In the words of Tom Mix, “The Old West is not a certain place in a certain time; it’s a state of mind. It’s whatever you want it to be.”
The American West is a staple in history and culture, retaining its influences from days long past. Today, you see traces of Western style throughout the country, from the recognizable cowboy Stetson hat to the versatile cowboy boots. Even if you aren’t well-versed in Western culture or don’t even listen to country music, it’s still heavily respected and captures the heart of America.
It can feel intimidating when you’re itching to bring Western styles into your wardrobe. Luckily, our ultimate guide to styling women’s Western clothing isn’t complicated or overwhelming. By starting simple and working your way out from the basics, you won’t want to go back.
What Classifies As Western Wear?
So, what exactly is Western wear? The American definition of Western wear is taking style notes from cowboys and cowgirls, such as the classic cowboy boot, Stetson hat, large belt buckles, duster jackets, and more. When you think of “Western,” you can imagine classic Western-style movies with famous actors such as Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Sam Elliot, and many others.
Moreover, Western styling makes people think of country singers, including Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, Tim McGraw, and many more. The heart of Western styling comes from clothing that has evolved from the nineteenth-century American West style. You can see its influences across America and even throughout the world.
Know Your Western Staples
To properly style Western clothing, you need to know the clothing staples of Western fashion. Don’t fly out the gate with every Western-style clothing piece and accessory; keep it simple with one or two staples as a focal piece.
It’s no secret that every aspiring cowgirl needs a pair of cowboy boots. They’re an iconic pair of Western wear for their practicality, durability, and styling. The design of cowboy boots, such as the rounded or pointed toe, makes it easy to get into horse saddle stirrups, while the leather protects the wearer from danger out in the wild.
When styling cowgirl boots, you want three pairs for different occasions. Your first pair should suit everyday activities, your second pair should have a more sophisticated style with lacing and eye-catching color, and your third pair should fit between casual and fancy.
Leather statement belts are practical and versatile for capturing the Western aesthetic, especially paired with a nice pair of blue jeans. Leather belts offer a sturdy, durable fit that won’t wear out quickly, even when you rotate belt buckles.
Western accessories are fabulous options for dressing up your outfit. You’ll want pieces that feature a lot of turquoise and leather. You can also incorporate feathers, dream catchers, and beads into your style to improve your look. Try not to use more than two or three pieces, as it can overwhelm your outfit and make it look cheap.
Tips for Wearing Women’s Western Clothes
Now that you have your staples, you’re ready to dive deeper into the world of women’s Western clothing. Here are some tips to remember.
Style With Your Boots
Whether you’re wearing a plain white tee and denim jeans or a flowy patterned dress, nothing pulls it together better than a pair of cowboy boots. Cowboy boots offer endless styling possibilities, from a night out with your girlfriends to a concert with your hot date.
Cowboy boots come in different styles, including the classic cowhide leather with a stacked heel, rounded pointed toe, and shorter boot shaft, or the newer “roper” style with a low heel and shorter boot shaft that ends at the ankle. Cowboy boots make for the perfect denim jeans accent, whether you’re rocking your favorite pair of skinny jeans or dark blue bell bottoms that channel your inner cowgirl.
Practice the 50/50 Rule
Balance is critical for making a Western-styled outfit look effortless without looking over or underdone. You’ll want to focus on the 50/50 rule— half of your outfit should incorporate Western styles, while the other half should focus on simplicity. You don’t want to go overboard by wearing your boots, cowgirl graphic tee, fringed skirt, big statement buckle, and a loud Aztec cardigan; it can look too busy and won’t create a cohesive outfit.
If you have a deep desire to wear cowgirl boots, style your outfit around those boots with simple clothing pieces, such as skinny jeans, a Western blouse or pullover, and a denim jacket. By making a Western clothing piece the focal point of your outfit, you can balance it with sophisticated, seamless accessorizing and layering.
Layer to Your Desire
In our guide to styling women’s Western clothing, a tried-and-true way to get the most out of your outfit is through layering. While it’s easier to layer in a cooler season versus a warmer one, don’t let that intimidate you. Start with a simple foundation of a Western graphic tee and your favorite pair of denim jeans or shorts. From there, you can layer with a fringed jacket, a patterned cardigan, or a light denim jacket to give it an edgier feel.
Moreover, don’t just stick with jackets, sweaters, or blazers; layer through accessorizing, adding more fabrics, or headwear. Consider adding statement jewelry, stylish boots, and other eye-catching details. Stylish layering aims to create dimension, warmth, or a combination of both.
Make It Your Own
You don’t have to follow every single style pinboard or magazine you see to capture the Western aesthetic. Instead, make it your own and bring out your personality with it. If you like more urban styling in your wardrobe, combine subtle accents with your Western style for a more personalized, one-of-a-kind look.
You don’t have to stick with the current trends; pull from inspirations from the past and bring them to the modern day for a fun, retro Western style others will admire. Your goal is to embrace Western styles with comfort and confidence; don’t get caught up in the complexities of fashion, and remember to keep it simple.
Western clothing is perfect for all ages and occasions. At Western Soul®, we are a women’s Western wear boutique that offers unique and stylish pieces for every aspiring cowgirl. Our line of Crazy Train Clothing and other women’s Western fashion helps you show off your inner Western girl by offering regular and plus-sized pieces for your wardrobe. Give our Western clothing a try today; we offer the best pieces and products for year-round Western styling.