What to Wear to a Rodeo: Quick Tips for Guys & Gals

Rodeos have long been a staple of American culture, dating back to the traditions of Spanish vaqueros and Mexican charros. With the rodeo season now in full swing across the country, you may find yourself wondering—what exactly does one wear to a rodeo?

While denim, boots, and cowboy hats are standard, the question of proper rodeo attire can seem overwhelming for first-timers.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about dressing for a rodeo, including:

  • Key factors to keep in mind when choosing your outfit
  • Top picks for tops, bottoms, footwear, and accessories
  • Rodeo outfit inspirations and ideas for every style
  • Helpful tips to pull your look together

So settle in, buckaroo—class is in session! Time to gain an A+ understanding of how to craft a sensational rodeo ensemble.

Things to Consider When Choosing Your Rodeo Outfit

While personal style and comfort should ultimately drive your choices, keep these factors in mind when planning your rodeo outfit:


Consider the formality and feel of the specific rodeo you’re attending. Large outdoor rodeos generally call for casual attire, while an indoor rodeo may require slightly dressier apparel.


Check the forecast and dress accordingly! Choose breathable, lightweight fabrics for hot summer days. Have layers on hand for cooler evenings.


If you’ll be dancing and/or participating in any events like a mechanical bull ride, opt for outfit pieces that allow freedom of movement.


This one’s key—break in any new boots or shoes before the rodeo to avoid painful blisters. Prioritize comfort and support.


No need to break the bank! Shop smart by checking thrift and consignment stores for authentic vintage finds at a fraction of the cost.

Rodeo-Ready Tops

Your top sets the tone for your whole rodeo outfit. Aim for lightweight, breathable fabrics that align with the western aesthetic.

tops for the Rodeo

Button-Down Denim Shirts

A denim button-down shirt is quintessential rodeo wear. Go for a classic blue wash or experiment with black, white, or colored denim.

Tie it at the waist for a cropped look. Roll the sleeves and leave it open over a tank or tee. Look for decorative details like pearl snaps.

Plaid & Chambray Button-Ups

Plaid and chambray button-ups offer rugged style. Look for ones with western-inspired detailing like pearl snaps, embroidered yoke accents, or piping trim.

Tuck them into jeans or tie them around your waist. Roll up the sleeves for a relaxed vibe.

Tanks & Tees

Keep cool in the summer heat with sleeveless tanks or short-sleeve cotton tees. Choose solid colors or graphic prints with a western vibe, like band logos, Americana motifs, or cow skulls. Go for loose, breathable fits.

Dresses & Skirts

Pretty prairie-style dresses and denim or fringe skirts make charming rodeo choices for ladies. Look for intricate embroidered detailing, lace accents, or ruffle trims.

Add leggings or shorts underneath if you want more coverage for activities like mechanical bull riding.

Bottoms for the Rodeo

Your bottom half is just as integral to pulling off authentic rodeo style. Consider these winning options:

Bottoms for the Rodeo


You really can’t go wrong with jeans! Opt for a dark wash with a bootcut, straight leg, or relaxed fit to comfortably accommodate western boots. Look for stylish western details like embroidered back pockets.

Denim Shorts

Cutoff shorts are a summertime rodeo staple. Make sure they’re an appropriate length for the specific event. Distressed details add character.

Skirts & Dresses

As mentioned for tops, prairie-style dresses and denim or fringed skirts make adorable options. Look for maxi lengths to keep cool. Wear with leggings or shorts if desired for activities like bull riding.

Leather Chaps

For traditional cowboy flair, pair jeans with leather chaps. They look great on men and women alike! Seek out embellished pairs with studs or embroidery.

Rodeo Footwear Fundamentals

Protecting your feet should be a top priority. Follow this footwear advice:

  • Wear cowboy boots or leather riding boots! They’re simply essential for the true rodeo experience.
  • Break them in ahead of time. There’s nothing worse than getting blisters at an event.
  • Prioritize comfort. Look for boots with cushioned insoles, flexible materials, and moderate heel heights.
  • Check the weather forecast. Choose boots or shoes that accommodate rain or heat as needed.
  • Bring extra socks. Having dry socks to change into after getting sweaty is a blessing.

