Cowboy fashion is one of those styles that will never go away. Due to the way it’s embedded in Western culture, there will always be revivals and pieces of Western wear that are infused into modern culture. Whether it’s a new take on denim-on-denim, new floral or paisley patterns on prairie dresses, the infamous cowboy boot, or the classic appeal of a fringed, Western-style jacket – the unique style of the 19th century Wild West is here to stay. Because of the popularity of Western movies in the 1900s, the style has been established as an American classic.
Let’s have a look at a few of the most popular cowboy fashion styles.
Known as one of the most apparent staples of cowboy fashion, the infamous denim-on-denim has become a streetwear staple in recent years. The variations that exist within denim-on-denim can consist of different shades of denim, sometimes adding denim shirts underneath denim jackets, using light wash and dark wash, or light-wash head to toe. Created by Levi Strauss for manual labourers in the West of the United States in the late 1800s, one of the most iconic pieces of denim-on-denim fashion is the denim jacket. But, the denim-on-denim style is no longer just for manual labourers – supermodels like Emrata and Gigi Hadid have added denim-on-denim to their everyday wardrobes. If you’re new to denim-on-denim, try and use two different washes, a light wash on top and a dark wash on the bottom. Don’t worry about adding the denim button-up until you’re ready.
Jackets are essential to bringing a look together, and it’s the same for cowboy fashion. Especially with the flamboyance of fringe and the rustic appeal of dark brown suede, ‘Western Jackets’ are staples in the Wild West fashion. One of the most apparent features of this style is the ‘wear and tear’ that can be seen on the jacket. If suede or leather, the essence of the Western style is captured in the distressed material, linking back to the idea of Western fashion being made for the working class. Whether these jackets are made from leather, suede, or snakeskin, with or without fringe, or cropped, ‘Western Jackets’ is a customizable type of Western fashion. If fringe on a jacket makes you nervous, go for a dark brown suede or leather jacket. But to really embody cowboy fashion, fringe is a must.
The Cowboy Boot
The cowboy boot is a cultural relic of the USA. Originally crafted to help cowboys stay in place in their stirrups, the cowboy boot was an item of clothing that was born out of necessity. Now, the cowboy boot is offered in different ‘exotic’ skins – alligator, snake, boar, elk, and more. Known for its boxed-off pointed-toe, stitching and heels, the cowboy boot is easily distinguishable from any other boot. Often, the boot comes up to the midcalf. The cowboy boot is incredibly versatile. They’re meant to be comfortable, hence why they regularly appear at Coachella and other festivals, and they look cute. You can style the cowboy boot with a pair of boot-cut or flare jeans, a cute mini skirt or summer dress, a prairie dress, with a denim jacket… the options are endless.
A Praire Dress
One of the most distinct pieces of cowboy fashion is the long, flowing dress. Often categorised by the pattern, whether it be paisley or floral, a prairie dress is a staple in the cottage-core aesthetic. Characterised by ‘voluminous sleeves’ and ‘a billowing body’ (Vogue), the prairie dress is iconic in both the cottage-core aesthetic and cowboy fashion. Originally sewn for women living in the prairies (obviously), it’s a delicate dress, breathable for the sun-stricken days, allowing movement when the winds would pick up on the dry afternoons. It’s perfect for hot days and cooler nights. Try pairing it with a denim jacket and some sandals on a sunset date night, or pair it with a popular but classic pair of sunglasses and a hat on a sunny day.
For everyday fashion, the key is doing what you feel comfortable with. If you want to embrace cowboy fashion head-on, just do it! Wear a linen or cotton prairie dress, a pair of neutral cowboy boots, or a similar coloured ‘Western jacket’, or pair it with a big Wild West-style belt. Stick to similar shades of accessories, it keeps the outfit cohesive. If you’re feeling a bit nervous by the idea of looking like you stepped out of a Western film, simply add cowboy boots to a cute, summer dress, or rock it with a classic denim jacket on a night out. The possibilities with cowboy fashion are endless.