Jane Porter: Q&A with my Style Icon, Carol Koch

I met Carol Jansen Koch in 2005 when I was on my Frog Prince book tour and hosted a tea in Plano, TX for Pi Phi Alums.  We didn’t really get to know each other until I was back 2006 on my Flirting with Forty book tour.  After that event we spent a couple of hours talking and by the end of the evening Carol was a true blue friend.

On every visit to Texas, I try to see Carol, and when I returned in 2010 for my She’s Gone Country book tour, a 10 day trip that would take me across Texas, I had Ty and 18 month old Mac along.  We kicked off our trip in Dallas/Ft Worth and who better to launch us on our Texas adventure than Carol and her new husband, Garner Koch, a true Texas cowboy.  

IMG_1369 Ft. Worth is Garner’s old stomping grounds so he took us to get real boots–at Leddy’s–and then showed us the Texas he knows and loves.  IMG_1400

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Garner and Carol are the friends we meet every year in Las Vegas for the NFR.  While the guys go off and do guy stuff, Carol and I and her cool Texas crew go shopping at Cowboy Christmas.  This last year Carol made a list as one of the most fashionable people at the 2015 NFR and so I thought it would be fun to share a little bit of Carol’s western fashion sense with you, as well as some great places to pick up your western fashion wear.  

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1)  Carol, I met you in Texas at a Pi Beta Phi alum event.  So have you always been a cowgirl?  

I’m a Midwest farmer’s daughter.  Born and raised in Iowa.  Self proclaimed big boned Iowa girl.  Got to Texas as soon as I could.   Texas completes me.jp1

2)  When we first met you were single.  How did you meet Garner?  Tell me about your first date.

I cannot tell a lie.  We met at a Honky Tonk.  (I hope my Mother isn’t reading this… she thinks we met at church) It was the day after Christmas and I was very germy and so didn’t want to go out.  Garner was the tallest most handsome cowboy in the place and he came up to the table where I was sitting with my 5 girlfriends and asked ME to dance.  I so thought he was coming to ask one of my other of my pals.  Ha!  We danced the night away.  We exchanged numbers and I so thought I’d never hear from this cowboy again….to my surprise, he called me while my friends and I were driving home!  Yes.  my friends were very impressed!  jp4

 

3)  How did you develop your western style? 

My style is forever evolving.  I love to invest in some fabulous pieces and then throw in a few inexpensive pieces to make the look my own. jp6

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4)  Where do you shop?  

Orisons in McKinney, Texas and also Ya Ya Gurlz in Abilene, Texas are both my favorites and thankfully not next door to me – otherwise I might get into lots of trouble….it’s a treat and ordeal when I go to shop.  I go with my list of parties/events and they help dress me.  It’s like stepping into your best friend’s closet.  

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5)  What is the one thing you MUST wear when going out with Garner?  

Boot and turquoise. jp5

6)  How much did Garner influence your fashion sense? 

Garner is very traditional.  He has great shirts from 10+ years ago in his closet that with “extra heavy starch” – wears today and looks timeless. Our dry cleaners know us well.  Unless Garner’s britches (jeans…) can stand up in the corner by themselves,  we take them back to the cleaners…. 

My favorite line early on was oh I need something new to wear to our next party/function as….”it’s hard being Mrs. Garner Koch…”  this only worked a few years.  He’s onto me now. I can admit I’m addicted to the entire perfect “costume” hunt and presentation.  It’s my obsession.    🙂 

2 of Carol’s Fav Shops:  
YaYa Gurlz –  Abilene, TX – http://yayagurlz.com
Orisons – McKinney, TX –  http://www.orisons.co

Garner Koch’s Fav Shops for Boots & Traditional Wear:  
Leddy Boots2 locations in Ft. Worth, TX  http://www.leddys.com
Maverick Western WearFt. Worth, TX  http://www.maverickwesternwear.com
J Hilburn Custom Shirtshttp://jhilburn.com/catalog/custom_shirts

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A couple of Jane’s Favorite Shops: (I discovered these shops and designers from attending NFR’s Cowboy Christmas (of course, I was introduced to them by Carol!)
Patricia Wolf – Patricia’s vests and belts are amazing.  I have one of each!  http://patriciawolf.com/product-category/women/vests/
Ann’s Turquoise – Craving some turquoise jewelry?  Here you go!  http://www.annsturquoise.com/8hsyiqjs4vnrk6i1p8barp3bnp9t3wjp7

Plus a few more fun stores if you’re in Texas or enjoy shopping online:
Pinto Ranch – You can shop online or visit their locations in Dallas, Houston, and Las Vegas  http://www.pintoranch.com
Gypsy Wagon – Fun mix of western and boho fashion–plus jewelry & more.  Online or locations in Dallas, Austin, and Crested Butte, CO  http://www.the-gypsy-wagon.comcountry_450x2
Wild Bill’s Western Store – Hats, boots galore & lots more  http://wildbillswestern.com

 

A big thank you to Carol for letting me poke around her closet and talk fashion.  Carol, you inspire me to take fun risks and make fashion fun!

