What To Wear To A Rodeo For Style and Function

Going to a rodeo soon? Here’s exactly what to wear to a rodeo so you’ll look stylish and turn-heads (in a good way), but still feel comfortable and ready to get two-stepping!

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photo: SPELL

What To Wear To A Rodeo


So, you’re going to a rodeo – yeehaw! If you’ve never been, you can expect a lot of bull-riding, barrel racing, team roping, and classic western wear. 

If you’re a rodeo rookie, it takes more than throwing on a cowboy hat and a pair of boots to fit in with the regulars. Now, before you spook like a nervous horse, take a breath!

Fortunately, it’s not impossible to arrive at the rodeo looking fashionable and functional. Below are some rodeo must-have fashion pieces that will convince everyone you’re a rodeo-regular.

photo: Blue Anemone

What Top Should You Wear to a Rodeo?


When it comes to tops, you should avoid any soft, fragile fabrics, like silk and satin. Instead, opt for lightweight material like cotton or linen, or a more durable material, such as button-down denim – a staple in western wear. 

For a cute look, try tying the ends of your denim top to create a cowgirl crop top, and think about patterns like plaid, gingham, or white with ruffle or lace detailing.

photos: Ashley Trees, Society19Tin & Turquoise 

Another suitable option is a flannel shirt or jacket. This classic American garment is a popular style among rodeo-goers, as it features an iconic pattern that will ensure you fit right in.

If you don’t have denim or flannel, you’re safe with a top that has ruffle layers or a top or jacket with fringe. 

In fact, the more fringe, the better. 

Shop Tops:


photo: Hunter Premo

What Bottoms Should You Wear to a Rodeo?


If you guessed denim, you’ve got that right! Experiment with various fits and cuts, such as jeans, shorts, or skirts – all are fair game as long as they’re denim. 

While bootcut jeans are generally associated with cowboy fashion, you won’t look out of place wearing a fitted pair or straight leg, which are great for tucking into a pair of cute knee-high cowboy boots.

photos: Fashion On RogueGirl Meets Gold, The Cool Hour

Wrangler is a classic brand for rodeo-goers and vintage inspired Levi’s will also add a high-fashion edge to your look.

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photo: SPELL

Dresses and Skirts Are Great Options Too

If you want to dress up a little, don’t hesitate to throw on a cute dress or skirt with your cowboy boots.

Opt for a white cotton or linen dress or skirt with lace or frill detailing, or go with a floral print dress and channel your inner Beth Dutton (Yellowstone anyone?).

photos: SPELLChristy Dawn, @marijka_dam

The right dress can look stylish and classy while still having that old western vibe you’ll want for the rodeo.

Shop Dresses & Skirts


photo: @westerngringa

Best Hat For A Rodeo

If you’ve seen an old Western movie, you certainly know the answer to this question.

Yes, you should wear a cowboy hat,  and any style will do. You’re welcome to get creative and select the one that speaks to you. There are a wide variety of cowboy hats, all coming in different textiles, including:

  • Fur Felt
  • Wool Felt
  • Straw
  • Leather
  • Canvas

Additionally, if you want to play it safe, opt for a Resistol, which has been the preferred choice for rodeo cowboys for decades.

Shop Western Hats:


photo: Rural Haze

What Kind of Shoes To Wear to a Rodeo


You didn’t think I’d compile a rodeo fashion essentials list and not include cowboy boots, did you? Just like cowboy hats, cowboy boots also come in various styles and materials, including:

  • Crocodile
  • Lizard
  • Goat
  • Alligator
  • Calf
  • Caiman
  • Snakeskin 

photos: @westernrodeo, Elizabeth Hay Photography, @marijka_dam

Try to avoid boots with a super high heel, as they’re less aligned with proper rodeo attire. 

Also, if you’ve never owned a pair before, you should know that many leather boots are stiff during the first couple of uses. I recommend breaking them in before the rodeo, so you can focus on enjoying the event rather than the blisters forming on your feet… ouch!

Shop Western Boots:


Can You Wear Sandals to a Rodeo?


When it’s warm out, and the temperature somehow seems to be rising even as the sun sets, you might find yourself thinking that a pair of sandals is a wise choice to keep your feet cool outside.

Unfortunately, it’s not a great idea. Unless you like the feeling of dirt between your toes, sandals, flip-flops, or other open-toed shoes are not usually a good idea.

photo: Virou Tendencia

What About Accessories?


Go for it! In its own way, a rodeo is like a fashion show, where Old Western is the theme. That means accessories are definitely appropriate. Once you’ve selected your top, jeans, hat, and boots, it’s time to start accessorizing.

  • Jewelry: Try layered gold or silver pendant necklaces or go with a statement necklace, bracelet, or earrings. And, turquoise is always a popular rodeo color when it comes to jewelry.
  • Belt: A leather belt with a massive, flashy buckle is a must for a rodeo and a great way to accessorize. If you think your belt is too much, go even bigger. 

photos: @westdesperado, @kayleeacaroll_

  • Poncho: A colorful poncho with fringe is an effortless way to elevate your outfit to new heights. Wear your poncho over jeans or shorts with a pair of ankle boots to create an uber-stylish outfit. 
  • Vest: Another popular rodeo fashion piece. Leave it open over a long-sleeved shirt for a casual appearance that still maintains the western theme.


Shop Accessories:


photo: @marijka_dam

Now that we’ve established the proper rodeo attire, you’re ready to hop in the saddle and put together a stylish outfit. 

You’ve got this, cowgirl! 


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What To Wear To A Rodeo For Style and Function


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