Story by LA Sokolowski
If haute couture is any indication, horse couture is no longer on the fringe of fashion and has moved out of the stable and on to the street.
“Right now, Western is a huge trend in mainstream fashion,” said Shane Holman, Senior Director of Global Western Merchandising, Trend and Market Development for Ariat International.
“We are seeing it all over runways … The trend gives a nod to the spirit of the West. Every shade of brown is trending:
Distressed, pre-worn, rugged browns are hot! For men, snap shirts are great for an edgy look. For women, small prints are trending with a retro vibe.”
In Ballston Spa, where the Double M Western Store has been a destination stop for boot lovers for more than half a century, Cindy Martin says brown is the most common choice: “Our goal is finding boots for the everyday person going to concerts, for weekend attire, or for creating a look all their own.”
“Our Western clothing line has changed dramatically,” Martin added, “in that traditional plaid button-down shirts for women have gone away. I sell more clothing that looks like Calvin Klein or Ralph Lauren. Men’s clothing is still somewhat traditional, with snap shirts and plaids but, to look fashionable now, shirts aren’t always tucked in.”
Distressed browns are also trending at Mitchell’s Western Wear in Auburn, where proprietor Kathy Mitchell said, “Boots never go out of style. Companies have gotten smarter about creating ‘distressed look’ boots with built-in comfort. And Western style has worldwide appeal: We have customers from England, Germany, Holland, Ireland, South Africa, and the Ukraine, who plan their travel itinerary around shopping here.
“The shirt-jeans-boot look is an American classic. Trends
come and go, but never throw out your Western stuff!”
That said, Ariat’s Holman notes that jeans are getting a new
twist. “There will always be customers who prefer low waists,
but higher waistlines are becoming more accepted ... We’re
also seeing cleaner pockets, with less embroidery, heavy stitching, or embellishments.”
As makers of authentic boots for Olympic riders and world champion cowboys (plus everyday fashionistas), the Ariat trend guru said, “two favorite looks are our short bootie, called the Darlin, that goes with pants, skirts or shorts. We also love wedge boots … that combine mainstream looks with Western DNA.”
EQ STYLE: They've always been an American classic. Now jeans and boots are hip and haute, easily going from stable to street.
looks are “making their way to the show pen in the form of ultra-comfortable patterned shirts.”
Where all these Western fashion experts agree is this: Fringe will always be in. But rhinestone ‘bling’ and overly embroidered back pockets? Not so much.
“Those who rode in embellished jeans are tired of their saddles taking the brunt of their fashion choices,” one expert said. Both have become trends that are taking a back seat to a cleaner, more classic look.
“Western fashion seems to be a theme that all designers are clawing to pin together. While many loved HBO’s ‘West World’ and the ‘Gunslinger’ adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, some think it’s due to the reemergence of the Wild West in general," PRWeb reported. "Even Dior knows Western style is ‘in.’”
Holman, who personally favors a “denim chambray shirt with skinny denims and a bootie,” offers this stylish ensemble advice: For men, a wrinkle-free, woven shirt and slim-fit jeans. For women, a snap shirt and skinny jean. Boots with both, natch.
“Both of these looks,” she said, “will take you from stable to street.”
Hobby Horse Clothing Company CEO, Kristin Titov, sees Western style also making a snug statement through leggings: “We’ve seen patterned leggings in street style for a couple of years now. Southwestern patterns, like feathers and cactus, are particularly on trend.” In a street to stable reversal, louder