Do you enjoy western wear?  Where do you shop?  Leave a comment and you’ll be entered for a giveaway!  The prize is the winner’s choice of a signed print copy of She’s Gone Country, set in Mineral Wells, TX, or an ebook version of the book, plus reader swag!

Jane Porter
Jane Porter, the NYT and USA Today bestselling author of 50 romances and fiction novels, holds an MA in Writing from the University of San Francisco and has been a finalist for the prestigious RITA award in the US five times, with her novella, Take Me, Cowboy, winning the Novella Category July 2014. In 2008 Jane's wildly popular novel, Flirting with Forty, was made into a Lifetime movie starring Heather Locklear, and just recently Jane has had two more stories optioned for cable movies. For more info, visit www.janeporter.com.
Updated: May 31, 2016 — 11:39 am

39 Comments

  1. Carol does have fabulous style sense. I think she can wear anything. I would love a peek into her closet.

    1. I love Carol’s sense of style, Janine! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  2. Oh man, I’m a farm girl born and raised and LOVE visiting Texas. I still live in farm country here in MI so we have a few awesome western stores to shop at. Boots, hats, clothes, it’s all a fantastic selection. I have a favorite vest I love wearing with my jeans and boots! love the pictures!!

    1. So glad you enjoyed the photos, Susan!

  3. I have a couple of nieces that would love to shop in these stores. I will have to take them to Texas one of these days!

    1. Kathleen, you definitely should! 🙂

  4. When I was in Texas on a business trip a friend from work took me touring and shopping, and the best part was honkytonking — fun dancing to great music. I came home with boots and a hat of course. The truth is that jeans and a hat are what suit me best, although I’d much rather be looking AT a cowboy in jeans and a hats, say, oh, Toby Keith! 🙂

    1. I couldn’t agree more! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Love the Q&A.

    1. So glad you enjoyed it!

  6. i love to see Western Wear. sadly, i don’t own anything Western except for a beautiful belt buckle i found at a yard sale. boot cut jeans would be as close to anything for me.

  7. I do. It’s ingrained on me with me since my parents met at a country music venue. I have a cowboy hat I won from an author. I love turquoise! I have the most beautiful turquoise bracelet with a chain of hearts (you know me and hearts).

    Texas is one place I’ve always wanted to visit–some day!

    I love the story of how she met her cowboy!

  8. There is nothing better than a good pair of boots and some turquoise. When I moved to Ellensburg, WA eons ago, a town that has an annual rodeo and requires boots when going to court the week of rodeo, I had to first stop and shop. Three boxes of boots, a hat and some real boot cut jeans (before they were in every single store), left with me that day. I still have the boots and the hat, they are classics. I’ve added to the boots since then, I really can’t turn down a good pair.

    She’s Gone Country is one of my favorites, it’s the first book of yours I read!

  9. I love this post! I am a Texan through and through. I have lived here my whole life. Boots and hats scatter my house and I wouldn’t have it any other way! IMy husband bought me a beautiful shawl from Leddy’s a few years ago. A girl loves her pretties!

  10. One of my first western outfits was a wester jump suit boot cut and loops that a silver western belt with some chains hung low around the hips, alas I no longer have the shape to wear anything like that, but all my western jewelry still fits.

  11. Wow a western fashion show, how cool is that!

  12. I enjoyed reading this article and can not wait to get home
    and check out the stores listed! What a lovely couple to
    have as friends.

  13. Carol wears our Double D Ranchwear well!!

  14. Jane, what a fun blog! Carol and Garner look like fun people. Pure Texan for sure. I recognize that anywhere. I’m glad you found such a great couple to hang around with. They’re keepers!

  15. How interesting!! You are writing about my neighborhood when you mention McKinney and Fort Worth, as well as Abilene. 🙂 This was an entertaining read for sure. He is one good lookin’ cowboy and Carol is a lucky girl. She is adorable too with her cute western outfits. I could take some ensemble lessons from her!

