Never mind the fancy turns of modern fashions. Give a girl a chance at the great outdoors and she'll go back to fundamentals every time, which is a pretty sensible rule. If it was good enough for the cowboys, it should be good enough for anybody. This explains the current move by active sportswomen toward practical togs reminiscent of the Butch Cassidy days. It isn't exactly grandmother revisited; there are no bustles—and definitely no corsets. Instead, the trend is to brushed cowhide—rough-out leather the real cowboys used to call it—and accessories that will get by in the wilds of East or West. These are clothes designed to do the job for hiking or hunting and, as pioneers found out long before these ladies were born, leather improves with wear; it gets softer, and dirt gives it a bit of outdoor charm. The whole effect makes for a High Noon heroine touch, like the long leather skirt and knee-high laced boots worn by Coloradan Su Olsen at left, visiting David Dancey at his western Pennsylvania Rolling Rock Rodeo Ranch. Su's shirts are a takeoff on calico prints and her belts are fringed, hand-tooled and cinched-in and tightly laced. The cameo choker has given way to leather-and-brass dog collars that buckle around the neck. Chatting with buckskin quarter horse Poquita and Trainer Dick Pieper at Bailey's breeding and training farm in Belle Vernon, Pa. at right, Anita Van Joosten also reflects the cowboy influence. Happily, that Western feeling has one more basic requirement: the outfits must be worn just a little bit too tight, the way one wears blue jeans. After all, what young woman wants to head a man off at the pass?
THE OLD FRONTIER
Su Olsen's brushed cowhide skirt with snap-button front and Anita's matching jeans are by Latigo West. The skirt is $38, the jeans $55 at Kaufmann's, Pittsburgh and May D-F, Denver. The shirts and striped pullover are by Cacharel, from $32 to $40; Anita's pullover of wool and rabbit hair has a matching cardigan, $75 for the set—all at Lord & Taylor, New York and Neiman-Marcus, Dallas. The belts are by Elegant. The silver-studded model is made of waxed bison, $16 at Bonwit Teller, New York and G. Fox, Hartford. The laced leather belt is $12 at Bloomingdale's, New York and Julius Garfinckel, Washington. The suede collar is by Ruza, $6 at Best & Company, New York and Neiman-Marcus. The boots are by Beth Levine, $100 at Beth's Bootery, Saks Fifth Avenue, New York.