A Girls’ Guide to Wearing Western
The Western look is trendy right now – but how do you pull it off without looking like a rodeo clown?
The key is to wear Western-inspired pieces as just another part of your regular outfit. Don’t dress up head-to-toe for a day on the ranch, unless you’re actually spending a day on the ranch. Harmonize your outfits with a variety of fabrics and textures, including Western favorites like yoke-front shirts, cow prints, cowboy boots, and rhinestones. Look for unique pieces that combine modern sensibilities with traditional, Western fashion.
The biggest mistake you can make when you’re embracing the Western trend is to doll yourself up in Western gear from head to toe. If you go all out with a ten-gallon hat, bolo tie, yoke-front shirt, leather chaps, jeans, and cowboy boots, you’re going to look like you’re wearing a costume. Ditto if you dress your family up in head-to-toe Western wear, too.
Don’t get us wrong – there’s a time and a place for everything, including head-to-toe Western wear, but the place is the frontier and the time is 1870. All jokes aside, if you’re going to a rodeo, heading to the ranch, or visiting family in the Lone Star State, wear as much Western gear as your heart commands. Otherwise, try to keep your outfit’s ratio of Western gear to non-Western gear at 50/50.
Western gear depends heavily on denim, but you should avoid the Canadian tuxedo look. Mix your fabrics and textures. Pair your denim jeans with a fringed leather jacket. Wear your cowboy boots with slacks and a silky top, or a structured pantsuit. Grab a pair of cowboy boots with silk appliques or go for a space-cowboy theme with a metallic finish. Mix leather pieces made with hair-on hide and those made with smooth calfskin. Get creative – pull a page from Princess Diana’s book and match sweatpants with cowboy boots, pair a cow-print mini skirt with a crop top, or throw on a prairie blouse with your jeans and boots. Your little girl can get in on the fun, too – dress her in girls’ western shirts with fun prints, paired with a pair of jeans or her favorite skirt and cowboy boots.
When it comes to wearing the Western trend successfully, you can’t go wrong with a unique piece. Think cowboy boots that are tie-dyed, or a yoke-front shirt studded with rhinestones. Grab a mini dress in cow print sateen, a pair of mules in hair-on calf leather, or a jacket in black-and-white cow-print denim. Rock a knee-high pair of baby-blue cowboy boots. Unique pieces are an easy way to add some Western flair to what might otherwise be a pretty ordinary, hum-ho look – and because they’re not traditional, they’re a lot easier to pull off if you’re a city slicker.
Any outfit can be a Western outfit with the addition of the right hat – and for most people looking to jump on the Western trend bandwagon, “the right hat” is a cowboy hat. Cowboy hats aren’t just for men – plenty of women also wear them, and many prefer a hat with a narrow pinched front, which can make your cheekbones look higher and your chin stronger.
But felt and leather cowboy hats aren’t the only option. For a light and airy summer look, try a straw cowboy hat. Straw hats breathe better in the sultry southwestern summers, and a few fresh flowers wrapped around the band lends a feminine, romantic touch. For a more casual look, grab a Western-themed ball cap. As a lady, you don’t have to worry about taking off your hat indoors, unless you are wearing it to protect yourself from the weather.
Boots, hats, yoke-front shirts, bolo ties, and the like might seem a little too masculine for your tastes, and if so, the prairie dress look is for you. These fluffy, flouncy, flowy dresses call back to an earlier era of femininity, and they’re just as Western as a pair of cowboy boots. Try prairie-style blouses paired with jeans, too.
Western wear may be fashion-forward, but it’s easy to make a faux pas when you wear this trend, especially if you overdo it. Mix Western-inspired pieces into your everyday outfits for an extra touch of fashion flair – and one that shows off your uniquely American sensibilities, whether you’re at the rodeo, on the farm, or strolling down a city street.