I’ve been seeing — and enjoying — western style motifs everywhere lately, from Acne’s FW 18 campaign featuring Cindy Crawford kicking up dust in a desert car graveyard to Telfar’s “TELFAR COUNTRY” collection composed of chap-like jeans, jumbo-fringed track jackets and the like. The more I noticed it, the more I started to wonder just how prominent western-wear will become in our current collective trend consciousness — and if I have what it takes to tackle the trend myself.
Fortunately for my uncertainty, I took note of an increasing number of stylish women incorporating western flourishes into their existing wardrobes. I specifically bookmarked a few Instagrams featuring cowboy hats — unironically. In my mind, this intrinsically western accessory was only relevant to Toy Story, Westworld and the week-long stretch that Halloween has become, but that no longer seems to be the case.
For example, model Molly Constable pairs hers with heavy-duty silver rings and an asymmetrical, party-ready dress.
Mellany Sanchez, Drake’s Image Director, goes all giddyup up top, then makes a hypebeast-y shift waist-down.
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And I would be remiss not to mention rapper Princess Nokia, who appears to be pioneering the alliance between prairiecore and the Wild West aesthetic.
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I realized the key to partaking in the western trend is more than just wearing “cowboy stuff” — it’s also having a deeper sense of trust in my personal style, like these women have in their own. With that in mind, I gave it a shot. Scroll down to see how it went.
I decided the only way to wear a bolo tie and Western belt in the same ensemble without looking like I was in costume was to extract them from their intended purpose. By opting for a slip dress instead of a button-down and incorporating more neutral accessories like an additional skinny belt, subtle gold earrings and patent leather ankle boots, I was able to establish the ideal amount of contrast between western and not.
When I came across Raf Simon’s first Calvin Klein Jeans Est. 1978 collection, I was in awe of their strikingly cinematic vibe. To ensure they remained the star of the show, I decided to pretend that the rest of my outfit was a theater and went full blackout (however, since I’m a firm believer in monochrome not being monotonous, I incorporated leather, pleather, satin and cotton for some textural variation). The pants are still a “statement” but the overall ensemble is not overtly western.
Although the double denim ensemble is commonly referred to as the “Canadian Tuxedo,” in the United States’ cultural consciousness, denim is also intrinsically western. Evidence lies in Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears’ infamous (read: iconic) matching, full-denim ensembles at the 2001 American Music Awards; there was a denim cowboy hat — need I say more?
Though I love a good co-ord, I think the most satisfying element of this look was presenting archetypal western elements in a way that felt figurative; the handkerchief tied on my head, rather than looped around my neck and cow print rendered in beads rather than hide. I finished off this look with ballet flats because the above-ankle crop of these jeans reminded me of Audrey Hepburn — who is decidedly un-cowboy and thus a helpful inspiration when avoiding western cliches.
I’ve been dreaming of owning white cowboy boots for about a month, and at last, they’ve made their way onto my feet. I’m about a year late to this footwear trend, but strutting around in these boots made me feel so powerful I’m not even slightly embarrassed by my tardiness.
A handful of different shoes could have finished off this look, (i.e. slouchy boots, chunky sneakers, slingbacks, etc), but white cowboy boots felt like the wildcard, and thus most fun, option. To keep people from thinking I’m participating in Wild West cosplay, I’ll continue to pair these boots with business-casual blazers, highly impractical mini bags and even vintage athleisure.
If you’re wondering if I’ll continue to incorporate western-wear into my wardrobe this season, the answer is: you’re darn tootin’ (sorry, had to). Are you chomping at the bit (again, sorry) to join me? Either way, give me a shout in the comments.
Photos by Louisiana Mei Gelpi.