The iconic American Cowboy is a customer favorite male stripper costume that can be easy to put together without much expense.
The cowboy costume is my favorite and I will honestly tip more when a male stripper is wearing the cowboy hat and a pair of boots. These two items can be very expensive but if you shop smart, you can find them for less. Let me show you how.
A Cowboy Costume In 5 Easy Steps
Step One: The Cowboy Hat
You must start with the cowboy hat. It is the defining item of this costume. Without the cowboy hat, it isn't a cowboy costume. I have five different cowboy hats in my photography prop storage. I have collected them over the years. All of them were $25 or less. Of course, for those of you who may know something about cowboy hats, none of these are Stetsons. But all of them work perfectly for a male stripper cowboy costume.
I found two of the cowboy hats on Craigslist, two were purchased at retail stores and one was borrowed and later given to me.
The reason I have five different cowboy hats is because they are five different sizes. Unlike baseball caps, cowboy hats are not adjustable. Before purchasing a cowboy hat, try it on to see if it fits your head. You'll want it to ride comfortably just above the ears.
As a test while writing this paragraph, I stopped and searched Craigslist for cowboy hats. I found zero in my immediate area but there were 11 listed within a 2 hour drive. The prices were from $1 to $120. The $1 priced hat would not work for a cowboy costume. I did find three that were acceptable at $20.
For one of the hats I purchased in the past, I met the seller in a flea market parking lot. We exchanged dollars for hat. Then I asked the person to send me a text message saying they had received $25 from Michael Hill for said hat. This was my receipt for bookkeeping purposes.
I purchased one cowboy hat at a Spencer's Gifts store in a local mall. The regular price of this hat was $20 and I paid $5. I found the hat in a large box marked for clearance. When I visited the same store on a later date, that same style hat was being sold again but back at $20.
I purchased one hat at the regular retail price at a Tractor Supply store. I needed one that weekend for a photo shoot. Many of you will not have Tractor Supply stores in your area. But they do have an online store.
You can purchase a cowboy costume from a costume vendor. This could be a Halloween costume type store or an online shop. Unless it is one of the more expensive type costumes, the items will not look authentic, and may look comical when you wear them. If you are going for comical, no problem. They have a poor quality look to them. Go for an authentic look if at all possible. It will help to create the fantasy the customers are wanting to see.
My last comment on cowboy hats is about selecting a color. Black hats are sexy but often do not show up in pictures. Notice the cowboy hat in the pic all the way to the left in the pic strip of cowboys at the top of this blog. Unless well lit for pics, it disappears into the background. You will most likely be performing in a dark nightclub or bar, a lighter shade will show up better for the performance and any pics that are taken.
Step Two: The Cowboy Boots
If you don't have cowboy boots, it's not the end of the world. However, the boots do make the look more authentic. There is a wide variety of boot colors, quality and pricing. Authentic name brand cowboy boots costs several hundred dollars.
I recommend that you start your search in three locations: garage sales, Craigslist and Goodwill stores. Of course, none of these are of any value if you live in an area where there are no cowboy type people. No cowboy type people means no used cowboy type people clothing being sold
If you have qualms about wearing boots that someone else has worn, then you should save your pennies and buy a new pair. But if for the occasional use as a costume, you can walk in the shoes that someone else has walked in, you can save a lot of money.
If you must be the only pair of feet that have worn a pair of boots, check out discount shoe stores and online. A search of Amazon returned several pair of cowboy boots for men starting at $31 and going up to several hundred. Click here to see what is currently available on Amazon.
Ebay listed several men's cowboy boots as well. You could try to win a bid on a pair which with shipping would be at a lower cost. Be sure and check shipping though. Some sellers list their products at low prices/bids but have high shipping costs attached.
The last option is to borrow a pair of cowboy boots. If you live in the midwest, south and parts of the western U.S. there are many guys who wear cowboy boots. You may also be able to rent them at a costume shop.
Step 3: The Underwear
I recommend you consider the cowboy theme when purchasing underwear for this costume. There are many options that will work well for a male stripper performance. I have mostly used boxer briefs and thongs for photo shoots.
One option would be to buy underwear with western images or graphics: boots, spurs, hats, cactus, horses, longhorn cow skull, wolves, desert sunsets, whiskey, horseshoes, and stars. These are just a few. These are a fun surprise for the audience when you've stripped to underwear.
