Q: Is it acceptable to wear cowboy boots with cuffed trousers these days?
Cody Fowler, Eulogy
A: The Texanist has been known to wear cowboy boots and he has been known to wear britches with cuffs—and occasionally he’s done both at the same time. But while he is still frequently seen tromping around in his boots, he hardly ever does so in cuffed pants these days. As Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys so eloquently put it, “time changes everything,” including, apparently, the Texanist’s sartorial choices. Lately, it seems, the Texanist finds himself somewhat cuff-averse. He also, incidentally, finds himself somewhat pleats-averse, which is perhaps not altogether surprising. In the Texanist’s wardrobe, as it turns out, pleats and cuffs tended to go together—and when it was time to drop off that box of old clothes at Goodwill, away they did go together.
But enough about the Texanist’s utterly fascinating pants history, which is arguably of interest only to the Texanist and the Texanist’s tailor. Let’s get back to the question at hand: Is it acceptable for one to wear cowboy boots with cuffed trousers?
Whenever trousers cross the mind of a Texan, it’s likely that mind will immediately turn to the state’s undisputed number one purveyor of pants, Haggar Clothing, which has been in the business of haberdashery since its Dallas founding nearly a hundred years ago. Not a lot of people know this, but Haggar coined the term “slacks” in 1938. And probably fewer people are aware that it was Haggar that created the first ever pre-cuffed pant, which it did in 1940. Haggar has also been responsible for providing the Pro Football Hall of Fame with its iconic gold jackets since 1978, a fact that hardly anybody knows. (Congratulations, by the way, to the class of 2021’s Drew Pearson!) And it was Haggar, you may recall, that was Lyndon Johnson’s favored pants brand, as we learned a few years ago, when the infamous, PG-13-rated recording of an August 9, 1964, conversation between the thirty-sixth president of the United States of America and the second-generation pants man Joe Haggar was released. (It was, almost certainly, the first and only recording of a sitting president audibly belching and using the words “nuts” and “bunghole.”)
It’s for these reasons that whenever a question pertaining to pants crosses his desk, the Texanist makes a point of reaching out to the Haggar offices. And when he reached Tony Anzovino, who heads up all of Haggar’s design and product development, he was kindly informed that while Anzovino is not himself a wearer of cowboy boots, he knows many folks who are. Among that crowd, Anzovino assured the Texanist, there are plenty of fellas who wear their boots with cuffed trousers. “And the ones who wear cuffed dress pants tend to wear a classic fit with pleats. I see older gentlemen wear their trousers like this frequently,” Anzovino said. Further, cuffs—especially in classic-fit trousers—never go out of style, he said. The same, he said, goes for pleats. (Let it be noted that at no time during this exchange was the Texanist tempted to use the words “nuts” or “bunghole.” Or to belch.)
But while the Texanist was happy to have the perspective of a pants man and appreciated Mr. Anzovino’s time, he figured getting an additional viewpoint, that of a boot man, also made sense. So, for a little further insight he reached out to Paul Hedrick, the sharp-dressed founder and CEO of the popular Texas boot brand Tecovas. Hedrick, who is, naturally, enthusiastic about boots, indulged the Texanist. “People can wear boots for so many different reasons and in so many different ways,” said the entrepreneur whose business model depends on people doing exactly that. “You can rock them with cutoff jeans, with trim-cut suits—as long as there is ample room for the shaft of the boot—with cuffed jeans, with ‘stacked’ jeans, with cuffed trousers, with dressy clothes, with tees, and with dirty jeans.”
“My short answer,” Hedrick went on, “is that it’s acceptable to wear cowboy boots with nearly any style of jeans, chinos, slacks, or suit pants/trousers that fit your own personal style.”
The Texanist finds no fault with either Anzovino’s or Hedrick’s takes—save maybe for the mention of the cutoffs. Though there are doubtless many gals who can pull off that look with aplomb, the Texanist is pretty sure no one needs to see his pasty white thighs displayed in such a manner. (You’re welcome, Texas.)
But you didn’t ask about cowboy boots and cutoff jeans and the propriety of the Texanist ever attempting such a getup, Mr. Fowler; you asked a much more reasonable question about cowboy boots and cuffed trousers. And, having consulted experts in the fields of both trousers and boots, the Texanist feels quite confident in saying that if cuffed trousers are your pant of choice, you should feel free to pair a pair with most any pair of footwear you like—especially cowboy boots, which, after all, have been the official footwear of Texas since 2007. (As of yet the state is without an official pant, cuffed or otherwise.)
The Texanist thanks you for the letter and will leave you with but one thing to consider: Mind that inseam length. When wearing boots with cuffed trousers, you’ll want the pant leg to at least reach the bottom of the heel counter. Look for a solid half to a full break. Good luck!
Have a question for the Texanist? He’s always available here. Be sure to tell him where you’re from.