Miller’s Cowgirl Shirt and Karman Riding Pants

I bought this pair some time ago, and I’ve put off and put off writing about them because I’m so clueless about riding attire.  I found them at the Goodwill Clearance, and they were so cheap that I couldn’t resist.  I was pretty confident I could find extra information on the internet.  And as I’ve pointed out before, even clothing designed purely for sport will usually have a bit of “fashion” in them, whether in the colors used, or in the design details.

Actually, I’ve found very little about riding apparel on the net.  I do know that these were for Western riding, maybe of the sort one would wear at a show of Western skills.

The shirt has pearlized snap closures, and a ruffled bib and ruffles on the sleeve cuffs.  The small spread collar is meant to be worn open.

The shirt reminds me so much of a 1970s man’s tuxedo shirt with all those ruffles.  But the collar does not follow the trend toward large and pointed collars.  The fabric is cotton, and just look at that label.

As for the pants, they have that marvelous Western styling with the fancy yoke and big tab belt loops.  There is a metal side zipper.

There is no interior label, but they still have the paper tag attached to the outside.  These were made by Karman.

What was really throwing me off was the shape of the legs.  These look like typical 1970s bell bottom pants.  But then again, maybe they are just wide because they are boot cut, which allows one to wear the pants over the boots.

You can also see a bit of the construction in this photo.  The seams are pinked, and the top of the waist is finished with a strip of bias binding.  The leg hems are not finished, as the wearer would have them hemmed to fit.

The pants also have a paper tag that tells the fiber content and that gives us a WPL number.  WPL stands for Wool Products Labeling.  Unfortunately, the number is not of much use in this case.  All WPL numbers were distributed before 1959, but the date is not when the garment was made.  It merely means that the garment was made after Karman got their number, which was sometime in the 1950s.  There is a database where you can look up the numbers, but it is not useful in dating.  It will help with the manufacturer’s identification in cases where you have the number but not a maker’s label.

So, my verdict?  I’m leaning toward early to mid 1960s, due to construction details, like the metal zipper and the pinked seams.  I also think the label looks old fashioned to be used in the 1970s.  But I’m open to opinions, especially from anyone who has experience with this type of thing.


Filed under Collecting, Sportswear, Vintage Clothing

18 responses to “Miller’s Cowgirl Shirt and Karman Riding Pants

  1. Ruth

    There is still a Miller Brand clothing company in Denver, you might check with them and see if they made the shirt. (At least, I’m assuming it’s still the same company.) Here’s their basic website:

    I also found a website listing for Karman who makes western style clothing:

    Since both these companies were established about the right time for these items, they might be the same ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Maya

    howdy! That small shaped shirt collar says 1960s to me too. I also found this on Google books which confirms your early to mid 60s date, at least for the Miller shirt:

    For the pants, I think early to mid 60s seems just about right…besides the snazzy construction details, the fabric content tag is a good clue because it lists the fiber percentages, something manufacturers were required to do after the 1962 revision to the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act. And if those are little rough hewn logs surrounding the Karman name on the tag, according to that same book as above, Karman used that style tag in the 1950s & 60s.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Hi Liz…I’m like you, don’t know much or anything about western clothes. HOWEVER, I happen to be in midst of The International Junior High school Rodeo Competition here in Des Moines, Iowa for a week and in about ten days head to Wyoming for The High school Rodeo competition.

    From MY view…I see not a blouse or shirt that looks like your yellow ruffled one (so yours is definitely VINTAGE). Looks like the snapping pearl buttons are the only thing that is still in fashion out here.)

    I DO see lots of heavy rhinestone and jeweled back pockets on slim blue jeans, HUGE rhinestone belts and buckles …. most all girls have long straight hair braided or hanging long with a straight cut…many beautiful girls…T-shirts… OR LONG SLEEVED cotton shirts on all boys and girls. There are about 2,000 teens here in jeans… from USA, AUSTRALIA, UK AND ETC. Oh yes, NO blue jeans with the holes and ragged old/worn look. It has been interesting.

    Hope it was ok to share this fashion trend.


  4. Ruth

    Rodeo Queens, as they are called, are very careful about their looks! For years there was the “boofy, fluffy” hairdos, perfect makeup, huge shiny belt buckles (some of which are the actual trophies of their wins), and a hat topped with a tiara. Whatever they might wear otherwise, that is their rodeo “uniform”. Years ago it was checked shirts with pearly snaps and lots of ruffles much llike your shirt. Rhinestones became more popular after shows like The Porter Waggoner Show and Nashville. (Yes, I grew up in rodeo country,though I was a city girl.)


  5. In the sewing world, there are people who specialize in rodeo clothing. One such woman is a member of my sewing guild chapter. No rhinestone is too many! Although your shirt is ruffled, it is quite low key for today’s fancy “Western” wear.


  6. Pingback: Updates – The Rest of the Story | The Vintage Traveler

  7. Cheryl

    I just found this shirt, with matching yellow pants and yellow vest with yellow embroidered flowers! What should I do with it?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.