If it fits, Wear it - by Cheryl
How do women of the southwest US dress? We have women
from many walks of life here in the southwest, women who
wear your everyday fashions found all across the nation
but we also have fashions here that are as distinctive
as the women who wear them and the lives they lead.
Many women in the southwest are not just one style,
they are many styles for the many facets of their lives.
One day youíre a cowgirl because the rodeo is on or your
kid is in Ag or you live on one of our many ranches.
Another day youíre at work in your business suit and on
Saturday mornings youíre down on the square feeling hip
and hippie buying veggies and goods for your self or
family while you may spend Sunday afternoon delving in
your favorite creative project in your favorite old
hang-out clothes. Itís a lifestyle, itís a fit, and if
it fits, wear it.
Our fashions are culturally influenced, sometimes
colorful, many times earthy, with a big dose of
individuality. But there are a few items essential to
any wardrobe out here in the southwest, regardless of
the cultural influences, items that fit the lifestyle.
Southwestern Wardrobe Basics
Tank-tops - These underrated little gems are just
what you need when the air is hot one hour and cool the
next. Acting as a base, they can take you throughout the
day, simply throw on a light tee or sweater when the
temperatures drop. In colder weather they make a
terrific undershirt, and in warm weather, theyíre all
you need. Get one in every color in various materials so
they can be worn with jeans or beneath a business suit.
Jeans - Need I say more?
Faux or Sheepskin Jacket - these are lightweight but
keep you warm.
A hoodie-tee - Days can be extremely windy in the
southwest and a lightweight hoodie-tee can be just the
right thing to quickly whip over your head.
Khaki shorts - squirrelly? In 1969 maybe, today, no.
Especially not when paired with one of your black tanks,
your hiking boots, a cap and sunglasses. But get the
right length; too short and youíre out of place; too
long and weíre back to 1969.
For business dress, try a long sweeping skirt,
lightweight jacket belted with the largest turquoise
belt you can find; add low-healed boots (see below),
more turquoise and youíre set!
Something gauzy, hippie, alternative - for when the
mood hits or a night on the town.
For your Feet - We walk a lot in the southwest. We
have beautifully sunny days almost year round and wide
open spaces. Comfortable, functional and durable all
come to mind. There are a lot of options listed below
but the southwest has such varied terrain and occasions
that itís really a necessity.
River sandals - functional, durable, water-proof and
Boots, low-to-no heal. Test-drive your favorite pair
on the Plaza in Santa Fe. If they canít make the trek,
get a new pair.
Hiking boots - need to be comfortable and sturdy with
good ankle support and should live in the trunk of your
car. Honest to gosh, one never knows out here when the
sudden urge may hit, there are just too many wondrous
trails to explore.
If you jog, walk for exercise, or bike, you will want
to include a pair of athletic shoes. We are active out
here and the right shoes matter!
A personal favorite and must have, moccasins.
Whatever your style, indoor, outdoor, knee-high, flat
sole, lined, unlined. They will serve you long, well,
What about when you go somewhere else? Obviously this
is a basic list for here at home, around and about town,
out in the wild. But itís just possible that when people
know youíre coming in from the southwest, they expect
(secretly hope) to see a little, so it may not be out of
place at all. As a matter of fact, if I ever make it to
the Grammys or the Academy, rather than worry what
designer gown to buy, I hope to say, "I apologize for
not having had time to change, but I just stepped off
the plane from Santa Fe."