last facelift.

So I ended up with a pair of the Ariats, which seems to be a decent brand from all accounts. (I really couldn’t afford Justin or Tony Lama, which judging from the prices must be individually hand-made by the gnarled fingers of some old guy who’s worked at Justin since 1879 or something.)

Anyway, as I said earlier, all this is to excuse the extreme tardiness of today’s post.

Tomorrow we’ll be looking at shotguns, something I actually know a little bit about.




  1. Coals to Newcastle dear boy.

    The UK has country folk and hillbillies too, ya know.

    I picked that page because I’m going to be in London in September and I am so looking forward to buying that coat to go pheasant and grouse hunting with my buddies in October up here in Alberta Canada. The bastards will be green with envy, even if the name of the thing implies that, gasp, it’s Krautish.

  2. I feel fortunate to not have the burden of representing a great state, living as I do in ill-annoy. Illinois footwear would have glitter spelling out ‘Bribe me!’ and ‘Feed me!’ (and maybe ‘F*ck you’ on them.

    I believe that if I needed specific footwear for representation of myself, it would just be a pair of nicer US made Danner boots. I have a near new pair of black Acadias that would do nicely.

  3. I had the same problem ten years ago when I ended up finding a nice pair of brown Ariat boots with the same general design and heel as your black boots. They held up well for me for nine years until they finally became too beat up to wear except around the house, yard and Home Depot visits. I had to look in several stores to find another pair of plain brown boots to wear out in public and with dress pants.

    As with most boots, it takes a bit of wearing and walking to get a new pair broken in and comfortable but I think you will enjoy representing Texas and if you need to kick someone in the ass your ankles will be protected.

  4. If you have a proper fit, comfortable and broken in, it’s nice to not have to mess around with laces and tying your shoes. And, as Old Texan points out, there are some social situations where they come in handy.

    This makes me think I ought to get another pair of ropers, It’s been a while.

  5. Please, don’t show your ignorance by describing “texas” regalia as you did!!! fringe jacket? no. belt buckle, no. hat, not required. Boots, yes, but tri-color? no. What you described is a fake cowboy. I bet you have never been to rural Texas, or Okla, or Colorado? Montana, Wyoming?

    1. SDH,
      Anyone who takes styling trips from this website needs their head examined. It’s a “humor” piece, FFS. (For example, I haven’t seen a fringed jacket worn in Texas in nearly twenty years of living here.)
      Relax, already… or I’ll start referring to the place as Cuidad Tejas.

  6. As a brand-new Texan, moving from Kansas City to Odessa, is it required I buy a pair of those god-awful boots?

    1. It’s easier to get a new pair of boots than kicking all that shit off your Kansas shoes…

  7. What you described is pretty much how I dressed everyday from kindergarten thru middle school. By high school I had finally transitioned to square toed biker boots with straps and buckles, greasy Levi jeans and T-shirts.

    Several of my business colleagues went to Japan to assist with a chemical plant start up. They showed up at the airport in standard business casual. The Japanese were disappointed as they had been excited about meeting actual “cowboys” from Texas pretty much like you described above. Oh well.

  8. When you get a bit more flush, go try on a few pair of Lucese boots. Mine were comfy from the get-go, and look just fine with a (non-Grand-Ol’-Opry-style) business suit. It IS possible to be distinctively Texan without looking and acting like a character out of Giant.

      1. I think you’ll find that they’re actually extremely comfortable. If it weren’t for the TSA making you take them off, they’d be about perfect for flying.

        In the future, go to a feed store/AG supply store to buy them. You get a better selection of basic boots, at a lower price point, and without all the obnoxious “you’re kidding me, right?” designs.

      2. Pretty much what I said until a pair of Tony Lamas took a mind to mangle my feet one day.

        But you CAN accelerate a comfortable boot break-in with a stunt I learned from an old Okie. Put on your boots, pour yourself a calming beverage, turn your TV on to the most boring thing you can find (golf, Texas-hold ’em, etc), sit in a comfy chair and sip yourself to sleep. Your feet will sweat, and stretch those boots to your exact size.

  9. I have an offfice in the UK and usually roll off the plane just as you describe (minus the frilly jacket of course – that’s just nonsense). Folks over the pond love a proper hat; I’ve carted so many over the pond for friends and associates that the flight attendants even know how to handle a hat box now. I could set up a cottage industry selling Stetsons to the security screeners at Heathrow as they always ask how much to buy my hat. And a big honkin’ belt buckle serves another more important purpose: if anyone gets out of control on the plane you’ve got a serious weapon around your midsection to set ’em straight. So don’t you worry none about strolling through London properly attired. They’ve seen me doing it for years and I ain’t never had any trouble. Just don’t be surprised if you duck into a west end pub and they greet you like an old friend – we all look alike with our hats on dontcha know!

  10. I’ve always had trouble with slip-on boots because I have a high instep, so any boot I can actually get my foot into ends up flopping up-and-down while I walk. I even have trouble with loafers for the same reason, but I can occasionally find a pair that works.

    I admit though that I like the understated cowboy look, boots like yours (although I’d probably prefer brown), jeans, chambray or denim shirt, vest, smaller buckle (given that I have a gut), and cowboy hat. String tie optional.

    Now the LADIES in the short denim skirt with cowgirl boots, denim shirt, vest and hat. Especially if she says “Y’all”. Pardon me, I have to go join the local gym just so I can get a cold shower…..

  11. What I want is much like cavalry boots: low heel, square toe, comfortable for walking.

    Try finding those outside of a reenactor supply place.

  12. Here in central Arizona boots and hats are commonplace. I’m not a cowboy (except in state of mind) but I make a point of wearing a big hat and fine Lucchese boots when my wife drags me to one of a few chi-chi cafes that attract the few NPR style liberals that infest Prescott like bereft seagulls. The beta-male diners often bristle and smirk but it’s amusing to catch the surreptitious glances and smiles from their women.
    Quality boots and hats are certainly not for everyone but they can be an enduring pleasure akin to good firearms and nice guitars.

    1. I wear a fedora or in cold weather, a cloth cap. Stetsons/Resistol hats… nope. What can I say? I still have European tastes, after all these years a U.S. citizen.

  13. Since it will be summer, a straw 10 gallon would also be acceptable (I prefer Resistol, myself.)

    Also, you picked the right piece of kit to start with, because if things get sporty around you, you are wearing a pair of might fine saps. Whip one off Michael Hayes-style, and knock some mohamadeen heads in. (Keep the other one on for the celebratory leather shampoo, unless you have a buddy who has found himself unfortunately disarmed.)

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