I was going to call this post "DO YA THINK I'M TEX-Y?" after my favorite OPI nail polish, but I think Jane has a no pun policy. There are very few rules at XOJane, and you aren't told what they are in advance, you just deduce them on your own as you go along.
In case ya'll didn't already know, I am from the great state of Texas. I spent a lot of my teenage years pretending that I wasn’t, and trying to be someone else.
Classic Texas women are always big haired, bejeweled and gaudy. Lots of fringe and silver crosses are involved. You'd think those "True Blood" vampires are real, and that Texas women need to ward them off 24/7.
I desperately wanted to be different, so I got way into hip-hop and always wore these vintage Adidas track suit outfits that I chopped up and re-designed myself.
Once I got bored of trying to be a blond hip-hop honey, I considered trying to learn how to speak with a fake English accent. Thank goodness I am way too lazy to follow through on anything in my life that takes real effort. Can you imagine what an idiot I would have sounded like? "ELLO, GUVNAH!"
The truth always comes out, and the truth is that I am a hick at heart. I like simple stuff: comfort food, cowboy boots, tie dye and horses. I despise pretense and fakery, and I don’t suffer fools unless I am being paid very well to do so.
So of course I ended up living in California, land of professional flakes. It’s so not my style. I don’t own a pair of Louboutins. I drive a dirty black truck with a dented bumper in a sea of Mercedes and BMW’s.
Now that I'm a "grownup," I find myself borrowing tricks from those Texas women I was so dead set against being like when I was younger. I am obviously in love with sleek, glossy, expensive things and rich bitch style, but I always want to temper anything pretty or fancy with something unpolished and earthy to take the "edge" off.
Never in my wildest teenage dreams would I have thought I'd end up doing a total 180 and get so into country-fried, Texas style fashion. But the person who doesn't change their mind doesn't have one, duh.
These days, if I'm wearing a fluffy dress to a party, I don’t want to wear heels, ever. I only want to wear cowboy boots.
When I was 5 years old, I had a pair of red cowboy boots from the Kenny Rogers for J.C. Penney collection (the original capsule collab -- Kenny Rogers X JCP!) I loved them so much that I didn’t alert my mother when they were too small, I just curled my toes under the balls of my feet and walked around on my foot knuckles. It hurt like hell but I couldn’t imagine living without them.
Twenty-five years later, I have finally found a worthy replacement for my beloved red boots:
These new Kenny Rogers are made by a pretty spectacular boot company called Old Gringo. Old Gringo boots are the perfect marriage of classic western style and straight up fashion. I own 2 pairs of them already, and this is going to be my 3rd pair:
Old Gringo boots are hand crafted using some crazy labor-intensive process, and it shows in the end result. They are also comfortable as hell and built to last. I have clomped all over in mine, and they still look new.
I think the best selection of Old Gringos is at Allen’s Boots in my hometown of Austin, Texas. I love old, beat up vintage boots too, fake cowby-ish boots from Target, it doesn’t really matter. Boots are boots.
I just make sure to always put some insoles in those vintage ones, cause WHO KNOWS WHAT COULD HAVE GONE BEFORE YOU?
I find that I am way sassier and have a much better time when I go out to a club wearing cowboy boots. For starters, you can dance and run and jump and kick and fight. I find myself needing/wanting to do all of these things during the course of a great night out.
Boots are also good protection from the bumps and bruises of life. Most people don’t consider this aspect of their footwear, but my father stepped on a 6 ft. rattlesnake in his front yard while wearing flip-flops and my family is lucky he lived to tell the tale.
If you want to easily add some inexpensive country flavor to your current style, check out these cool Texan broads called the Junk Gypsies. They are a pair of fab sisters (Amie and Jolie) who live in Round Top, Texas, home of one of the greatest antiquing bonanza weekends in the whole country.
They buy and resell all kinds of vintage collectible oddities and "junk," have their own show on HGTV, and I sort of want to be them when I grow up.
They have this Walt Whitman quote that I love on their website: "Resist much, obey little." I was unknowingly following Walt's advice since birth. My very proper Southern mom likes to pretend to be ruffled by some of my more outrageous schemes but I know she is secretly pleased that she did not raise a shy, retiring wallflower.
The jewelry that the Junk Gypsies sell is a glorious tangled mess of reasonably priced southern-hippie-meets-rock-and-roll-rhinestone madness:
A little bit of it goes a long way, but I like to just pile it all on like the magpie that I am. I'm always striving for a "Marie Antoinette meets a bad news cowboy at a dirty roadside bar" look.
The Junk Gypsies have some great fake turquoise. I love real turquoise -- I have a ton of it, but it is expensive as hell. Their stuff is totally affordable and doesn’t look cheap.
I also get my Texas style fix from all kinds of western snap front shirts. Old, shrunken, torn up, brand new, I love them all. Pop one on with a miniskirt and some boots and you are ready to rumble. Wear one with tight pants and skyscraper heels, it’s just as good.
Vintage kids and mens western shirts are the best. They get all soft and tissue paper thin, and then they drape perfectly on your body. If they are too small for me, I wear a camisole or cute tank underneath and only do up one snap.
I purposely always use random stuff from my own closet to illustrate my styling ideas for you because 1) we have no budget and 2) the point is just to provide inspiration. It's only a starting point. Go put some of this crap together yourself if you like. Have fun. Make mistakes. Be groovy. Get inspired. Don’t follow rules.
I know I sound like a broken record, but if you ever take one thing I say to heart, it’s this: BE YOU. Hi, my name is Alison, and I am a label whore Texas bumpkin.