How to Style a Western Boot

When I say “Western boots”, what's the first thing that comes to your mind? If you say “cowboy”, “countryside”, or “line-dancing”, you're not the only one. Western boots tend to conjure up images of the American south, complete with rodeos and dusty landscapes – and you'd be forgiven for thinking that the only way to style them is with wide-brimmed hats and double denim. But this season, be prepared for all of that to change as Western boots are a booming a new-season trend.

This autumn, VOGUE hailed them as “the standout footwear trend of 2022”, noting that cowboy boots have shown up on the feet of celebs such as FKA Twigs, Dua Lipa and Emily Ratajkowski, - and the Western-inspired designs were now sold by Coperni, Isabel Marant, and Khaite to name a few. So it's safe to say that cowboy boots are here to stay. But how – and where – do we wear them? The short answer is: everywhere. Depending on the style of boot that you choose, Western boots can work for many occasions, and can be dressed up or down for daytime or evening.

Proportions

The long answer is a bit more detailed. First of all, consider proportions. Are you going for a higher boot or a lower one? Does it have a modest heel or a higher one? And, most importantly – how daring do you want to be with your outfit?

Take a streamline, low-necked black boot, for example. It can be easily teamed with a slim pair of trousers and a crisp shirt for a daytime look that could, dress code permitting, even be considered office-appropriate. Alternatively, pair this more demure design with a structured day dress to add interest.

For the weekend

  
For the weekend, things get infinitely easier: throw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt (preferably a graphic-printed one) and you're done. The casualness of the occasion allows you to take more liberties with the style of boot: think colours, patterns, embroideries. An unassuming, slouchy-fitting weekend dress could be the perfect partner for a cowboy boot. It lends that hint of relaxed playfulness while allowing the shoe to take centre stage.
 

When styling a Western boot, be careful not to over-style: your shoes are certain to be a statement piece, so keep other elements of the outfit somewhat neutral. That said, Western boots don't take themselves too seriously, so if you want to be a bit more playful and relaxed with your look, now is your chance

Outfit Ideas 

When it comes to outfit ideas for Western boots, the trick is not to get locked into cowboy-esque stereotypes. While this statement piece may seem difficult to match, in reality your options are endless. Tuck slim-fit trousers into the boot for casual appeal, or, if your shoe is of the lower-necked variety, team it with wide-leg jeans for a Seventies throwback. Skirt lengths are best kept to the extremes - either a playful, cheeky mini or a floating maxi. Avoid midis, which tend to need a bit more structure. Opt instead for an on-trend miniskirt or dress that will show off the boot by leaving some space between the two textures of the skirt and boot. Alternatively, if you're after the free-spirited, bohemian-inspired look, go for a floor-grazing maxi. What to add on top? Depending on the weather, a simple white t-shirt or a chunky, cosy knit are your best bets.

Style with boho-chic accessoires or not?

You might be tempted to team the Western boots with a boho-chic accessory like a fringed or embroidered bag. This all-out hippie-infused pairing has its time and place, but if you're not ready to go full-on bohemienne, refrain. If you prioritise balance, resist the urge: the result might be an overload of decorative elements. Instead, go for a sleek, minimalist cross-body bag or slouchy tote without embellishments. These will allow your boots to shine as the rightful stars of the outfit. Same goes for jewellery: while a strategically placed long chain with a crystal pendant or some stacked, delicate gold rings might add interest, a heap of colourful bracelets or a pair of long, dangly earrings are likely to overdo it. Once again, balance is key.

Can a Western boot ever be appropriate for evening? The answer is: it depends on your plans for the night. If you're looking at a black-tie invitation where formalwear will reign supreme, it goes without saying that your cowboy boots are best left at home in favour of a sultry sandal or a sleek stiletto. But if you're planning a pub crawl, few things say "cool girl" more loudly than a loose-fitting, relaxed mini dress paired with a pair of Western boots, or your favourite pair of jeans and vintage band t-shirt, teamed with that cowboy pair. Make sure you master messy hair and an irreverent smokey eye for the ultimate in undone chic.

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