Carson Kressley's Fashionable Travels:

Chic on the Range



Carson Kressley

One of the biggest hassles of travel is packing. Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a European Grand Tour, deciding exactly what to bring can challenge the most experienced traveler.

Thank goodness we have Carson Kressley, our “Fashionable Traveler.” He offers our readers tips on how to pack the bare essentials but look great wherever you go.

Here's what he recommends when visiting a western dude ranch.

MEN: When visiting a dude ranch, you will need rugged clothes that work, but are also stylish. Yes it is possible to look chic in western gear, not like a deserter from the Village People. Start with great denim. But don’t wear it head to toe. Jeans that are well fitting will do their part from hiking to riding to going to a barn dance or barbeque. Take a cue from the cultured cowboys in places like Scottsdale and Dallas. Wear a pinpoint oxford shirt in blue or white, not a dress shirt, but something just a tad more casual.

Be sure to wear or pack a good belt. It need not be western themed, just nice leather or better yet, crocodile. Brown boots will finish off the look nicely. I happen to think cowboy boots are a great American icon and look fabulous almost anywhere. If they are too "dude-y” for you, opt for a nice ankle-length Chelsea boot. I think that R.M. Williams in Australia makes the best ones, and they have a great website full of looks that work in ranch settings but are still cool enough to wear again when you get back home.

WOMEN: My suggestions are almost the same for women. Your clothes can be more feminine of course, but they still need to work for ropin' and ridin'! So pack an attractive pair of jeans, some chambray or western print blouses. Gingham and solid cottons work though they are might not be as much fun. And ladies you will need boots for riding. They don’t have to be western; they could also be a more English style of riding boot which will look chic with leggings. Just make sure they are appropriate for riding, that they have a heel that will prevent the foot from slipping through.

Some silver jewelry, touches of turquoise and a straw hat for sun protection and you are ready to roll. Check out Robert Redford’s Sundance Catalog site for western-inspired pieces to give your look a bit of a twist. For example, take your favorite pretty dress and just add cowboy boots! Wear a white blouse and tie a bandana around the neck in lieu of a necklace. You get it. Oh and most importantly have fun with it. Chances are you won't be running into the likes of Anna Wintour!

Editor’s note: Most dude ranches do provide packing lists to make sure you have other items you might need, including bathing suits for pools. If you don’t own riding boots, many of the ranches have loaner cowboy boots available. You can also get many questions answered by contacting the Dude Ranchers' Association.


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