July 3, 2014 12:39 pm

Style Guide: What to wear to the Calgary Stampede

Kaija McLaughlan, four, couldn't decide which hat to wear on Friday, July 4, 2008.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Worried about finding the perfect outfit to wear to the Calgary Stampede? Or what’s appropriate attire for your Stampede office party?

We have some helpful hints about Stampede style:

Tops: Button-ups and chambray

When it comes to western-inspired tops, checkered prints and button-ups are frequently-seen favourites on the Stampede grounds.

For women, try a chambray top from brands like Current/Elloitt, Equipment and Joie.

“These are great for any body type, they are light weight and easy to dress up or down,” says Holt Renfrew personal shopper Nico Szigety, who advises layering your top with a blazer or your favourite fitted leather jacket.

For men, Szigety suggests Rag and Bone button-ups, which he says are a great length to wear either tucked in or normal.

“If you are layering a dress shirt with a blazer, try something with a dynamic check from a brand like Etro or Paul Smith,” he adds.

“You can never go wrong with a crisp white dress shirt, no matter the occasion.”

Bottoms: Denim jeans and leather leggings

It comes as no surprise that denim jeans continue to be a top trend in Stampede fashion.

For women, if you’re going with jeans Szigety suggests a low rise skinny in a solid, indigo wash.

“You can dress up your denim with a blazer and heels, or opt for a leather jacket and flats.”

If you like to get a little more dressed up, you can still wear denim, but try a pair of dove grey jeans instead.

Or, if your event is something more casual like a Stampede breakfast, try distressed denim.

“Leather leggings are also an excellent option for evening events,” adds Szigety.

For men, Szigety says denim has become simpler over the last few seasons.

“Opt for a straight leg or silhouette that is a bit more fitted.”

Shoes: leather and fringe

Obviously, a major part of western-inspired fashion comes down to your boots.

For women, try a pair of ankle boots with fringe — or if it’s hot out, you can wear espadrille wedges instead.

For men, you can still wear a dress shoe – although depending on the event, they might get dirty.

“Some of my favourite options for men in footwear are in shades of brown leather like cognac and chocolate brown,” says Szigety.


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No boots? No hat? No problem!

Although cowboy boots and cowboy hats are considered stables when dressing for the Calgary Stampede, it is possible to wear a western look without them.

“Incorporate a few western inspired pieces into your wardrobe,” suggests Szigety. “These could be silver jewellery or a Chloe saddle bag. A great pair of jeans can go a long way if you accessorize properly.”

Dressing for the occasion

Before you pull on your favorite boots and button-up top, think about where you’re headed.

It should come as no surprise that dressing for a night out at one of the Stampede’s infamous western watering holes is very different than dressing for an office Stampede party.

“I think it comes down to how far you take your outfit and what is appropriate in your workplace,” says Szigety.

“At the end of the day, you still need to represent yourself and your organization in an appropriate manner.”

Stampede’s new mercantile collection

Calgary designer Paul Hardy has teamed up with the Calgary Stampede to launch the CS Mercantile Collection.

The clothing will be sold online, and at three locations on the grounds during the 2014 Calgary Stampede.

“We really want to appeal to the next generation of young college and corporate” says Hardy.

“We really wanted to do a series of things that could exist outside of ten days,” says Hardy. “I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be nice if we could turn this into an annual type of store that really has more of an urban western feel.’”

The collection offers everything from custom bandanas and cowboy hats to cowboy boots.

“We’ve procured a lot of different venders of jewelry and handbags and shoes that are from all over the world – and are exclusive to the CS Mercantile,” adds Hardy.

WATCH: Paul Hardy joins Global Calgary to discuss his role with the Stampede’s new mercantile collection

Life after Stampede

Just because the ten days of Stampede have come and gone, it doesn’t mean you have to retire your western collection.

In fact, a touch of western inspiration can be seen among many big name labels right now.

“There are definitely many western influences in fashion this season,” says Szigety. “Chanel’s current collection is completely Western inspired for example.”

Keep a few of your favourite pieces handy to incorporate into your summer attire

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