I’ve always had a weakness for cowboy fashion, and when we visit Saskatchewan, we always drop by the big Cowtown store in Regina to do our bit for the Prairie economy, not that it needs it what with grains and potash and petroleum all booming.

The store is pretty big, but it’s the smallest of the buildings clustered around the Masterfeeds parking lot.

Masterfeeds depot in Regina, Saskatchewan

Masterfeeds actually owns & operates Cowtown, and downstairs there’s more animal food than anything else, along with a weird assortment of exotic pets; you can pick up a tarantula or chameleon along with your horse chow.

Upstairs though, it’s Western Wear.

The Western Wear department at Cowtown

I like denim and checks and plaids and, and I’ve never understood why you’d want buttons on a shirt when you can have pearl- or black-fronted snaps.

Jeans · There’s a rule somewhere that says programmers should wear black jeans and I guess cowboys can too, because Cowtown’s got almost as much black as blue. Shopping for jeans is a powerful illustration of the virtue of standards. A jean’s core size is defined by a pair of numbers, given in inches: waist leg. A good men’s jean store will have a huge number of combinations ranging from a beanpole 28-40 to a fireplug 48-28, repeated across two or three “cuts”, from two or three manufacturers. If you know your size, all you have to do is try on this year’s cuts and see what works.

Prices were down a bit this year, C$38, which really isn’t bad for a good pair of jeans offered in a wide selection of sizes and shapes.

Shirts · You’ll often spot some genuine cowpokes at Cowtown, and on average they’re not much bigger than me, which makes me wonder why they have multiple racks of XL and XXL and 3XL shirts, one rack of L (usually LT where T is for “tall”), and a few M here and there. I’m pretty medium but can manage a T, a LT even if I don’t mind the shirt-tails reaching for my knees. Still, it’s a mystery.

There was an initially nifty-looking line of mostly-pink styles, with advertising featuring manly cowboys and the tag-line “Tough enough to wear pink.” I like pink, so I was interested. The shirts also had a little pink-ribbon breast-cancer badge, which was good; but then also a big lurid Wrangler logo; pfui.

Wrangler · Speaking of which, Cowtown had lots of brands, but the two pairs of jeans (cowboy cut, slim-fit variation) and three shirts I bought were all from Wrangler. Doubtless supporting some Chinese sweatshop with my Western-Wear dollars.



Contributions

Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Janne (Aug 31 2008, at 00:34)

I've found there's a real innovation in trouser fitting here in Japan. Jeans - or any pants - come only marked with waist size, and no inseam length. The trousers themselves are always way too long. When you decide on a pair, the shop clerk will quickly fold the legs up to the length you want. You pay, leave for an hour, and come back to pick up your newly finished pants, with the leg length exactly like you wanted them.

With only one number to look for you're much more certain to find a pair that fits you even if you're slightly off on the bell curve (quite likely if you're a westerner in Japan). And you can get a pair of dress pants that fits the exact shoes you're going to wear without any extra hassle or cost.

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From: Rob (Aug 31 2008, at 09:42)

There is a better than even chance that your Wranglers were assembled in Winnipeg in the GWG factory, where indeed, many Chinese and Filipino ex-pats are employed, as they have been for well over 100 years, assembling jeans for cow-folk.

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From: Jeremy (Sep 04 2008, at 11:09)

I may be late to this particular wake, but given your fondness for western wear, did you know that the man you ought to thank died in August? I read Jack Weil's obituary in The Economist, but there are others. I had no idea who he was or what we all owe him. Now I do.

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August 30, 2008
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