From Dafna Steinberg. Follow her @AlizaySteinberg. Email her at dafna[AT]borderstan.com.
Hello Borderstan! Once again, I am writing to you from New Mexico. You may remember my February column written from Santa Fe. I’m back in the Land of Enchantment completing an artist residency in the town of Truth or Consequences (yes, it’s a real place… look it up!). So, between soaks in the hot springs, I figured I’d write another column about Western fashion. Because, as you may all know, I’m in love with it.
In the last column, I went over the basics: Bandanas, cowboy hats, boots, etc. This time, I’m upping the ante a bit and challenging those of you who want to step out of your comfort zones. (Okay, these suggestions aren’t going to be that crazy, but give me some points for dramatics)
You know… the strings that hang down, not the sci-fi TV show. To be perfectly honest, this one is more for the ladies than it is for the guys (though guys can rock it too). Fringe can be tricky. For one thing, not everyone feels comfortable wearing it. Sometimes it gets in the way, or it annoys people when it swishes.
But it still is a pretty popular part of Southwest and Western fashion. It’s on jackets, t-shirts, sweatshirts and more. You even find it on boots and bags. Out here, I’ve discovered a new love for t-shirts that have been cut to make the bottoms and sleeves fringed. The fringe is then accentuated with beads and other trinkets. Fringe is a fun way to dress up a casual look. For instance, throw on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt, add a fringed jacket and you are good to go.
Sterling Silver and Turquoise
A staple part of any Southwestern wardrobe. Sterling silver is one of the many metals mined here in New Mexico. Along with the turquoise found here and in Arizona, there are a good amount of materials to use for jewelry. The styles of jewelry differ and depend on the artist crafting them as well as (in many cases) the native tribes each jeweler comes from. Crafters from the Zuni tribe, for instance, use a method of inlaying different stones to create various designs or even figures in their jewelry.
And just like the different jewelers, there are also different kinds of turquoise. (My personal favorite is Sleeping Beauty turquoise… not just for the name, but for its beautifully rich color). There is too much info for me to write here, but you can find some great resources online explaining how to tell real from fake. And remember… real sterling silver will always be stamped with a 925 or the word “sterling.”
Harley Davidson T-Shirts
Really this should say “Harley Davidson Anything,” but I figured t-shirts were the easiest item of clothing to talk about. Motorcycle culture is quite big out in New Mexico as it is in many other parts of the Southwest. Where I am, there are bikers zooming by every other minute.
Almost all of them are riding Harleys. The clothes that they wear are more for practicality. Wearing leather chaps or jackets may not be ideal in the summer time, but it’ll be like having an extra layer of skin should you be in an accident. Leather Harley vests are quite popular (some of them even have fringe!). But nothing beats a good Harley Davidson t-shirt. Even better if you can find a vintage one!
Well all, I hope this gave you a little bit more of a taste for the Southwest. It’s definitely a great place to visit as well as find great fashion inspiration. Until next time.