Taking fashion by the horns: looking at the Western fashion trend

By Kaitlin Dunn
Lifestyle Editor

As a fashion-forward society, we see repetitions and resurgences of trends all the time – 70s, 80s, and 90s fashion have all seen some form of fashion revival in recent years. Recently, however, we have not seen a resurgence in a decade of fashion, but a specific style.

Western — or “cowboy” — style has been seen on a number of celebrities within the last year, from Lil Nas X’s pink cowboy Grammy’s outfit to Bella Hadid incorporating cowboy boots into her streetwear.

“The cowboy has fascinated designers long before this current phase, and we’re not just talking Ralph Lauren’s beloved double denim. The Rockabillly movement in the mid–1950s was influenced by the debonair, peacocking style of Hollywood cowboys at the time, while the buckskin jackets used by frontiersmen were adapted into the suede, fringed jacket,” Richard Jones with FashionBeans said.

Part of this trends current popularity is perhaps a counterculture to the loungewear of quarantine. In a desire to go as far as possible from the COVID-19 uniform of sweatpants, the leather heavy trend of Western wear acts in perfect opposition to that.

“[Western wear is] an antidote to loungewear, playing to consumers’ desires to dress up again post-pandemic. Following a year indoors, the great outdoors has emerged as the ultimate destination, and trends that speak to this aesthetic will be high on consumers’ radars,”  Kayla Marci, market analyst at intelligence platform Edited, said.

With the resurgence of the trend, it is easy enough to style, so here are some ways you can incorporate the wild west into your own personal wardrobe.

Cowboy Boots

Cowboy boots can be dressed up, adding a funky spin to an otherwise formal outfit, or dressed down in jeans and a cropped t-shirt.

Celebrities such as Dua Lipa, Kourtney Kardashian, and Kendall Jenner have been see rocking cowboy boots, only aiding in their place within the trend cycle.

But thanks to their newfound popularity, anyone can find cowboy boots for any budget.

Cow Print

Like Western fashion, animal prints have seen a resurgence in popularity at different points in time, and cow print is no exception. Seen on decor, clothes, and even Kylie Jenner, this animal print is minimalistic enough to match with any outfit — after all, black and white do go with everything.

“Because cow print harkens back to horseback riding and days out on the wide open range, you’ll want to pair your cow print items with street wear-influenced pieces to go from Western rancher to city cool girl. Skinny 90s-style sunglasses, oversize blazers in futuristic hues, and heeled boots will all pair nicely and give you quintessential 2021 style,” said Forbes Style and Beauty Contributer, Sarah Boyd.

Chaps

A bit more out there than the other trending cowboy items, chaps can make a great statement piece to any ensemble. The term is a direct translation from the Spanish word “chaparreras,” and they are type of leg protector meant to aid in horseback riding.

While may people today are not riding horses as a primarily form of transportation, this doesn’t mean we have to phase out chaps in a fashion sense too.

 Simply pair them with a body suit and any other Western accessories you desire, and you’ve got a great outfit that any cowboy would love.

Cowboy hats

Cowboy hats are arguably the first and most prominent item within this trend — from “space cowboy” Halloween costumes to the wide variety of colors you can find the hats in, cowboy hats are an accessible part of this trend that allow you to partake without spending too much money or forcing you to change up your personal style too much.

Prairie Dresses

A style of dress defined by a square neckline, longer sleeves, and lighter patterns, the Prairie dress can be a staple within a wardrobe long after this trend cycle has passed.

Despite being called “Pilgrim-core” and being mocked on social media platforms, pilgrim dresses have earned their place in the Western trend cycle.

The dresses offer a softer, more traditionally feminine touch to a style that is typically noted by darker colors and more traditionally masculine fabrics.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

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