Wyoming Ranchers Laugh At New Yorkers In ‘Chic’ Ranch Wear

Wyoming ranchers couldn't help but laugh when reading a New York Post story about New Yorkers wearing western wear and proclaiming their "hearts were in Wyoming."

Clair McFarland

December 21, 20224 min read

Collage Maker 21 Dec 2022 03 12 PM

Western ranch wear has taken hold of New York City and other urban areas as high fashion thanks to the hit TV show “Yellowstone.” 

And to some Wyomingites, that’s silly.  

The New York Post on Monday published a story entitled “How ‘Yellowstone’ Won Over NYC Fashion: ‘I Want To Be In Wyoming’” featuring New York City residents clicking along the sidewalk in designer cowboy boots.

Now being sold by high-end designers for hundreds or thousands of dollars per garment, the clothing trend is known as “Westerncore.”  

One fashion model said “Everyone’s like, ‘I live in New York City, but mentally I want to be in Wyoming on a ranch.’”

Sure, you do.

‘Real Wyoming Dirt And Dung’ 

At least one Wyoming rancher is left scratching his head at the craze.  

“All these city slickers want to dress like a cowboy until they’d actually have to work like a cowboy,” said Robert Gill, head of the sixth-generation, family-owned Hereford Ranch in Jackson. “It’s one thing to dress the part, it’s another to live the part.”  

Gill said he has a solution for any fashionistas who want to take the craze a step further and try on the clothing culture they’re appropriating: 

“For anyone that wants to put those designer cowboy duds to the test, they can sign up for our summer internship program to put some real Wyoming dirt and dung on those boots.”  

It’s Not Easy Being A Trendsetter 

But for Dennis Sun, a lifelong rancher who owns a plot west of Casper and runs an agriculture newspaper, it’s fun to watch his normal duds ascend to high fashion.  

“It would be good to have a hat I could sell them,” Sun quipped to Cowboy State Daily.  

He said it’s amusing to see “all the stuff we take for commonplace” becoming a fashion fad in major U.S. cities. And he said it’s not the first time this has happened.

After the John Travolta movie “Urban Cowboy” came out in 1980, urbanites rushed to flood the night life in cowboy hats.  

Ranching is hard work, and every garment has its roots in functional needs.  

“I guess the old saying, ‘It’s not easy being a trendsetter,’ has come true,” said Sun, adding, “We’re glad to share it with them.”  

The ‘Yellowstone’ Effect

Sun also theorized that “Yellowstone” fanaticism could be a factor behind the influx of Californians and other heavy-populous areas into Wyoming and other Western states.  

But as he looked out Wednesday at a chaotic blizzard addling the windswept Casper outskirts, Sun said that “if it stays like this, we’ll send the Californians back home, I guess.”  

Yep, This Is Happening 

Dannielle Mannino was born and raised in Brooklyn, and she loves Wyoming, which she visits routinely during her work as a corporate event planner helping to orchestrate Cheyenne Frontier Days.  

Mannino told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday that New Yorkers are, in fact, strutting through the city in cowboy boots and hats, and attributing the craze to the “Yellowstone” TV show.  

Mannino said the boots, hats and other ranch wear serve important purposes on the real-life ranches for which they were designed.  

At the same time, she said she understands how much fun fashion can be.  

“I get it – but knowing Wyoming now as much as I do, and seeing it translated into New York fashion, just seems amusing to me,” she said.  

‘It’s Not A Costume’ 

Mannino said she’s not part of the fashion world, but seeing the craze explode in New York makes her wish her fellow city dwellers could enjoy more of Wyoming and Montana than the ranch wear.  

Wyoming, she added, has a distinct beauty and culture of which many people aren’t aware.  

“It’s not a costume,” she said. “This is Wyoming culture.”  

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter