Eva Longoria? Jerry Hall? Seriously? As a Texas native, I was sad not to see Barbara Jordan and Stevie Ray Vaughan on your list of the thirty most stylish Texans in place of these two [“Styles and Styles of Texas,” March 2009].
You missed a big one: Alvin Ailey, from Rogers.
Your account of George Strait’s style went on at some length about his calf-roping skills and even included a description of his “low-heeled boots so he could run to a roped calf when he dismounted.” George Strait is not a tie-down roper; he is a team roper. He is, in fact, an accomplished team roper and each year in San Antonio hosts one of the highest-paying ropings in the nation. Texans are as serious about their rodeo events as they are devoted to the living legend George Strait. Since you can’t get much more Texan than putting the two together, I thought it warranted a correction.
Editors’ Note: Your point was actually raised in the office just prior to publication by none other than our in-house advice guy, the Texanist. The prevailing argument, however, was that our description referred to South Texas calf ropers in general and not to the team roper Strait specifically. Upon rereading the item, we understand the confusion and, as is so often the case, wish we’d listened to the Texanist.
Houston socialite, philanthropist, and style maven Lynn Wyatt needs to hire a new PR firm to script her “interviews” so that she doesn’t trip on her own words [“My Life,” March 2009]. She claims that “we need to return to discretion . . . true values. In my opinion, ostentation has never been stylish.” And yet in her interview she says this: “I had a black-tie dinner party . . . in our house on River Oaks Boulevard.” And later, “I met him at a friend’s Park Avenue apartment.” Surely Lynn Wyatt’s inclusion of the “River Oaks” and “Park Avenue” street names in this manner is to convey a specific image and to be, well, um, ostentatious—and to remind us of how fabulous, privileged, and rich she and her friends are. As if we might’ve forgotten why we were reading the article about her in the first place.
“Puffed-up toad” was the phrase that came to mind when I saw Gary Cartwright’s makeover picture [“Hostile Makeover,” March 2009]. The expensive suit is too tight; the tie is tied too short, as if a twelve-year-old kid tied it; and Mr. Cartwright’s hair looks like an old man’s comb-over. Next time he should ask for the expense money as a raise!
If the Boot Fits . . .
To the Texanist [March 2009]: Mostly I have found that a person needs to try several manufacturers of boots, as each one puts its own twist on any given size and style. For those boots that you just can’t live without but happen to have places that bind, pinch, or just squeeze your feet till they hurt like a toothache, there may be some help.
The old cowboys just walked into a pond and filled their boots up with water and walked them dry a time or two before they formed to the respective foot. There is one way that I have used quite successfully that still requires that you walk in them until dry: Take some good ol’ isopropyl alcohol and dob it on the offending places until the leather is soaked through, while the boots are on your feet. If you’re not agile enough to do so, either have someone else saturate the leather for you while you’re in them or pay attention to the culprit spots so that when you take the boots off, you can saturate them with the alcohol and put them back on and take a walk until they are dry. For the very persistent spots, you may need to walk them dry the first time and keep them on for about an hour or two before you take them off. Let your feet recover a day or two and then do the soak-and-walk treatment again. After they fit better and you are satisfied to wear them, take a good leather balm and soak the alcohol spots to restore the moisture in the leather. Polish afterward if you just have to. The shortcut to this is just to try various styles and manufacturers until you find one that is most comfortable and hope it is at least close to what you need for show.
Experienced Boot Wearer (a.k.a. Charles Herman)
Urban Cowboy did just as Christopher Kelly said: It helped Texans to say it was okay to be themselves [Hollywood, TX; March 2009]. For me, the movie was life-changing. See, when John Travolta’s Saturday Night Fever came out, in 1977—I was only ten and growing up in West Texas, not a big city—I thought that that was how a young man was supposed to act, dress, and be. Urban Cowboy helped set me straight and made me proud to be a Texan.
John O. Gillum
As a sixth-generation native-Texan expat now living in Hong Kong, I am frequently asked what I miss about the States. I always answer, “Texas.” I then am always asked, “Why?” Henceforth I will simply carry copies of Mimi Swartz’s article “The Grand Gesture” and hand them to whoever asks that question [Behind the Lines, March 2009]. Mimi explained it all.
Hong Kong, China
Mimi’s column on Texas style made me think of my days in Catholic school. I hated the limitation of uniforms. The only variation was the socks. You could wear white, green, or gold. In about fourth grade I decided I would wear one gold and one green. The nuns were not amused. When they called my mother—God love her—her response was something to the effect that the dress code did not stipulate the socks had to match. Needless to say, next year’s dress code did specify that the socks had to be a matching pair. That bit of insurrection sparked a lifelong irreverence for the norm. I wear what I like when I like and the hell with the rest of the world.