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Cowboy Sartorialism: What to wear to a 4th of July Party

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Provided you’re not headed to a rodeo (we’ve got you covered there, btw) or parade, chances are you’ll be doing the most American thing on the most American holiday: cooking meats over a fire while enjoying cold beverages.

This holiday is all about freedom, so let’s lay down some quick guidelines and get back to thinking about burgers.

Hat

Your favorite straw hat or ball cap. Do wear a hat if you’re outside. Skin cancer sucks.

Shirt

Anything short sleeved with an open weave is going to be good. It’ll let air through your shirt. Stick with natural fabrics. Cotton is great, provided it’s thin and breathes. Polo shirts are good too. They have a collar to help protect your neck from the sun, they look nicer than t-shirts, and they can be found in whatever price you’re willing to spend. I like solid colors because they’re slimming and easier to match with things.

If you think you can pull it off, and this is a big one, might I also recommend the venerable guayabera?

images

Beloved by barbers and grandpas near and far.

These shirts were designed for warm freaking hot weather. They look dressy enough and are considered formal attire (or formal enough) in many countries. Guayberas (some people know them as Mexican Wedding Shirts) can be found at JC Penney’s, online, or pretty much any thrift store.

The big if here, and it is a big one, is IF you can wear this without looking like the waiter at a touristy Mexican restaurant, you’ll find them comfortable and easy to wear everywhere. A couple of my friends and I bought some to wear to work on Fridays. It was miserable. For the most part, we looked like we should be explaining what enchiladas were rather than our actual jobs. Secondly, if you’re a ruddy complected white guy, like me, it might not be the best match. Third, wearing those shirts made for fun activities at work made us feel like we going to school on Saturday. Fourth, holy crap, we looked like we should be serving margaritas to a casino junket full of seniors from Sheboygan.

Guayaberas run a little big and boxy, it can be hard to find one that fits well without making you look like you’re carrying a bunch of extra weight.

So there’s all the ifs: IF you can find one that fits, IF it doesn’t look silly on you, IF you have the confidence to pull it off, guayaberas are awesome.

I guess the same goes with Hawaiian shirts. Homer Simpson says only big, fat party animals wear Hawaiian shirts and most of the time, that’s pretty much how you look. I finally gave the last of mine away for that reason.

Linen is ok, if you have a short sleeved linen shirt, but I’ve always found it a pain in the ass to keep it looking “artfully rumpled” instead of a “straight up disaster.”

I’m staying with my polo shirt.

The Rest

Wear your most comfortable, ratty jeans. Low rising boots like ropers are good too. Leave your shirt untucked, it ventilates you better that way. Don’t wear a belt. Do wear sunglasses and sunscreen.

I went 18 years without wearing shorts in public, in West Texas, triple degree, no humidity heat. This year, I finally broke. I’ll wear shorts if I’m going out to a backyard cookout.

 

A tip: if you’re wearing a lighter colored, see through fabric, a gray undershirt will not show through it as much as a white one.

(One more tip: drink water in between beers. You’ll be happier in the morning and it might save you a trip to the ER.)

 

ONE FINAL SUPER IMPORTANT TIP:

Be really careful with any fireworks you might have. Take lots of precautions against fires. Fire extinguishers, buckets of water, shovels, the works. Wildfires devastate the arid west, and it seems like they get worse every year. Maybe even let the pros do the fireworks if that’s an option where you live.

 

Happy ‘Merica Day!

 

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About Seth

Bury my heart in West Texas.

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