How and why has the American cowboy fashion/culture persisted for so long up until our current decade? Every decade has a fashion and culture that later we come to our senses about. But not the cowboy apparently.

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    I cant say anything about fashion, but cowboy culture still exists because there are still quite a few working cowboys and ranches out west. – ed.hank Oct 25 '18 at 20:53
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    Good taste isn't something that needs to be outgrown. – Kerry L Oct 27 '18 at 1:41

Simple: we still have cowboys, therefore we still have their clothing. As of 2016, over a million Americans were employed in farming and ranching, and there were more than 750,000 cattle ranches in the USA.

"Cowboy fashion" is entirely pragmatic. The jeans, overalls, hats, wide belts, boots, handkerchiefs, etc., all served a variety of practical functions for people on a ranch, and continue to do so today.

Many of them are also practical for other rural inhabitants, whether they work on a ranch or not. When I was living in rural Texas, for example, I had both a hat (because it was good for both rain and sun), and cowboy boots (because they protect your lower legs and are easy to clean).

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    Hello FuzzyChief - Welcome to History:SE. This answer would be better with sources added. Please take a moment to review the help center topic on How to Answer for tips on what kind of answers are well received here. Have fun contributing! – Kerry L Oct 25 '18 at 23:20
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    For those living in or near ranching areas this answer is self evident. – Jon Custer Oct 26 '18 at 1:47
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    Have to somewhat disagree. There is the clothing of working cowboys (or people like me who just like to ride horses out in the mountains) which is quite practical. Then there is "cowboy fashion", which is an exaggerated version, and not really practical. For instance, here are practical riding boots: ridingwarehouse.com/Ariat_Mens_Endurance_Boots/… and here are "cowboy fashion" ones: lucchese.com – jamesqf Oct 26 '18 at 2:58
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    @jamesqf If I'd walk around the entire day on ground that's snake and scorpion infested (just about any almost-desert area), I'd opt for something a bit higher than what you consider practical. The boots you link to are too short to fit the definition of boots IMO, they're just ankle-covering shoes. – Mast Oct 26 '18 at 8:45
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    @jamesqf most of the scorpions and snakes here in DFW have their own boots, drive their own cars, and ask people to vote for them. – Kerry L Oct 27 '18 at 1:33

Frederick Jackson Turner's Frontier Thesis regarded westward pioneering as a foundational characteristic of the United States. This view glorifies the olden days of the Western frontier, or Wild West, rather than cow husbandry in general: East Coast dairy farms, not involving pioneering, are not so romanticized.

Cattle was a common industry on the mostly arid frontier, requiring little infrastructure. Cowboys have an enduring cultural appeal in the U.S. because they are remembered as central to stories of the Wild West, still one of the country's core narratives.

A comment below has correctly pointed out that the dominant historical narrative tends to erase communities of Mestizo, Black, and Native cowboys in favor of Anglo ones.

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    Could be expanded on the difference between the mythic white cow poke and the historical white-black-hispanic labourers. – Samuel Russell Oct 26 '18 at 2:57

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