How the West was Worn - Cowboy Fashion Finds its Stride

Image Courtesy of POSTKULTURE
Written by Peyton Haahr

Riding the horizon line back into fashion is something we didn’t think we’d be expecting to see in both women's wear and menswear anytime soon. We’re getting off our high-fashion horse and rounding up a trend that many will love, but a lot will also hate. It’s that of cowboy, Western fashions. We’re not simply talking about a good pair of denim or the worn flannel check top. We’re all about the fringe, the double-denim looks, and even the cowboy boots that now are getting the upscale fashion update. What this doesn’t mean is for you to strap on your Halloween costumes complete with chaps, bandanas, and cowboy hats - we’re here to whip out the best options and pieces to incorporate into your wardrobe (save for the horse) and give your outfits just a little bit of Western flair without crossing the line into uncharted territory.  

The most obvious part of the trend is denim. Everything denim. It’s such a versatile fabric that it can fit almost any trend, style, and color. But, there is an essence of history that comes along with denim and Western influences. It was the look of choice for the working class and outdoors-type, and has remained one of the most iconic pieces in fashion history since the 1800s. So, it calls for an update of your denim stock, in the search to find a pair with a hint of Western influence that doesn’t feel dirty, old, or worn out. Fashion’s love of denim is endless, and it always seems like you can never have too many pairs.

Look for non-traditional denim. By this, we mean targeting looks that had a bit of edge to them, a bit of sense that they’ve been lived-in, and loved well. Vintage fabrics and washes give you a head start on this idea, but also look into different colors - not just classic blue. Stone, milk, tans, and brown tones can be perfect additions if you feel like you’ve got all you need in terms of blue jeans. And in terms of this trend, looser cuts are recommended. We know and dearly love our skinny jeans that are tight in all the right places, but there has been a resurgence of straight leg cuts, flares, and boyfriend styles, all of which have been met with strong popularity. A jean with a bit of slouch adds an air of relaxation and casual coolness - the idea that you’ve ridden the dusty planes of a desert reminscent of A Fistfull of Dollars and made it through to tell your tale.

Photos Courtesy of & Frame Spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear

The other half of the equation is the denim jacket. The double-denim, or denim-on-denim look, whatever you want to call it - is a popular one. Some people cringe at the thought of that whole matching look, but it is the perfect combination of the two trends. A jean jacket is another must-have in the average fashionable closet. Our stylists here at Matti D are always on the hunt for their next favorite denim jacket, and always love the looks we’re able to deliver and style for our clients in-store. And again, like with your basic favorite jeans, it’s time to kick this up a notch. You can do a lot of things with the classic jean jacket. Think: fringe, distressing, patches, embroidery, patterns, cuts and slashes - everything. For the Western microtrend, target looks that add flair, especially those with fringe and not too much distressing. Structured looks are popular, and especially those with contrasting piping and stitching that play up that industrial feel. Distressing is a big trend, yet the structured, slightly stiff jackets seem to have the essence of riding right off the ranch and onto the high-fashion streets of the city. Pieces with an edge of fringe to them can be a total win. Fringe is a touchy trend, one that is tricky to get right, considering too much and you can look like a flapper from the 20s, and too little and it might come off like a DIY craft gone wrong.

Photos Courtesy of & Emporio Armani Spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear (SIMONA CHIOCCIA SICKI/IPA/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)

Western style has gone high fashion, from head to toe. Cowboy boots - in all their classic styles and unique variations - have become a footwear phenomena. Their introduction to the high fashion world was a few seasons ago, but their popularity hasn’t stopped growing since. The functionality normally associated with most things labeled as Western has found a stylish mix with these boots. You have options, too, in finding your perfect boot. Some brands have presented an updated, yet still nostalgic version of what you would think of as classic styles for a cowboy boot. Many feature color blocking, snakeskin prints, wooden heels, and decorative piping along the sides. At Carolina Herrara, knee-grazing boots were presented in deep blacks and reddish-browns, many featuring floral and foliage appliques on the sides. They found a brilliant middle ground that was marked by a sense of sophistication and elegance, but also showed its clear influences from the West. Find a boot that will work well with your wardrobe, that you can feel comfortable throwing on with your favorite jeans, or even pair with a flowing floral summer dress for a unique combination. These boots can act as a punchy choice to spice up your professional wardrobe, or be a casual throw-on instead of sneakers if you are looking for an extra choice with a little more upscale feel. After all, these boots were made for walking.

Photos Courtesy of Carolina Herrera Spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear (Monica Feudi /

When you think of ‘Western’, a lot of things come to mind. Whether it’s gun-toting horse riders galloping across the barren wastelands, bull fights, or simply classic films like Stagecoach, Butch Cassidy, or The Magnificent Seven, we’ve all got a similar idea when it comes to fashion. It conjures thoughts of well-worn denim, classic button-downs, even suede and leather. Yet we’re moving off the dusty planes and on to the runway. Traditionally western pieces are getting an update, bringing a modern sense of style and sophistication to their threads. Classic styles aren’t being tampered with, instead given a twist to make them versatile, wearable, and unique in every detail. So, holster that pistol, hop on your horse, and ride with us to find the best of the West for your fashion needs.