So you just moved to the capital of Texas—isn’t that honky-tonk flair contagious? While you make your transition into becoming a true Texan, it’s time to grab some local garb so you can look the part.
The classic cowboy look typically includes a trusty pair of boots, blue jeans so starched they can stand on their own, a colorful button-down, a brimmed hat suited to your taste and a vest if you’re feeling formal.
‘Round these parts, you’re unlikely to see someone wearing the full getup all at once. However, each element has its place in your wardrobe and can be used to add a little bit of country sparkle to almost any outfit.
If you need some help getting started, here are some trusted outfitters that will take care of you.
Tecovas, 1333 S Congress Ave. and 11701 Domain Blvd.
Possibly the most essential Texan garment, a good pair of boots will last you for years if properly taken care of but they will cost you a pretty penny. A quality pair is likely to cost you at least $200 but prices can reach the thousands, so make sure you’re ready to wear those boots for the long haul.
This Austin-based company makes its boots completely by hand, each set with over 200 steps, in León, Mexico. Tecovas takes a classic approach to boots, with the aim that the pair you buy will be “as in style today as they will be 30 years from now.” A pair of Tecovas tends to hover in the $200-$600 range, with options for every price range, and also sells clothing so you can nail down the whole look in one place.
Allen’s Boots, 1522 South Congress Ave. and 1051 Interstate 35 Frontage Rd.
An Austin staple since 1977, Allen’s Boots offers a touch more color and variety than the latter brand. Located along South Congress, Allen’s carries everything from the traditional cowboy shape to booties, from neutral colors to a rainbow of different leathers. Allen’s boots may cost a bit more on average than a pair of Tecovas, but the sales—oftentimes 50% off or more on certain styles—can’t be beaten. Make sure to check out Allen’s “Wall of Fame” when you stop by to catch a glimpse of its more famous customers, including George Strait, Faith Hill and Sam Elliott.
Texas Standard, Several boutique locations
From the classic Texas check sport shirt to the winter-friendly flannel to the summery guayabera, Texas Standard stocks western-wear essentials. With a passion for outfitting the “Texas Gentleman,” the clothing brand also sells western-cut jeans and accessories to boot. Plus, there’s a size for everyone with a range from small to XXXL. As a proudly Texan brand, the brand gives 10% of its proceeds to local charity organizations.
Tiny’s Western Wear, 8403 Research Blvd.
Hooking residents up with western clothing and specialty Hispanic-styled items since 1958, Tiny’s is the place to look for all your 10-gallon hat-wearing, bolo tie-donning and belt-buckling needs. In addition to the well-known Stetson, Tiny’s carries desert hats and straw hats to choose from. This is a great place to find leather purses, wallets and kids clothing as well.
Callahan’s General Store, 501 S. Highway 183
This old-timey shop carries a healthy selection of boots, Stetsons, jeans and a wide array of accessories for any aesthetic. This shop doesn’t just sell western-themed garb—it’s a full boutique of country caboodles—you can find home decor, gifts, skincare products, gardening tools, feed and animal supplies for your ranch, and hardware on top of that.
Get along now, ye hear?
If you are a committed, grunge-wearing resident of the Pacific Northwest, it is easy–almost automatic–to look at Texas as an extraordinarily dry, hot and culturally oppressive place that is better to avoid, especially in the summer. Our two granddaughters live with their parents in Portland.
Recently we decided to take the older girl, who is 15, to Dallas. Setting aside the summer heat, a Portlander can adjust to the vibes of Austin without effort. So let’s take Texas with all of its excesses straight up. Dallas, here we come.
Our 15-year-old granddaughter and her sister, 12, have spent summer weeks with us, usually separately so that we could better get to know each individually. In visits focused on Austin and Port Aransas, the girls seemed to be developing an affection for Texas.
Houston and Dallas are two great American cities, the 4th and 9th largest, each loaded with cultural treasures, each standing in glittering and starchy contrast to Austin’s more louche, T-shirts and shorts ways.
Three hours up I-35, Dallas loomed before us as a set of gray skyscrapers in a filmy haze, accessed only through a concrete mixmaster of freeways, ramps and exits. I drove with false confidence. Be calm, I said to myself, it will all end in 10 minutes under the hotel entrance canopy. And it did.
