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In Imaginary Texas, We Wear Tony Lama And Chanel

Are you familiar with Tony Lama? Founded by an Italian American immigrant in 1911, now making boots in America, Mexico, the world? When Lama’s rep asked if I’d like to review a pair, I was excited but hesitant. They’re an iconic brand, one to spark the imagination, but not to wear in Silicon Valley. So here’s a review and a giveaway. One change, which I hope you’ll excuse – this time I chose a winner in advance.

100 Percent-Vaquero-Tony-Lama

My thing for Texas goes way back. Rooted in summers at the Hunewill Ranch, encouraged by debutante parties in Houston, sustained by who knows what. Myth, I suppose. But I live in Silicon Valley, so this Texas is imaginary. Think Tess Harper in Tender Mercies meets Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman but isn’t a prostitute and goes shopping at Neiman Marcus. Imaginary.

We’ll scrabble together some faded light, dirt without water, and a wood fence –  if you squint my back yard will do. Thank you for inferring the horse.Tony-Llama-Boots-And-Sunshine

And I’m wearing the Women’s Coral Tango, by Tony Lama. With one “L.” You probably already knew it was only one “L.” Let’s pretend I did too. Worn with a blue chambray skirt, a tank top because my gosh it’s hot even in pretend Texas, and a pile of jewelry that throws off light and clanks a bit. For swagger.

Let’s take a closer look at the boots. They’re not subtle, but I love the trim. They were immediately comfortable, worn with thickish socks. But if I really wore cowboy boots here in Silicon Valley, I might go for these instead. Or these.

Tony-Lama-100 Percent-Vaquero

How about a closer look at the jewels? Very kindly loaned by Nancy at Beladora. In Imaginary Texas we like to match our jewelry, hence the Ippolita gemstones. And we think Coco Chanel was nuts when she told us to take off a piece, so we flaunt our right to excess by inviting her bracelet to an arm party. Take that, understatement.


The chambray skirt, by Suno. Soft, full, and pocketed to carry nails – as women will in Imaginary Texas – sparkles too.


And the ring matches the chambray! Kind of.


Most of all, we cannot leave Imaginary T. without paying homage to a bracelet.

It’s Chanel, in 18K gold. Heavy, beautifully made, even the latch closes gracefully. It looks like a series of geometric shapes, until you notice the little heart in the center of two of the circles. And once you notice the heart, you begin to think that maybe this series of shapes is actually a very abstract rendering of the word, “Love,” which would make this Chanel’s “Love bracelet.” Given that Cartier is famous for theirs, if the reference is intended, how brilliantly sly. How very Imaginary Texan in its effrontery.

All of this without a hint of visible logo. Unapologetically expensive, but a work of art. I held it and I will not forget.


Here’s something. Imaginary style countries can help us all in finding an original way to dress; They’re another way to adventure, and understand where we call home. The term, “Bohemian,” after all, comes from the old country known as, “Bohemia.”

So, you may well ask, where are the boots now? Oklahoma? Australia’s Outback? The vast desert of Western Mongolia? Nope! The real world. Here you see them in deepest Southern California.


And my daughter, simply dressed in a peach tee, scarf, and skinny jeans. A bit of humor, no pretense. She wore them line dancing with friends.


It’s kind of a sucker punch, including her picture, I know. But many of you are also mothers of daughters, and you too might rank them among your real world jewels. Excuse the sentiment.


The Coral Tangos have landed. They don’t miss Imaginary Texas one bit. Thanks Mr. Lama. Happy 4th to those in the USA, and a wonderful weekend to everyone.

Imaginary Texas in 2016

Photos of my daughter by Kellie Satterfield. Kellie is a medical student at UCSD. In her spare time, she paints, makes jewelry, gardens and humors her friends by photographing them in the San Diego wilderness.

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43 Responses

  1. Several years ago my texas-born husband and I visited his sister during Texas week in Houston. Not familiar with Houston protocol ( my husband moved to New Orleans as a child), we thought going to a Rotary barbeque would be a casual outdoor affair. So we dressed accordingly. Imagine our surprise when we encountered a sea of Tony Lama custom boots and extraordinary high end western wear on both men and women in a hotel ballroom. We spent most of the night being introduced as the people from out of town. Total fish out of water but everyone was very gracious and we had a great time.

  2. I’m a Lucchese gal myself, but thrilled that you finally got around to trying on a pair of cowboy boots and posting about them, because in my mind there’s nothing more classically American than a good pair of cowboy boots.

    I actually suggested a couple of years ago that you try on a lipstick red pair (my personal favorite), but I know now that’s not your color, and I much prefer your choice of Lamas for yourself, but those coral boots on your daughter, in that outfit, are about as close to perfection as it gets.

