Prior to Weil’s designs, the pioneer didn’t always have the luxury of choice in regards to fabrics. Before the railroad system made it easier to obtain cottons and wools, most frontier folks had to make do with animal skins. Fashion relied on the blending of cultures by way of trading posts that offered a unique sampling of goods. The proprietors would often trade with folks from wagon trains and thus had a wide array of goods for sale as these travelers would barter items from their country of origin for more practical staples.
Needless to say, western wear evolved out of a need for comfort and durability. The signature yoke showed up in the early 1900s to make the shoulder area sturdier. In addition, shirt tails became longer so they wouldn’t pull out when riding a horse.
Jack Arnold Weil founded the Denver-based western clothing manufacturer, Rockmount Ranch Wear. His goal was to create an identity for working ranchers through fashion. At the time, the film industry was making serious strides in gaining public adoration. Many of his western designs were worn by the stars who portrayed western characters. Wild West Shows and dime novels also perpetuated America’s fascination with the west.
Along with the fashion statement associated with the west, he was the first to put snaps on his shirts and he invented the bolo tie.
"The West is not a place, it is a state of mind." ~ Jack Arnold Weil.
Silver Spur Guest Ranch in Bandera, TX. I loved every moment. The staff made us all feel special and were very patient with those of us who could be labeled “city slickers.” I signed up for the early morning trail ride which I was a little nervous about. When I was twelve, I was on a trail ride in which the horse decided to run off with me. I held on for dear life and bounced past the rest of the riders. I remember one of the workers coming after me and getting the horse under control but still the fear has always been with me. But not this time. This time the wranglers teaching us what to do and what not to do were very patient and thorough. I climbed onto the horse like I knew what I was doing and had a most enjoyable ride (even if I did keep leaning to the left a bit in the saddle).
And though I didn’t have on my “yoked” cowboy shirt, I did remember to wear my cowboy hat and boots. Yay me!