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Southwest Fashions
If it fits, Wear it -
by Cheryl Bruedigam

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 long-lasting.

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, and comfortably.

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."

woman in cowboy hat


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