    My California-born, East coast-raised son is headed South for college and I can’t wait to wear my Luccheses when I visit.

    Happy Independence Day, everybody!

    1. @Lee Rosenthall, I am still kicking myself for not buying the blue lizard Luccheses I saw at at resale shop for $40. My thought was (sooo stupid), “But I already have a pair of cowboy boots!” (Which of course I did, as I am a Texan, even if I am a Texan in exile.)

  3. Oh my gosh, she’s beautiful! And we already know she’s smart as heck. And it’s pretty clear from the photo she has a great sense of humour and just vivacity in general. All sentiment allowed, Momma.
    (the boots are great as well — I have a pair of another iconic brand, acquired as hand-me-downs, and occasionally I bust them out. Never quite convincingly. . . and the daughter who covets them has bigger feet than I do. . . )

  4. I tried to get on-board with cowboy boots back in the 80’s, I really did. But I think it’s either in your genes (jeans?!?), or you live in Texas.
    Your daughter looks like she’s taken to your boots beautifully!

  5. Wow, those boots are fabulous. And the jewelry ain’t half bad, either, Ma’am! / faux Cowboy

    I love it that you did a determined-in-advance giveaway. Your daughter looks amazing in the boots.

  6. Let me assure you in real Texas it is hotter than….well, hot.
    And we love our big jangly jewelry but usually it is silver with our cowboy wear… Mexican or Southwestern silver please.
    My daughters say that when they need to find me in a store they just listen. The five clanking narrow silver cuff bracelets on my left arm always give me away. And those bracelets never come off.
    But otherwise you pretty much nailed the look.
    And your daughter obviously took the the boots like a duck to water.

  7. Can we build this place? Imaginary Texas? I want to move there and dress unapologetically. With cowboy boots. Last pair I had was when I was a teen, in Montreal, of all places. Loved them and their broken-in patina. Time to try it again? Not sure how that will wash in Chicago!

  8. love the boots, but the Ippolita piece is gorgeous. I’ve been lusting over her for 20 years & not a piece in my collection. Her price points are beyond my purse strings… Judy

  9. Fun post, Lisa…I have worn cowboy boots in the past in our horsey valley, but alas, I can no longer wear pointy-toed shoes (or boots).

    Your daughter is beyond gorgeous and the boots suit her to a t!

  10. During the the 1980’s Urban Cowboy craze I wore my western shirts and hats with pride. (a Boston girl, definitely imaginary..) Always coveted a pair of Tony Lamas but alas they were too expensive for me at the time. I found a pair of knockoffs – point toe, classic western riding heel, fancy turquoise trim… for $15! Have worn them on occasion ever since, and always gotten compliments. Favorite place I wore them once was a rodeo in Galisteo, NM – The real deal. No one could guess my little secret…

  11. Your daughter is gorgeous and wears those boots beautifully.
    I have some cowboy booties which I wear with fishnet hose when I am feeling a bit of a rebel! Would love to own an Ippolita piece myself….such great designs.
    Enjoy your time off, I hope you have fun and will come back refreshed and ready to entertain your loyal readers.

  12. I can see why you love that trim! Your daughter looks like she was born to wear those boots. In a very California way. I grew up with horses, so cowboy boots were part of that. I have had probably two pair in my adult life, neither worn regularly. But they are comfortable.

  13. I love the skirt and jewels but as a foreigner, I just don’t understand the boots but I was taught to rope years ago and used to go along to rodeos all the time!

  14. I would have thought the Silicon Valley would be open to cowboy boots! Dress code? Hmm

    1. @Gayle, Silicon Valley is open to them, I just don’t feel like myself wearing them here. Silicon Valley is open to everything, from laederhosen to Birkenstocks to khakis and Weejuns:).

  15. Now if you could just get Chanel to sponsor a giveaway of that bracelet…I would definitely throw my Stetson in the ring! Not a cowgirl gene in the mix, but my embarrassing secret (c’mon we all have them) is that i love to watch bull riding. Such a metaphor for life, the falling off, and the getting up, and getting up, and getting up.

  16. I used to wear cowboy boots, but just gave mine away as I don’t feel like myself anymore wearing them. But, my daughter has a great pair and wears them very much like your gorgeous daughter, and with dresses too.

    I think you look adorable in that photo, and the Beladora jewelry is fabulous.

  17. Texas born and bred, I have an regularly wear cowgirl boots most of my life, and although I have worn Tony Lamas in the past, I am now a confirmed Lucchese gal. I wore my boots in NY, I wear them in Tennessee, and I would wear them anywhere I lived. Don’t think I could comfortably pull of the skirt and camisole look any more, but the boots themselves are a permanent part of my style.

