Cowboy boots, wide-brim hats, and fringe jackets are obvious mainstays of western style—but designers will continue to up the ante with creative upgrades to classic staples. Gigi Hadid’s tie-dye boots merged two distinct trends in an unexpected way, making for a surprisingly cool result. Adding bright colors, going space cowboy via metallics, or updating textures with matte or silk will put a modern spin on the trend so it doesn’t feel costume-y or too on-the-nose.
If you follow Cardi B, you know the rapper couldn’t resist releasing her inner cowgirl in 2019, rocking everything from pastel chaps to rhinestone-encrusted 10-gallon hats onstage. But aside from her eccentric performance looks, Cardi B nailed one trend that’s more relatable for the real world: cow print. From Miaou to Burberry, the ranch-inspired print has been everywhere—but if you’re not here for a full-on cow-print look, try a statement accessory, like a handbag or fuzzy mules.
Office attire has shifted over the past ten years, with millennials rethinking what it means to be “work-appropriate” and suiting up in jeans and sneakers on more than just casual Friday. And while tees became commonplace in the boardroom, power suits and blazers are increasingly popular picks for a night out. It girls are choosing more structured looks for parties, red carpets, and even New Year’s Eve. Adding a western flair is a great way to offset your favorite power suit, similar to Solange’s all-black look, or Kendall Jenner’s low-key vibe with baby blue cowboy boots.
You can’t do western without fringe, leather, and boots—all of which make a nod toward typical biker style. Bella Hadid’s look at the Vogue Fashion Festival 2019 offered a fresh take on the rebellious aesthetic, pairing leather-paneled suede pants by Alexander Wang with square-toed boots and a cross necklace for major Hells Angels vibes. Style an oversized vintage Harley Davidson tee with leather skinny pants and pumps for a night out, or for a softer take, pair a boho dress with moto boots.
On the Prairie
If the steel-toed boots, leather jackets, and structured silhouettes of western style read a bit more masculine than you’re used to, try a prairie dress. Whether ruffled, tiered, or high-necked, the flowy option is a chic way to serve Americana vibes in the warmer months. Elle Fanning balanced hers with a pair of white cowboy boots, finishing off the romantic look with a relaxed top-knot and rose-toned sunglasses.
Last year was huge for Kacey Musgraves, as she crossed over into the mainstream with her Grammy Award-winning album, Golden Hour—but the singer made an impact on the style front, too. The “Space Cowboy” singer made a splash at the Met Gala with a bubblegum pink Barbie-themed getup and wore show-stopping on-stage looks all throughout her world tour. And she didn’t skimp on the rhinestones, glitter, or tinsel either. If anyone will inspire you to step into the world of western whimsy, it’s Kacey, so look to the singer for your next bedazzled moment.
If you need more rhinestone cowgirl inspo, check out the dreamy director’s cut for Solange’s When I Get Home. The R&B artist’s nod to cowboy culture—specifically the black cowboy, or “Yeehaw Agenda”—is jam-packed with western-inspired costuming worthy of your night-out aesthetic.
Athleisure Goes West
Whether you’re referencing street style or paparazzi photos, athleisure still rules the everyday—but keeping it cozy is really nothing new. Princess Diana managed to make sweatpants look high-brow in 1989, and Kendall Jenner is following (sweat) suit. The model pulled outfit inspiration from the late-great icon and paired blue sweatpants with white knee-high cowboy boots. For 2020, channel Diana and Kendall’s DGAF outfits for stylish hibernation-mode vibes.
It seems that yeehaw is a style trend that we can all get behind—from the pop star to the prim and proper among us. But bringing the Wild West into 2020 means giving the campy trend a few thoughtful twists. It’s a new fashion frontier, y’all.