Since elements of Western clothing have become our national style, it’s easy to forget their regional origins. This 1939 photo by government photographer Arthur Rothstein shows Mrs. Arnold, co-owner of the Quarter Circle U-Ranch in Montana, in a distinctively Western outfit. She wears a fringed buckskin skirt and high lace-up boots on the bottom. While the skirt is definitely feminine, on the top her shirt vest and tie look more masculine.
Rothstein took many photos documenting life on the ranch, an extensive business with many employees. They reveal that the buckskin outfit must have been special occasion clothing for Mrs. Arnold. Several other pictures show her in small print dresses so beloved by older women everywhere in America in thirties.