You all know that saying about the grass being greener on the other side of the fence. Well, sometimes for me, it's the other side of the arena.
As a native New Yorker and die-hard city girl, I'm always fascinated and in awe of the effortless and authentic cool of cowgirls. Having a vacation home in Jackson Hole, WY, I also have a closet with plenty of plaid snapfront shirts and cherished western boots that I never get to wear unless I'm trying to ride a horse.
That's where Jamie Putnam comes in as she instructs me and my family Western riding lessons.
Jamie teaches Introduction to Rodeo and regular Western riding lessons at Putnam Horesmanship, when she's not training barrel/ rope horses or herding cattle on the ranch. Being a cowgirl is not an easy job yet there are a certain specific set of style "rules," not unlike the boundaries of French Chic that define the look.
>> MORE: Western Style
Jamie (pictured right above) and her friend Jolene Crane (pictured left above), who is a pro at team roping and barrel racing, were more than happy to entertain me by allowing me to take some fast Iphone pics to share their everyday cowgirl style to you.
As the season premiere of "Modern Family" is tonight and was filmed in Jackson, I thought it was the perfect time to introduce a peek into the look of the real cowgirls of Jackson Hole. I'll be watching the show tonight to see if there's a glimpse of my son who ended up white water rafting along with the show's stars!
Sharon Haver: Tell the readers of FocusOnStyle a little bit about you.
Jamie Putnam: I train barrel/ rope horses and run a program called Introduction to Rodeo, Jackson Hole where I live. I'm orginally from Western New York, south of Buffalo. I rodeo year round and my ultimate goal is to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. I barrel race and team rope.
SH: Jolene says that when it comes to jeans, "it's all about the butt," tell us how what you wear effects what you do.
JP: As as fashion goes, yes, it's important to wear pants that don't make your butt look big and don't ride up over your boots while riding. I have to have boots that are comfortable and a hat that does not blow off. You always want to wear jewelry that sets you apart from the rest.
The reason we wear long sleeve shirts is because if you wear short sleeves when you'reworking on the ranch you are going to get your arms all cut up from trees and you'll get sunburned from being in the sun all day. Short sleeves are also not allowed in rodeo arena.
Boots have to be comfortable; we are in them all day. You also don't want boots that will get hung up in the stirrups. Jolene and I both prefer square toe boots as they are more comfortable and look better.
Your belt is really more of a personal preference and not a necessity.
Wear things that you can move in while getting the job done. If your pants are so tight you can't breathe then you're not going to be able to function. If your boots don't feel good, you are going to be sitting on your butt too much. If your hat blows off all the time, you are going to get pissed that you have to keep getting off your horse to get it!
SH: How do you individualize your cowgirl style?
JP: The personal touch really is in the accessories like jewelry, most of either make our own jewelry or have friends that do- Jolene makes jewlery. We want things that you're not going to see on every Tom, Dick or Harry walking down the street. We wear our trophy buckles, first because we have worked really hard to get them and second because now one else has one like it… they tell a story.
SH: Anything else that's fun?
JP: The style these days are full of more and more bling.. the more the better.. We love color, but never wear yellow as it's bad luck in the arena!
My photos of what Jamie and Jolene are wearing on a regular day from giving riding lessons to rounding up cattle:
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @wycowgirlmom
Published on September 21, 2011