    When I first saw your title, I was immediately reminded of one of my best childhood friend’s mother, a woman who routinely wore her boots with Chanel jackets and serious, grand-dame worthy, jewelry. She was a woman who always managed to pull off the, too me at least, remarkable feat of seeming simultaneously formally elegant and completely down-to earth. I must thank you for sparking that memory.

  18. I’m fine with daughter getting one pair if you get the goat ones. Those – ooooohhhh. If you ever have the chance, drive to Cody, Wyoming (thru Yellowstone one way, Wind River Range the other way). Wear the Goat boots. Go in the fall with hubby or friend. Post about the boots taking you on a trip. Oh, and you may have to buy a second pair in Cody.

  19. As a Texan married to a Texan (both fifth generation), we love our boots. In fact, my husband wore his to work today (as he does many days), but they are Lucchese. He has a several pairs and swears they are more comfortable than going barefoot. In Texas, boots with a suit are considered proper attire. Have I said I like being a Texan?

  20. Well I dunno, Rick Perry claims to have given up cowboy boots because they hurt his back.

    When Rick Perry gives up cowboy boots, is it time for second thoughts??

    Prof. C.

  21. Like some of your other readers, I live in Texas and my boots are Lucchese. I like the Tony Lama boots you tried very much, but mine are just a dark, rich brown with beautiful stitching. I mainly wear them the way I would other boots, with jeans and cords (I don’t wear Western clothing, so I’m talking J. Crew or AG). They’re some of the most comfortable shoes I own. Younger girls like to wear their boots with short dresses. At my daughter’s (Texas Hill Country) camp closing, it’s a sea of girls in white dresses with their cowboy boots and silver jewelry.

  22. As a prim Londoner of a certain age, I must confess to LOVING Texan cowboy boots. And these coral Lamas I lust after. They look divine on mother and daughter. I would wear them to please my tweed wearing OH.

    Lisa, your daughter looks very like you and you are both beautiful, happy and healthy looking in your boots. Your daughter must love you a lot to allow you post her image in your blog. Mazel Tov!

  23. What fun boots (and such a beautiful model)! My dad, the cattle rancher, wore cowboy boots ’til the day he died. I think I’ve owned two pair–the second, a demure brown suede, were acquired for my cousin’s Jackson Hole wedding this winter. They are surprisingly comfortable. I should have followed Dad’s example sooner.

  24. Your daughter is so elegant! She gets it from her momma.

    Also, I’m super-jealous about you getting loaned jewellery. I do so love a good jewel (or two, or three…)

  25. I have to say the boots are meh to me, as, frankly, is Texas. I do like them on your lovely daughter. I’m not so crazy about them with the skirt.

  26. Line-wise – I think boots demand a top or a t shirt that is not sleeveless. I think that’s what’s going on. Even the small sleeves on your daughter’s outfit balance the heaviness of the boots. Consider it!

  27. Texas… “Meh” ?!
    Have y’all actually SEEN this fine place?

    Gorgeous M’dear. Almost got it perfect. You forgot the touch of turquoise.
    (If I could’ve been assured a kid that lovely I might have considered reproducing ;))

    Rick Perry is finally leaving! YAY!! Bye, bye goodhair, we don’t hate to see you go.

  28. I’ve always had a pair of cowboy boots; my Texan family calls the heavily-decorated kind “tourist boots”, though. Hasn’t stopped me, and your daughter is adorable in those.

  29. Pretty daughter in pretty boots. And pretty smart, too! You must be very proud of her. Cowboy boots are de rigueur (can I say that about boots?) in my town at certain events, like the FFA boosters dinner, a bullfight or a certain type of wedding (women, too). I own a fancy pair and a plain pair, but nothing as gorgeous as the ones your lovely daughter is modeling. I will wear them with skirts and dresses and definitely with silver & turquoise.

  30. Late to the party, but I lived in Fort Worth for 20 years and the only boots I ever wore were Justin ropers – plain, flat riding boots. We always said Lamas and Luccheses were for amateurs, and those people they were immediately called out and ostracized!

    In April I returned to Fort Worth for a visit and finally fulfilled a bucket list item – I bought a pair of “dress” boots. Not Lamas, not Lucchese, but M. L. Leddy’s – a Fort Worth old-money institution since 1922. Ridiculously expensive solid black soft kangaroo that mold to my feet like second skin. I am hooked. Next up – full quill ostrich, baby.

    You can keep your Jimmy Choos. Give me a pair of Leddy’s any day.

  31. A long time lover of the cowboy boot, unfortunately my linebacker and used-to-be atheletic calves have always nixed my love. So I admire from a distance; as with so many other things in life. You, however, wear those boots well! And, about the jewelry, never ever take off one piece before you leave the house. Never!!

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