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11th Apr 2023

The emergence of cowboy fashion and it’s dominance over street style

Ellen Fitzpatrick

Everyone’s wearing it.

Street style trends previously came and went each season, with the runways dictating each piece we’d see.

Once a new season of fashion emerged during fashion week, that would be all we’d wear until the next but in the new era of social media – a lot has changed.

The latest online and on-the-street trend is cowboy-esque. We’re seeing Western styles popping up in every which way.

When it comes to this latest street style trend, it has been absolutely dominating in recent weeks. Think cowboy boots, riding boots, vests and hats – this trend is not playing around.

Milan and Paris Fashion weeks for Fall/Winter 23/24 have been overrun by Western looks, every picture coming from them seems to incorporate some accessory from this distinct style.

Whether it’s a simple t-shirt and jeans paired with a cowboy hat or a riding vest decked out in fringe, there’s something to be said about this trend.

When it comes to accessorising within this trend, think of the basics of any cowboy or cowgirl. The hats, the harnesses, bolo ties and of course, the boots.

These staple pieces make up any look in this trend, they piece it together. Whether it’s all put together or one stand alone item, it is immediately noticeable as Western.

But where did this trend begin? The Western trend is nothing new. This has been an integral part of the culture in southern US states since they have existed. It reminds us of the history there and allows the people of these states to represent their heritage in a new way.

Starting in the 1800s, this style was defined by cowboys, outlaws and ranchers. It first started as a more practical style of dressing, the hats were designed to stay on while horse riding, the bolo tie was to add colour and the boots were again made to create more ease when on horseback.

Jeans then became popular due to the cheap material and more breathability. Originally, the fringed look was to keep in heat while working long hours on the farm, while leather overlayers allowed for more compartments when carrying various necessities.

This style has had its moments over the last number of years. In 2016, we saw a resurgance in the style and again in 2020. Now, it appears to be at a pinnacle.

Shailene Woodley showed up at a Christian Dior show in Paris wearing suspenders and a fedora. Alessandro Michele added staple esquestrian styles to his Gucci FW 2023 collection in Milan. Bella Hadid wore cowboy style boots to the Thom Browne show in Paris. Emily Ratajkowski wears cowboy boots while strutting around New York.

This time around, the trend seems to be one that’s here to stay – at least for a while.

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