Southwest Fashion Fest

I’m back from my trip to the Southwest, which was absolutely refreshing, relaxing, inspiring, and exciting. From a dress perspective, there was great difference in what I’m accustom to as the Southwest has a few distinct styles, some of which are blended together. The mix of Native American, Hispanic, and Cowboy looks provided for some great shopping and people watching. I will say the male pony tail is a dominant theme.

I found Harlo some fantastic and inexpensive western wear shirts at a seemingly authentic (and enormous) store in Amarillo, TX called Cavenders. He’s been wearing western shirts from both vintage and from chain stores, and so a store the size of two Gaps filled with “the real deal” was overwhelmingly fun. I recommend you check out the selection if you’ve got the rockabilly bug in you.

The jewelry in Santa Fe was another point of endless shopping and I was thrilled that prices and variety ranged from street vendors for a few bucks to “whatever-you-want-to-spend” at the fine jewelry stores. After two days mesmerized, we were taken a little off-guard by a cabbie that casually pointed out that he doubts it’s all actually native made because the quantity is seemingly endless. Truthfully, he had a point, which rained on our parade a little and brought to mind notions about where our money was going and who exactly we were supporting with our purchases. But, we decided to hope for truth-in-labeling and made some beautiful purchases (no matter where they’re really from).

Roswell was a real point of visual insanity as the crowd at the festival for the 60h anniversary of the crash was from everywhere and represented every style. There was no general look of the Ufoligists (as I learned the scholars are called) although offbeat would probably fit. That whole part of our trip sent me on a whirlwind of thoughts about acceptable vs. nonacceptable eccentricities, and what kinds of “alternative” end up mainstream two seasons later, while others get further and further from the pack. I also thought a lot about playtime vs. daily life and how some people express themselves radically differently in different environments. I was actually a bit disappointed there weren’t more people with really far-out (pun intended) looks, but it was oppressively hot and even the die-hard costume contest participants were losing their commitment as they were sweltering. (The photo is me in my “bad antena day” tshirt with two of the 1st prize costume contest winners.)

We hit up some other cities and had an overall fantastic time. The Albuquerque/Santa Fe area is one I’ll be returning to ASAP although next time I’ll probably skip Taos, which is right there as well, but I can do without the aging, wealthy hippies and their boring, but overpriced bistros and boutiques.

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