Boots & Bling

San Antonio’s Bootmaker is on a Quest to Dress the Feet of Every Rodeo Girl

Tawana Timberlake
Tawana Timberlake | Photo by Al Zavala

When it comes to footwear, San Antonians know boots.

It’s rodeo season, so even more than normal we’re seeing the western wear taking over the street. Tawana Timberlake is a fixture in the San Antonio community, often wearing the most daring look in a sea of socialites. Her “Bling it On” custom boots have also become staples on the rodeo circuit, adorning the feet of Miss Rodeo America and many more. We sat down with the effervescent boot designer to find out how she envisions this business growing as big as the Texas sky.

San Antonio Woman: How did you get into cowboy boots?
Tawana Timberlake: I can’t remember not ever being enthralled with boots! But my addiction increased tenfold since retirement in 2007. No longer in a business office, I now indulge all my fashion dollars in casual and evening or event type wear. Western has ALWAYS been my preferred style; and boots are a must to complete that look! My first design that I created for myself in 2015 was born from a desire to have a pair of boots that screamed Texas, as I was going to see George Strait (front row) in Massachusetts. They are adorned with sequined bluebonnets, State of Texas outline, Texas map, yellow roses, horseshoes, Large Swarovski Lone Stars, longhorns, and totally encrusted with red white and clear Swarovski crystals.

SAW: Wow! What do you think makes cowboy boots a fashion statement?
TT: Perhaps it’s a feeling of being untamed, or “making a statement of the wild west,” but it’s never just been a trend here in Texas, it is a must fashion accoutrement! Some haute couture lines have added a modern twist to those who don’t want a total “cowgirl look”. I have even pulled off my evening ensembles wearing boots! Usually because I have “blinged them out.” In the last few years boot designers have started putting crystals on designs that are fab with evening wear for those who are comfortable doing it. Nothing is more fierce than a girl in her boots — fancy or basic; boots make a statement no shoe can ever duplicate.

SAW: Why should every girl own a pair of cowboy boots? Or should they?
TT: They absolutely should; and not just one pair! A girl can never have too many boots! The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo has received the PRCA Large Indoor Rodeo of the Year award for 13 consecutive years! It is the largest & most prestigious single event in the City, with over 2 million visitors attending in 2017! Boots are a must at the rodeo! But I wear them all the time — I have a t-shirt that reads “If I can’t wear my boots, I’m not going!”

SAW: What are some trends you’re seeing right now with boots?
TT: Lots of bling, studs, embroidered florals, intricate tooling and special themes to satisfy any desire for those who crave to go all out. If you can dream it, there are many custom boot makers to make them! “Flipped shaft” boots are the newest look-which is basically the shaft turned down to form an ankle style boot.

SAW: Is there anything you tell someone buying their first pair to stay away from?
TT: Comfort is key. There are some expensive boots that kill my feet and some inexpensive ones that feel great. Usually buy 1/2 size up so you can wear a sock for long days. The correct fitting cowboy boot can be worn all day in total comfort.

SAW: What are your favorite pair of boots you’ve made for someone?
TT: I’d have to say Miss Rodeo America 2017, who was also Miss Rodeo Texas 2016.

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