Stampede style: How to plan your look when moving from the office to the midway

Looking stylish during Stampede is about so much more than wearing plaid shirts, short shorts, and cowboy boots.

Looking stylish during Stampede is about so much more than wearing plaid shirts, short shorts, and cowboy boots.


This year, Stampede will be even more of a celebration than ever — a revival of sorts since much of the city was still shut down last year after the epic flood that occurred just before the big week. So many of us go straight to Stampede from the office, and it can be a challenge to figure out how to wear clothes that are appropriate for work, but still participate in Stampede style. We figured out how to marry the two — most people have a stampede section in their closet anyway, and it’s all about taking those pieces and incorporating them into your wardrobe.

To get these looks, you don’t have to necessarily go shopping. Shop your own closet to find new ways of pairing items in Stampede-appropriate ways. Pair your cowboy boots with dresses, and pull out your denim shirts and jackets to add a touch of classic Stampede style.

As clichéd as it may seem to wear traditional cowboy fare, like cowboy hats, cowboy boots, and plaid shirts, the trick is to not make your look too costume-like, advises Phaedra Godchild, one half of the styling team Styleista, the official stylists for The Core Shopping Centre. “Don’t let your style slip just because it’s Stampede,” she continues, “but pair Stampede-appropriate pieces with what’s already in your wardrobe — just don’t put on all your Stampede gear at once.”

For an easy Stampede look, take a dress that’s already in your closet — this can be from a wedding or vacation — and just belt it, add boots, and a denim jacket for Stampede time. Our dress is from Tristan ($175), denim jacket from Aritzia ($98), and boots from Aldo ($150).

Men can opt to wear jeans — if it’s OK in their workplace — and pair them with a fun shirt, which would even go with dress pants. Lighter washes of jeans are more in style these days, so opt for those if you can. Norm wears jeans from Etro ($498), a shirt by Robert Graham ($185), and comfortable loafers by Tods ($520) (all clothes from Harry Rosen).

Turning your outfit into something suitable for suitable for Stampede doesn’t mean that you have to make everything more casual. For our second look, we added gold Gucci horse bit accessories (from Maison Birks, price upon request), to add a stampede element to a Judith and Charles dress ($385) and added boots.

Men can add a cowboy hat to almost any outfit (Smithbilt hat from Hanson Allen, prices vary) — in this case an Etro shirt ($350) and AG jeans ($210). Boots don’t have to be of the cowboy variety — feel free to wear a taller formal boot to add a rugged element to your style without making it too casual (John Varvatos boots $350 — all clothes from Harry Rosen). Wearing a different kind of boot also helps keep the style from becoming too uniform-like. Pick either a cowboy hat or cowboy boots — not both!

Other tips from Godchild: stay away from heavily stitched or embellished denim, which can look dated. Don’t wear tightly-buttoned shirts (this goes for men and women!). We paired a light wash of jeans (Rag and Bone from Aritzia $210) with a shirt and blazer that is work-appropriate any time of year ($110 and $195 respectively, both from Aritzia). Don’t forget that an option is to wear your regular work shoes during the day, and keep your boots at your desk for when you need them. This short bootie by Aldo ($140) also comes in black, and in a taller version as well. Godchild recommends going authentic when it comes to cowboy boots — make sure they’re not too pointy and stay away from the high-heeled variety.

Finally, if you work in an office environment where a dress code is more strictly enforced, there are ways that you too can participate in Stampede style. Aim to incorporate subtle elements that are classic Stampede. Our Brooks Brother outfit has roping on the silk scarf ($272), and tops off a paisley skirt ($215) and a button-up shirt ($108) — both that are classic Stampede.

Stampede is definitely an event that takes over the city and even if you’re unable to attend events during the day, it’s safe to say that you’ll want to look like you’re ready to participate in everything Stampede has to offer.


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