Style Your Look with Accessories

Accessories let you express your personal flair while complementing your outfit. Rodeo-worthy accents include:

rodeo Accessories

Cowboy Hats

A cowboy hat is the quintessential rodeo accessory. Look for straw, felt, suede, or leather styles. Make sure to choose one that properly fits your head—it should feel snug but not tight. Stick with neutral colors or make a statement with bright colors or prints.


Around your neck or on your head, a bandana adds a pop of color and western spirit. Fold it neatly and tie it in place. Look for classic paisley prints or rodeo motifs.

Belt & Buckle

A decorative leather belt and large rodeo-sized belt buckle add authentic cowboy/girl energy. Go for high-quality materials like engraved leather and silver. The buckle should be big, bold, and eye-catching.

Boots & Chaps

We covered their functional importance—but exotic leather cowboy boots and leather chaps or leggings also contribute major style points. Seek out unique materials, embellishments, colors and textures.

Bolo Tie

A bolo tie at your neck provides an old-fashioned cowboy look. Opt for ones with intricate details, engraved silver tips, and turquoise or onyx embellishments. Let it sit at chest level for proper placement.

Now let’s explore how to put together complete head-to-toe rodeo looks to suit any personal aesthetic!

All-American Cowgirl

  • White eyelet prairie dress
  • Dark wash bootcut jeans
  • Brown leather cowboy boots
  • Woven leather belt
  • Straw cowboy hat
  • Bandana around neck

This feminine ensemble brings all-American cowboy culture to life. You’ll look sweet and patriotic!

Modern Western Chic

  • Chambray button-up shirt open over a black tank
  • Distressed blue skinny jeans
  • Black ankle cowboy boots
  • Multiple layered necklaces with turquoise accents
  • Black felt cowboy hat

This sleek look blends modern minimalism with traditional western details for contemporary cowboy/girl vibes.

Retro Rodeo Cool

  • High-waisted faded vintage Wrangler jeans
  • Red & white gingham button-up tied at waist
  • White pointed-toe cowboy boots
  • Turquoise bolo tie
  • Vintage straw cowboy hat
  • Patterned hair scarf

Get ready to two-step back in time with this fun retro-inspired outfit! Vintage thrift store finds make it authentic.

Edgy Western Punk

  • Oversized graphic tee with western print
  • Black denim cutoff shorts
  • Fringed suede ankle boots
  • Tattoo choker necklaces
  • Plaid flannel shirt around hips
  • Black cowboy hat

Show your rebellious side in this edgy punk rock look with western accents. It’s perfect if you want to stand out!

Dapper Cowboy

  • Dark wash straight leg jeans
  • Chambray button-up shirt
  • Cognac leather cowboy boots
  • Large rodeo belt buckle
  • Felt cowboy hat
  • Bolo tie with turquoise tips

You’ll be the most stylish chap at the rodeo when you don this refined yet rugged cowboy outfit.

Helpful Tips for Pulling Your Rodeo Look Together

You have all the pieces—now here are some finishing touches to flawlessly pull off your rodeo outfit:

  • Check yourself out in a mirror to ensure nothing is revealing or ill-fitted. Rodeos are family-friendly venues.
  • Break those boots in ahead of time! There’s nothing worse than blisters.
  • Pack necessities: sunscreen, hat, bandana, light jacket, hair tie, etc.
  • Know the dress code. Some rodeos have rules against revealing clothing.
  • Label your belongings, especially your hat if you take it off.
  • Mind your outfit while eating. Rodeo fare can get messy! Avoid light colors.
  • Scope out seating in dirt versus concrete areas to minimize stains.
  • Come prepared to shop! Rodeos have great vendors for outfit souvenirs.


Preparing the perfect ensemble for a rodeo may seem daunting. But armed with these tips and outfit ideas, you’re guaranteed to dress to impress.

Most importantly, choose pieces aligned with your personal comfort, style, and the event’s dress code. With the right rodeo outfit, you’ll blend right in with the spirited festivities.

Now get ready to let that rodeo rock, cowpoke! Saddle up your horse, polish those boots, and ride on into the rodeo arena in true western style. Don’t forget to leave a comment below and let me know which rodeo outfit you decide on. Happy trails!

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