The lights of the midway may still feel like a distant twinkle in your eye, but the festivities of Stampede really are just around the corner and it’s time to ask yourself one of the most important questions of the summer – what am I going to wear?!
But wait, you’ve already been dressing yourself for years and haven’t become a tasteless, fashion pariah yet, so it can’t be that hard to figure out…right?
The truth is that yes, you can probably handle throwing on some nondescript plaid and a pair of no-name cowboy booties from a clothing store that shouldn’t really be selling shoes, but the real struggle begins when you’re dressing for Stampede from Monday to Friday. Oh you thought all 10 days were a local holiday and you didn’t have to go to work? Well time to wake up and smell the maple syrup, we all still have to put in our nine to five, or at the very least, make an impression at a corporate event or two.
Use these tips and tricks to avoid evoking second-hand embarrassment from your co-workers by wearing something borderline (or maybe even all the way) offensive to the office because ‘guys, it’s Stampede!’ Just because jeans become socially acceptable at work for the week does not mean they should be cutoffs.
Denim Dos and Don’ts: A Stampede staple; adding denim to any outfit is sure to give you some western flare, but leave your daisy dukes at home and aim for clean and tailored. If you wouldn’t wear it on casual Friday, don’t wear it during Stampede.
Buckle Up: Use these gems to take your look from ‘average-joe Stampede week denim conformist’ to ‘western wear aficionado’. Coupled with a pair of jeans and a collared plaid shirt (for the guys) or an airy eyelet blouse (for the ladies), a belt buckle can go a long way when it comes to blending in with the cowboy crowd this summer.
Go with the Flow: Whether it’s a spring dress or a denim skirt, make sure whatever you’re wearing leaves something to the imagination (i.e. if it’s something you’d wear for a night out at Ranchmans, leave it at home). Stay away from flimsy or non-existent straps (unless you’ve got a trendy vest to cover up with), avoid low cut necklines and stick to pieces that still have a semi-professional air to them (basically, have fun, but not too much fun). A great way to turn a normal work dress or skirt combo into a western themed get-up is to pair it with a denim jacket or some stylish cowboy boots.
Plaid (well someone had to say it): Wearing plaid is a simple yet effective way to turn any outfit into the everyman’s definition of ‘western’. Men’s shirts, ladies’ blouses and even dresses patterned in plaid can make Stampede style a bit more accessible for just about anyone.
VIP Access(orize): Not an urban cowboy with a closet full of bolo ties? You can still put a Stampede spin your office wear by accessorizing! Whether it’s a braided leather belt, a western themed scarf or cowboy inspired jewelry, even the smallest addition to your average work ensemble can make you feel akin to all the other one-week cowboys out there.
The Hat: The mark of a true cowboy (or girl) – just make sure you’re wearing it the right way around. If you don’t want it to look like this is your first rodeo, make sure the tag is at the back and the narrow end is at the front.
Hit the Pavement: The simple addition of cowboy boots (or even a pair of cowboy-ish looking boots) can make nearly any ensemble Stampede-worthy. Just don’t mistake this for a free license to dress down in the shoe department. That’s right, we see you Steve-from-accounting, put those dad runners away!
Keep it classy, have fun, and most importantly, do you! If you can find a way to strike a balance between Canadian tuxedo and corporate casual, you’ll be golden, and so will your Stampede.