Friday, October 30, 2015

A Mixed Saddlebag

I thought I'd just finish off with a mixed bag of costumes I looked up and what I think of them in general, for the amusement of myself, and possibly you as well.

First up, just a couple of cowboys.  Most Western costumes do not come with trousers, so on the models the most common choice of trouser you are going to see is a pair of blue jeans.  Historically, during the era, most men did not wear blue jeans.  The most common fabrics were wool blends or for cavalry types and laborers you'd likely find duck, a cotton canvas material (makes good protective gear).  Boots NEVER come with the costumes and the guns are always sold separately.  More than half of the costumes do not come with hats.  Chances are the costume is a duster or vest and a bandanna, and for this you will pay around $70.  Still, these are good generic "Western" options.  You could build something Weird West or Steampunk out of them.
"Hel-looo, ladies"
I know what you are thinking.  You are thinking Danny McBride attempting a cowboy.  This outfit looks like a Dude's Rodeo Special.  It's the sort of thing a cowboy would wear if he lost all self-respect, sold out and joined a lesser quality Wild West Show competing unsuccessfully with Bill Cody.  It's very modern in a Howdy Doody sort of way.  Make an effort, sir.
This here is yore basic John Wayne ensemble.  It's the sort of outfit you see in pictures of the Duke when you don't know what movie it's from.  It's a shirt, vest, chaps and bandanna, and the bandanna is in blue, just to be rebellious.  Chose this and you are going to have to get yourself a hat from somewhere, otherwise you'll look like an idiot.  Which is suggesting that you won't look like an idiot after you get the hat.  I don't want to be misconstrued, so don't make that assumption, hoss.  Speaking of Hoss, this is a good option if you are portly.  At least then you'd have a Bonanza thing going on, but you'd need a better hat.

 I don't name these things.  Somebody working copy at the catalog stores has that duty, and man are they bad at it.  This is your basic, low effort, Clint Eastwood job.  Except he's carrying a rifle, and the poncho is shitty.  Take a look at the description I have thoughtfully boxed for you.  This "costume" is a damn poncho and shirt WITH ATTACHED VEST.  That's it.  What vest?  I'm sure it's in there somewhere.  Extra points for the model not shaving for a few days to complete the sadness.

"When ah say 'draw', slap leather, ya owlhoot!"  I looked up several outfits that were labeled gunslinger or gunfighter and this was the best representation I could find.  It's pretty much an amalgamation of the ideas we have of fictional gunfighters.  You have the fancy waistcoat and simulated frock coat of a man of some refinement, plus that dickey to give you the illusion of a cravat or something.  But then you have jeans again and the hyper-Wyatt Earp mustache, which is not included.  Oh, and neither are the guns, of course.  The gun belt is included, however.  The more I look at this the more I want to see this guy get drilled in the street at High Noon.  If we put a few bullet holes in the waistcoat with some dried blood and did a corpse makeup or a skull we'd have a decent little Weird Western outfit going here. 

It's another gunslinger, actually.  I'd prefer this one with a tin star on the chest.  Make him into a town marshal or something.
Again, I don't name these things, but if that's what passes for quality work at the Halloween online outlets, I am in the wrong business.  The name alone makes my teeth grind.  Gambler Rogue.  As opposed to those upstanding paragons of virtue that other gamblers are.  You have a vinyl waistcoat with attached sleeves AND a dickey.  Already you are saying, "But Rook, why is this waistcoat so plain when the gunslinger up there has so much style?" and I don't have an answer for you.  Best of all you get chaps.  You've seen the archetypal gambler haven't you?  Doc Holiday in Tombstone is that archetype, as is Bret Maverick.

Those are Gamblers.  Frilled shirt, fashionable waistcoat and fashionably cut jacket.  These men arrive by stage, hang out on riverboats, and like to live well, enjoying their winnings.  They project a sense of having money, which is always welcome in a poker game, and may be more than what they seem.  Chaps are for work, riding horses and sichlike.  When you think gambler you should think  fancy duds, a hidden derringer, and a slick attitude, not Wyatt Earp up top and then, ahh screw it, gimmie some chaps and a rifle, I might need to ride the range.  It's like a cowboy came into town to drink and whore and raise Cain, as they do, and then bought a new shirt.  It's sad. So sad.

Finally we have this guy.  Bartender Wild West Costume for Men.  Seriously, where do I get this part-time job of naming costumes "professionally"?  This stunning costume comes with a bow tie, they are very specific about that.  There is a vest with attached shirt, because it would have been too much of a chore to attach the bowtie, and there are arm garters (because what bartender WOULDN'T have arm garters) and an APRON (I can sense your excitement) and holsters.  Now our clever model has put a couple of bottles of pisswater in his holsters to make this a "funny" costume.  Please note that the beer mug and mustache are SOLD SEPARATELY.  Look, you might get by without the mug, but consarnit, you are going to need that jaunty stache.  This whole costume confuses me, which is why I saved it for last.
I'm trying to think of why you'd ever want to dress up as the barkeep at the Whore and Cuspidor Saloon.  Has this guy ever been cool in a western?  He gets about 4 lines, and two of them are "What'll it be?" and "We don't want any trouble here."
So I wracked my cabeza and thought, maybe, just may-be you want to throw a Western Themed Halloween Party and you want whoever is serving the drinks to look authentic, which he will in this outfit (or her, I'm not being sexist here...but she must wear the mustache, that's de rigueur), but that's it.  If you are hosting why would you dress as Short-Tap Bill?  You'd go the full fancy saloon owner route, wouldn't you?
Other than that, I got nothing.  There's nothing cool about being a postman or the guy that works at the livery stable or the telegraph operator.
Now undertaker has possibilities.  I'd go that route.  Good luck finding the components though.

Keep them pumpkins rollin'.

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