A duster is a light, loose-fitting long coat. The original dusters were full-length, light-colored canvas or linen coats worn by horsemen to protect their clothing from trail dust. These dusters were typically slit up the back to hip level for ease of wear on horseback. Dusters intended for riding may have features such as a buttonable rear slit and leg straps to hold the flaps in place. For better protection against rain, dusters were made from oilcloth and later from waxed cotton. Dusters were the recommended "uniform" for Texas Rangers.
Western horsemen's dusters figured little in Western films until Sergio Leone re-introduced them in his movies The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966) and Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). The latter played for many months in Paris and was in part credited with a revival of the duster in men's fashions in that city. Similarly, in the film genre of heroic bloodshed, primarily through Chow Yun Fat and John Woo, the hero is often seen wearing a duster. That is also true of the fictional anti-hero Omar Little, who wears dusters both as outerwear and as a silk sleepwear coverup in the HBO series, The Wire.
Dusters gained renewed popularity in the late 20th century and are now a standard item of Western wear.
- Picken, Mary Brooks (1957). The Fashion Dictionary (1973 ed.). Funk and Wagnalls. ISBN 0-308-10052-2.
- "Omar Little is the gay stick-up man who robs drug dealers for a living in The Wire". The Guardian. July 19, 2008.
- "The Wire Cast and Crew: Omar Little, PLAYED BY MICHAEL K. WILLIAMS". HBO.
- Honig, Peter (July 31, 2012). "Omar in the Dell". The Wire Blog.