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April 23, 2018

Riding Clothes: Women's Rodeo Fashion at Flying L Ranch, 1947

When people first hear the word “rodeo”, most will likely picture a man in a ten gallon hat, plaid shirt, and jeans — think Marlboro Man. The truth is, rodeo and fashion have gone hand in hand for decades. Believe it or not, rodeo attire has seen its fair share of fashion trends.

Going back to the 1940s, rodeo fashion endured a major change. As crazy as it seams, fitted pants became all the rage. Now the definition of fitted is a bit of a stretch, but coming off the 1930s, when cowboys’ and cowgirls’ pants were very loose on thighs and calves, it’s the truth. And for women, shirt collars were longer and more exaggerated than you see nowadays.

“Of all women's clothes, riding habits follow the strictest rules,” says Emily Post. “A riding habit, no matter what the fashion happens to be, is the counterpart of an officer’s uniform; it is not worn to make the wearer look pretty!”

These rodeo queens are showing a little more skin with this more modern look.

(Photos by Cornell Capa/LIFE Magazine)


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