The pool at the Crescent Court Hotel in Dallas. (Crescent Court Hotel)
We stayed three nights at the Crescent Court Hotel ($622 a night for two queens), a high-end hotel in Uptown, patronized by women in white blazers, business people in suits, and tall, lean professional athletes, their shiny Escalades and Corvettes darting in and out, and other celebrities like Bill Barr, the former attorney general who shoe-horned his ample self into a Toyota.
Each morning as I walked to Whole Foods for a cappuccino, a fellow identified by a bellman as Billy the Oilman arrived in his Rolls Royce Phantom. Where does he park? “Wherever he wants to. He likes the Starbucks here.”
We garaged our more modest set of wheels for the visit. We were chauffeured for tips by Matt Cooney and Alfonza “The Rev” Scott in the hotel’s black Audi sedan. They drove us to museums, restaurants and past the enclaves of the rich and famous. In Highland Park, The Rev pointed out the homes of the Dallas Cowboys' Jerry Jones and Troy Aikman along with the family compound of the Hunts, oil and gas tycoons.
The Dallas Museum of Art’s “Cartier and Islam” exhibit (until Sept. 18) attracted an older crowd; the nearby Perot Museum of Nature and Science was a powerful whirlpool of kids’ groups ricocheting from the Tyrannosaurus Rex to the oil fracking exhibit. Watch your shins.
A Geogia O'Keeffe oil painting called "Ranchos Church, New Mexico" at the Amon Carter Museum of Modern Art. (Rich Oppel)
For us, the best museum was the Amon Carter Museum of Modern Art in Fort Worth, a 50-minute, madcap drive away via a 75 mph toll lane along I-30. Don’t try it during rush hour. The Carter has an exquisite collection of Remington paintings and sculptures and an excellent array of 19th and 20th-century paintings as well. Pick one museum? The Amon Carter. Peaceful, beautiful, uncrowded, free admission and small enough to manage in two hours.
The Fort Worth Stockyards, a place of history (with a dab of schmaltz), fun and good shopping, filled one of our mornings. The 98 acres brand the city as Cowboy Town, with a rodeo and a twice-daily (11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.) cattle drive. We shopped for boots, drank coffee and watched the “herd” of 18 longhorns. So languid was their progress that if this were a real market drive the beef would have been very tough and leathery before it hit the steakhouse dinner plate.
The cattle drive at the Fort Worth Stockyards. (Rich Oppel)
But we could identify: the temperature was 97. “I saw a dog chasing a cat today,” said the emcee, deploying a very old joke. “It was so hot that both were walking.”
With limited time, we chose three very different restaurants:
- Nobu, in the Crescent Court Hotel; Jia, a modern Chinese restaurant in Highland Park; and Joe T. Garcia’s in Fort Worth. Nobu’s exotic Japanese menu set us back $480, with tip, for four (we had a guest), but it was worth it.
- Jia was an ordinary suburban strip mall restaurant, but with good food and a reasonable tab of $110 for four.
- Joe T.’s is an 85-year-old Fort Worth institution (think Matt’s El Rancho but larger), a fine Mexican restaurant where a meal with two drinks was $115.
Sushi at high-end restaurant Nobu. (Crescent Hotel)
It was all a splurge for a grandchild’s visit. Now we will get back to our ordinary road trips of Hampton Inns, where a room rate is closer to the Crescent Court’s overnight parking rate of $52. And to corner cafes in small towns.
Did Dallas change our 15-year-old’s view of Texas? “Yes. I think it’s a lot cooler than I did. The fashion, the food.” So, not only Austin is cool. Take Texas as a whole. It’s a big, complex, diverse and wonderful state.
Giga Texas, the massive Tesla factory in southeast Travis County is getting even bigger.
The company filed with the city of Austin this week to expand its headquarters with a new 500,000-square-foot building. The permit application notes “GA 2 and 3 expansion,” which indicates the company will make two general assembly lines in the building.
More details about the plans for the building are unclear. The gigafactory has been focused on Model Y production since it opened in April, but the company is also aiming for Cybertruck production to kick off in mid-2023.
While there is room for expansion on the 3.3 square miles of land Tesla has, this move comes after CEO Elon Musk’s recent comments about the state of the economy and its impact on Tesla.
In a May interview with Tesla Owners Silicon Valley, Musk said the gigafactories in Berlin and Austin are “gigantic money furnaces” and said Giga Texas had manufactured only a small number of cars.
And in June, Musk sent a company wide email saying Tesla will be reducing salaried headcount by 10%, then later tweeted salaried headcount should be fairly flat.
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