  16. Hi Jane and Carol, and hubba hubba, Garner. Whew! I’d love to get to Cowboy Christmas and Fort Worth too. This is a great post and and I love the pix. I confess as a beach girl, I don’t dress Western, but I do have a beautiful cowgirl hat I got in Tahoe. With a turquoise medallion in the brim. I have worn it to a western-days book signing a while back with Margaret and Charlene, and it was an important article of clothing at my publishet’s retreat at a real ranch on Bandera TX a while back.

    I do love to shop, though, and got some darling horsey shirts at a nearby saddlery and western shop that donated all the sales that day to the horse rescue where I volunteer.

    Loved this post, ladies! Come back again, ya hear, Carol.

  17. I love, love, love your style, Carol. I’m a Midwesterner turned Floridian so my style leans toward practical, cool comfort. Not everyone has a defined style and I admire yours!

  18. I have never tried wearing anything that is western wear… no boots, hats, fringe, etc. They do look great though!

  19. I like Carol’s style. I have a few pair of boots. I am a shoe/boot person but would love to know how to dress :). I also enjoyed that I live in Texas and know Abilene, Mckinney, Mineral Wells. Grew up not far from Abilene. My brother lives in Stamford, TX not far from Abilene.

  20. I’m from Texas so I do have boots from Cavenders. I don’t wear much western clothes but occasionally I’ll buy something from Cavenders.

  21. I am a born and raised Iowa girl as well! However sadly I’m a semi city girl but from small town! My hubby works on a cattle farm in the winter and my house is all done in barn wood and chickens!

  22. I do like western wear but I was in Fort Worth and looked at the boots. My but they cost a lot.

  23. Whoa, love the looks. Soft leather is delicious. Being a December birthday, love my turquoise in bracelets and necklaces. I love the photo where Mac is climbing in the boot box!

  24. I really like Carol’s style. I don’t think I’ve ever worn western wear except for some boots and turquoise. Come to think og it, it’s been a while since I’ve worn any of my turquoise. I”ll have to see where I put it.

  25. Jane I loved this interview!!! Brought me back in time to my days back in Guam in ’94 hanging out at the club on the Naval Station for country night and the country bar down from the ship. All the guys wearing their crisp shirts and boots! Awesome – GREAT times!! I miss my cowboy boots that slid so smoothly across the wood floors when two-steppin’! ?

  26. This was a fun post to read. It makes me want to go shopping! I love turquoise jewelry! I have several pieces and it helps that it is one of my birthstones.

  27. I am not a big shopper. I do have some nice native american jewelry, but wear it with plain clothing to highlight the pieces. My most extensive special wardrobe consists of t-shirts and skirts I made myself. I was a children’s librarian and made skirts and pants out of print fabric with designs to fit with what we were doing. Normal people don’t wear skirts with dinosaurs, or Dr. Seuss characters, or sea creatures, or farm animals to very many places. Luckily most of the t-shirts are adult enough to when just hanging out.

  28. I loved reading this. I love turquoise. Would love to visit Texas one day.

  29. Even tho I’ve lived my entire life on a ranch in west TX, trendy western fashion is not my forté. Poor ankles, high arches, & cowboy boots are a clutz like me’s worst nightmare. I gave up squeezing my big bottom into tight jeans for my 40th bday. My cowboy hat has sweat stains & a dust ring. Turquoise is not my color. I do like Broomstick skirts, but they pick up a lot of stickers walking thru a pasture. The cowboys I know value me for my chuck wagon skills, not my fashion sense. So give me practical shoes & a good apron & I can cook a mean brisket.

    1. I love this, JJ!! I wish you could teach me how to cook a mean brisket, too!

      1. Well, sometimes it’s easy–I just go get a pre-cooked brisket from HEB and heat it up acc. to directions(haha). Other times, I put an uncooked brisket in the roaster after trimming the fat down, pour a can of coke, a bottle of beer, and some (NOT a whole bottle–depends on size of brisket)Claude’s Brisket Sauce over. Cook at 250F until tender. Usually 4-6 hrs depending on size of brisket. I make my own BBQ sauce, but that recipe is still somewhat of a secret;-)

  30. Loved all the pictures of shopping a clothes! Hate to shop–probably because the clothes look so much better on the manikins than on me–LOL. Thanks for all the URLS of great stores!

  31. I would love to have Carol’s closet. Where I live there are only a couple of western wear stores and very rarely do they get anything I like.

  32. Was the winner announced?

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