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How the West is Worn

Whether the look you aspire to is bold or conservative, masculine or feminine, modern or traditional, the spirit of the frontier lives on at Drysdales.

Article
Donna Leahey
Posted
July 29, 2017

Drysdales Western Wear looks like it belongs in Oklahoma. Beneath a big, blue sky, the iconic Drysdales building at 31st and Memorial rises up like one of Green Country’s hills and is accented with brick red like Oklahoma clay. 

Inside, the selection stretches as far as the eye can see — jeans, shirts, boots and jackets. Choices that are perfect whether you’re going for date night or a day’s work. You don’t have to be a “real” cowboy to shop there. Whatever your north, south, east or Western wear needs, Drysdales can set you up. 

The iconic store has even grown into more than a shopping experience; it’s a tourist destination. An adventure.

Drysdales prides itself on its selections and keeps 100,000 pairs of demin jeans in stock. “We try to dominate the major categories that we carry like boots, denim jeans and Western shirts,” says Jim McClure, the president, principal owner and CEO of Drysdales Western Wear. “When someone walks into our boot department, they immediately think, ‘I know the boots for me are here. I just need to decide which one that is,’” he says. “The same would be true if they were looking for a pair of jeans or a Western shirt.” 

McClure and his buyers are actively involved in going to markets, selecting the products and going out into the store to help customers in the store with those products. “Essentially, we do retail the old-fashioned way, but with the help of modern technology,” he says.

The Drysdales team works hard at staying on top of Western fashion, making sure that they supply not just the best selection, but fresh and current looks as well.
The Drysdales team works hard at staying on top of Western fashion, making sure that they supply not just the best selection, but fresh and current looks as well.

It’s a way of doing business that he learned from Drysdale’s founder, J.R. Dry, Sr. 

“I’m the last one from the original group who is still here,” McClure says. 

Dry grew up during the Depression, and like many from that era, he found nothing better than getting up in the morning and going to work. He fought in World War II and after that he started a restaurant in Wichita [Kan.]. The restaurant was considered one of the best in Wichita for the 20 years that he owned it. 

After he sold the restaurant, he bought Sheplers Western store in Wichita. When he bought it, it was a small store which he immediately started expanding. Over the next five years, he built a bigger location next to the original store and added on to that store a couple of times until it was around 60,000 square feet. He eventually opened a Sheplers in Oklahoma City, Denver and Arlington, Texas before retiring in 1976. 

“In 1981, he said he was ready to come out of retirement and start a new store,” says McClure. “He was 72 when we opened Drysdales, and he passed away the following May. He was a very charismatic individual and was highly respected by everyone in the industry. He was truly our mentor.”

Dry’s determination carries on in Drysdales’ two locations. The original store is the largest Western wear store in Oklahoma, and the second location on 71st Street makes it the most prominent Western store in Tulsa. McClure and his team work hard at staying on top of Western fashion, making sure that they supply not just the best selection, but fresh and current looks as well.

Drysdales prides itself on its selections and keeps 100,000 pairs of demin jeans in stock.
‍Drysdales prides itself on its selections and keeps 100,000 pairs of demin jeans in stock.

“Fashion with Western apparel is ever changing, as it is in the traditional market,” he says. “For example, there are many more different fits in men’s jeans than there were 35 years ago. Finishes in denim change from year to year. The basic jeans like Levi’s 501’s and some other basic jeans have been the same for over 100 years, but everything else is ever-evolving. In boots, the large square toe has been very popular for a few years. Thirty-five years ago, pointed toes were the majority of boots sold.”

Speaking of boots, Drysdales has the best selection of Western boots in the state, carrying brands such as Ariat, Justin Boots, Tony Lama, Lucchese, Twisted X and Anderson Bean. McClure says, “I get asked a lot, ‘What is the best brand of boots?’ I always answer, ‘The one that fits you the best.’”

Drysdales stocks more than just Western apparel. For work, Drysdales has the best selection of Carhartt to be found in Oklahoma. There’s leisure wear and athletic wear, because not even the most die-hard cowboy wears jeans and boots all the time. You can also find home decor, jewelry, belt buckles, and leather accessories. And for the young collectors in your life, Drysdales stocks plenty of Breyer horse figures, including the limited editions.

Drysdales is dedicated to supporting equine events at the Tulsa fairgrounds, including the Pinto World Show, the Drysdales Holiday Circuit, the Color Breed Congress, the National Barrel Horse Association, and more. Every August, Drysdales supports the Professional Bull Riders event at the BOK Center.

LOCATOR
Drysdales Western Wear
3220 S. Memorial Drive | Tulsa
918-664-6481
10127 E. 71st St. | Tulsa
918-252-7917
Monday-Saturday: 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
Sunday: Noon-6 p.m.
drysdales.com