I have also used thongs and they are very sexy under a cowboy costume. I have used white but I have seen many other colors such as black, yellow, orange and even pink being used for cowboy costumes .
If you are wanting to do a longer strip-tease, a fun option would be to wear long johns or a union suit on top of regular underwear. This would give another layer to strip out of before the underwear. If you choose this option, use a fun color like red.
Click the pic above if you would like to see union suits on ebay.
Below is three possible options from Andrew Christian Underwear. Click on any pic to go to that website. Be sure and check their Doorbusters sections for underwear that is on sale.
Step 4: The Accessories
You can add other options for both a more authentic look, or to make a longer strip-tease. I have often used bandanas around the neck of the models for a cowboy look. These are very inexpensive and come in a variety of colors. I have found them at Spencer's Gifts and Walmart. You can find them online as well. Click here for bandanas on Amazon. Click here for bandanas on eBay.
Cowboy or western themed necklaces will work as well. And you can leave these on throughout the entire performance. I have a real deer antler on a leather cord. I found this at a garage sale.
Keep your eyes open for purchase opportunities every where you go. You'll develop the habit of looking for items that can be used for costumes. Almost anywhere I shop I am constantly on the look out for items I can use in a photo shoot.
Several years ago the bolo tie was popular in the cowboy look. They still look great on a cowboy costume and come in a variety of designs. I found a pack of 12 on eBay a few years ago and have used them a few times over the years.
An authentic cowboy belt buckle is a fun addition to the costume. There is a wide range on pricing. Your best bet for choices and prices would be online. I recommend that you select one with a tarnished silver look which is basically a silver that looks like it's been brushed with watered down black paint. As I've said with any of these items, you can spend a lot of money on a cowboy buckle but that isn't necessary.
Some buckles come with a shiny gold or silver look to them. Most of these look cheap and plastic. If you can find a plastic one that actually looks like metal, use it. It will be less expensive and weigh less on the costume. You can also do like I described above. Water down some black paint and then paint it on and let it dry. If needed, paint another coat. You can also use black shoe polish. Wipe it on and let it set for a while, then go back and wipe it off. Make sure it gets down into the crevices.
Step 5: Outerwear
If you are doing a full and longer strip-tease then you'll want to first select a pair of jeans. Blue or black are the best colors and if they are ragged, have holes, etc., all the better.
The holes are great also if you decide to wear long johns or a union suit underneath. The audience will be given a peak of the long johns beneath. And if you decide not to wear long johns, bare skin is always pleasing to the eye of the customer as well.
You can also cut a hole higher up, it would show the underwear if you choose not to wear long johns. I saw a stripper who created a worn whole on the crotch next to the zipper. The underwear color showed through just a little. Of course, an authentic worn spot should be where a bulge has occurred. This look was erotic and made it difficult to stop looking in that direction.
A western style shirt is the best option for shirts. If you aren't sure what that is, look online at a western store like Cavanders or Drysdales. The shirts will have specific styling and often come with snaps instead of buttons. If these are not available, a small plaid shirt will work as well. For a better idea of the Western shirt look, click here for shirts listed on Amazon.
An authentic look but one that can be expensive is a pair of chaps. To save money I'd search for used chaps on Craigslist or eBay first. They can also be purchased at the western stores. Western style chaps are easier to find in brown, however, if you buy these in black leather, you would also be able to wear them for a leather night costume. But also remember this goes back to black in pics with low lighting. If the venue uses a spotlight, the black should look great.
Long coats can also be used as a part of the costume. One of the most authentic western style coats is called a Duster. Use this only if you need a longer performance and need more clothing you can strip away. Wear a duster type coat also if you are wanting to have a truly authentic looking costume. It will be hot and should be removed early as the performance begins. It does make a visual impact for the audience as you walk into the performance area. You can find several Duster style coats on Amazon by clicking here.
There is one warning about pre-worn items particularly on Craigslist. Ask if the item was kept in a non-smoking home. I am speaking from experience. I bought a cowboy hat one time that I was unable to use. It had been kept in a home where cigarettes were smoked. I didn't realize it until I had made the exchange and was back at home.
I looked online for how to remove cigarette smoke and tried many different methods over several months. None of them worked. The hat is stored in a plastic bag in my storage building and I have never used it for any project. I keep hoping I'll find the secret to removing cigarette odor. If you know of a true way to remove smoke odor from a cowboy hat, please describe it in the comments below.
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