When we think of the American cowboy, we think of the freedom and spirit of the American West. The cowboy's job was to tend the cattle, which were living out on the plains and in mountainous areas throughout the Western states. The cowboy rode a horse in order to accomplish his many tasks associated with cattle care and wrangling, and thus the cowboy clothing worn was there to help him get his job done efficiently. There are still cowboys today, and many people who love the West enjoy dressing in the style of the cowboy in order to feel a part of that amazing heritage. There are certain items of cowboy clothing that are worn to this day that reflect a cowboy aesthetic.
Cowboys of both yesteryear and today are noted for their head gear. The cowboy hat typically has a wide brim, and this is to keep the cowboy's face from being harmed by bright sunlight that can burn the skin, or heavy rain that can get down the neck of the shirt. The hat is one of the main symbols of the cowboy that can be worn by anyone, whether on horseback or not, today.
Cowboys needed clothing that was tough, which could stand up to the rigors of working in a rugged outdoor environment. The pants of choice worn by the cowboy was the denim jean, which had a sweeping influence over fashion through the years, and which continue to be worn to this day. The jeans needed to be fitted so as not to get caught in equipment, and needed to be smooth on the inner parts of the leg so that the seams did not rub against the legs and the saddle when riding astride a horse.
Cowboys of old, as well as people who dress like cowboys today, could add a little color to their outfits through their choice of shirts. The twill shirt was popular for this reason. A twill shirt was lightweight, and a good choice for wearing in hot summer months. Denim shirts were also popular for the durability and protection that the denim fabric provided. The denim shirts were usually long sleeved, and this was to help protect the cowboy's arms from getting scratched by brush and to prevent lariat ropes from rubbing again the skin of the arms.
Western wear hats, pants, shirts and other items of clothing made for cowboys can be found today from quality western wear dealers, and look as good in the city as well they do on the ranch.