What Makes a Great Cowboy Costume?

What Makes a Great Cowboy Costume?

If you’re looking into something to dress up as to an upcoming costume party, being a cowboy would be an ideal choice for both men and women. There are great examples from cowboy movies with various different styles that can inspire you. You can go for the early Hollywood clean look. Think Roy Rogers and Sally Star.

This look was shown in the movie Back to the Future 3 when Marty had to go back to 1885 and had to dress as a cowboy. Unfortunate for Marty, he didn’t quite fit in with his 1950’s clean cowboy look, which was out of place compared to the rough, dingy, dirty looking cowboys at the time.

back to the future 3 costume

You can go for the Clint Eastwood look in his famous movies. The dirty, rough, and ready to shoot look. The look that makes it look like you just came out of the old west or The Good, the Bad, And the Ugly.

The following is a brief guide on how to dress like a cowboy. Here are the 5 key areas that are broken down to help you get the right cowboy look.



A cowboy hat is serious business. The two main considerations here are material and shape.  Hat quality is determined by the number of “X’s” a hat has, however there is no industry standard for “X’s” so one company’s 10X could be another company’s 20X.

If a quality felt hat is not in the budget try getting a nice looking straw hat. They tend to be a much cooler (temperature-wise) option for the summer too.


Equally important to what you sport on your head is what you choose to put on your feet. There are many styles to choose from. To lace-up boot to pointy toed boots or “cockroach killers”  as they’re called.  Or you can go for a simple roper-style boot with a flat heel and a round or square toe.



My best advice is to keep it simple, and avoid drawing a lot of attention to the area.  If you still want a silver looking buckle keep it simple not flashy, unless you fo want  to go more as the 1950’ style cowboy.

In the interest of cost and wear ability, your best bet might be to just buy a simple leather belt that comes with a tasteful buckle. If your boots are brown, buy a brown belt. It doesn’t necessarily need to be the same shade. Same thing goes for black. You can even find belts that are black and brown to wear with either color boots.


When it comes to jeans, I would recommend sticking with a signature western brand like Wrangler, 20X (a division of Wrangler), or Cinch.  They come in a plethora of different styles these days, and the style isn’t all that important as long as the fit is right.  Length may be the most crucial part of selecting a good pair of jeans.  Remember, you are going to be wearing them over your boots, so they need to be longer than what you would normally buy to wear with shoes.  They need to “stack” a little bit so that they still cover the tops of your boots when you are sitting down. If you typically wear a 32″ inseam, you might want to buy a 34″.

cowboy hat


Last but not least, the “cowboy shirt”.   A nice button down whether long sleeved or short will look the best. Retro styles are very popular too. Some are your basic “plaid with pearl snaps” numbers which are fine; others have some pretty funky graphics..

For best results, stick with the five basics above and add the bolo ties, bandanas, spurs, chaps and any other accessories. However, please remember, the more items you try to work into your ensemble, the greater chance you have of a direct violation of the cowboy dress code, which is what we are trying to avoid here.


If you’re really wanting to impress everyone at your upcoming Cowboy costume party why not shop one of our authentic cowboy ponchos here, a replica of the one worn by the one and only Clint Eastwood in the Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western trilogy.

fistful of dollars poncho

Now that you look the part, you just need to come up with a good story for the first person who asks you where you parked your pony.  And remember, chicks dig cowboys, so the more authentic you look the better chance you have of collecting a phone number or two before the night is over.  Don’t worry, you can thank me later.

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