What should you wear to the rodeo

What Do You Wear To a Rodeo? The True Cowboy and Cowgirl Get-up

I was new to all things Western when I was invited to attend my first rodeo. Of course I have seen all the movies with ultra-cool cowgirls and cowboys who seemed so perfectly put together, but when it came time to assemble my own rodeo outfit, I was left wondering, what do you wear to a rodeo?  

I decided to get to work assembling the perfect outfit to make my rodeo experience unforgettable. I wanted to fit in with the crowd, and look good doing it. 

What Do Cowgirls Wear To a Rodeo

In order to dress like a cowgirl, there are some important essential clothing items that will ensure that all women will look their best. Here are the essential items that women should wear to a rodeo. 

Cowgirl Hat

A cowgirl hat is one of the most iconic clothing symbols when considering what to wear to a rodeo. Cowgirl hats can be straw, felt or leather depending on individual taste or the weather. 

When shopping for just the right cowgirl hat, consider style and the form of the hat. Some come with that already-worn-in flexible feel. Flexible hats may be less likely to lose their shape if they are tossed around in your closet or car. Some cowgirl hats can be simple in design, or they can also be quite ornate, like this beautiful straw cowgirl hat. 

Button-down or snap Western shirt

No rodeo outfit is complete without a button-down or snap-front western shirt. These shirts can come in a variety of patterns and colors to coordinate with whatever you choose. 

Whether you love plaid, solid, or something more wild, a western shirt is a rodeo must! Look for decorative buttons or snaps that can really add some subtle flare to your outfit. Embroidery is also commonly found on a western shirt on the yoke, or sleeves and can add an elegant touch. 


Let’s get right down to it. No rodeo outfit can even begin to be assembled without a pair of women’s rodeo boots. Women’s rodeo boots should be mid-calf in height. Heel height can vary, and the toe can be pointed or square. 

In your search for the right pair of rodeo boots, you’ll find that most come in a variety of colors. This can be a fun accent to consider when coordinating your shirt and accessories. Look for genuine leather that will break-in with wear to ensure a more comfortable fit. 


There’s nothing like a pair of great jeans, and these are a must when deciding what to wear to a rodeo. Women’s rodeo jeans should be boot cut and snug. They can also have beautiful embroidery or designs on the pockets. 

Denim skirt or western-style sundress

When the weather is hot, some cowgirls opt for a denim skirt or sundress. Sundresses can look very cute with the right cowgirl boots and you will be a lot cooler than being in a button-down. Western style sundresses can vary from being lacey to a variety of prints, and you can easily accessorize them with a vest or denim jacket. 

Belt and belt buckle

A leather belt is a must to compliment your jeans. Complete the look with a fancy silver belt buckle to add a bit of bling to your outfit. Belt buckles can come in such a wide variety of styles, they are a great way to let your personality really shine! 

Accent jewelry

Make a statement with at least one piece of accent jewelry. This could be anything from a leather bracelet to a chunky turquoise or silver necklace. Your accent jewelry is something that can be uniquely your style and can tie in with the colors in your shirt or boots. With so many beautiful options out there, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune, either. 

What Do Cowboys Wear To a Rodeo

To fit right in when deciding what to wear to a rodeo, men also have some essential clothing items that will have them looking their rodeo-best. 


Men’s jeans should be boot-cut and snug looking. If you really don’t like boot-cut jeans, you could opt for straight-cut jeans. Sometimes men’s jeans will have western-style stitching across the pockets. 

When selecting jeans, the best option for a rodeo is always a darker blue wash. Slim fit or classic fit jeans are the way to go; nothing too baggy for the rodeo. Men’s jeans are always worn over the top of the boots and should sit on the natural waist, not below it. 

Western Shirt

A western shirt can be solid, plaid, or patterned. It should always have a collar, long sleeves, and buttons or snaps. It should be worn neatly tucked-in. 

Men’s western shirts can be lightweight or heavier fabric so you can select the best option for the season. The shirt should always appear well-ironed and crisp, no matter the season. 

Cowboy Hat

The cowboy hat is typically the showpiece of the rodeo outfit. Typically a felt or leather hat is worn in the colder months and a straw hat is worn in warmer weather. 

A wide brim hat is most common, however you may prefer a hat with a shapeable brim, such as this one. A wire running through the brim allows you to shape it the way you like it and it will hold the shape. 

Trucker Hat

If a cowboy hat isn’t part of your wardrobe, a trucker hat can also suffice as part of your rodeo wardrobe. This can be a great way to show off a different, yet still-rodeo-acceptable side of your cowboy style. A trucker hat may be a bit cooler to wear during hot weather, and it can make a statement with a logo or picture. 

Cowboy Boots

Cowboy boots can come in a variety of styles and types of leather. Types of leather can include alligator, snakeskin, or even ostrich. Men’s boots generally have a square toe but also could have a rounded toe. 

When selecting the right pair of cowboy boots, don’t skimp on quality. Good quality leather and soles will provide hours of comfort when you’re on your feet. Many cowboy boots include intricate stitching along the shaft of the boot. 

Leather Belt

Since a western shirt is always worn tucked in to the jeans, a good-quality leather belt is a must. Belts may be ingrained or embossed with patterns or designs to fit your taste. When shopping for a belt, keep in mind that some may come with a buckle and some will come without one. Depending on your budget, ordering a buckle separately will allow you to customize your rodeo look. 

Belt Buckle

The right belt buckle is necessary to complete the rodeo-look. Most are silver, but some can be two-tone, bronze, or gold. Size can be a consideration when selecting just the right buckle. Personal preference certainly plays a role, as you want the buckle to be large enough to stand out, but not so large that it’s uncomfortable to wear. 

Kerchief or bandana

A bandana or kerchief is sometimes a nice accent for men when determining what to wear to a rodeo. It can be worn around the neck or in a pocket. A bandana can provide extra warmth on chilly nights, or it can be used to wipe away sweat on a hot, dusty day. Colors and patterns are limitless and add a nice touch to complete the rodeo look. 

What Not To Wear To a Rodeo

While the rodeo crowd is a pretty laid-back group, there are certain clothing items that you should not wear to a rodeo. 

  • Rolled up, or baggy jeans – This is not the time to pull out your favorite Saturday comfy jeans. Snug or tight-fitting jeans are the way to go. 
  • Colorful denim – At the rodeo, blue denim is the only denim.  Save black jeans or other multi-colored jeans for other occasions. 
  • Polo shirts – Polo shirts look neat and tidy, but they are not part of traditional rodeo attire. Save your polo shirts for the golf course and reach for your favorite long-sleeved button-down shirt instead. 
  • Cargo pants – Baggy, multi-pocketed cargo pants are not rodeo-chic. 
  • Sandals or flip flops– This one is not only a fashion no-no, but could be a safety hazard as well. Open-toed shoes don’t have any place around livestock. Rodeos are typically too dusty and dirty for exposed feet anyway. 
  • High heels– High heels may look great with jeans, but they have no place at a rodeo. 
  • Knee-high boots– Cowboy boots are mid-calf in height. Knee-high boots are not typical rodeo attire. 


No matter what outfit you assemble when deciding what to wear to a rodeo, you are sure to have a great time! When attending a rodeo you will find good fun and good people. 

Dressing the part is just part of the fun. Rodeos are great entertainment for the whole family!

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