How To Wear Western Wear Without Looking Like a Costume

Kastle Waserman
by Kastle Waserman

Western wear never seems to go out of style. Whether you’re going to a country music concert, a rodeo or just a theme party, it never hurts to have a few western accessories in your wardrobe.


The “cowboy” look originated in twelfth-century Spain, where cattle herders wore brimmed hats, bolero jackets, ponchos, chaps and spurred boots that helped them do their work and withstand the outdoor elements. The look spread globally as a practical uniform for working on ranches and farms.

The look became glamorized in America in the 1940s and 1950s by Hollywood’s Wild West movies starring such icons as John Wayne, Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. It became synonymous with the American spirit and culture.


I grew up in Texas and now live in Colorado, so I’ve always been around people who sport western wear on a daily basis. I enjoy adding hints of western wear, particularly vintage style, to my wardrobe. But there is a trick to pulling it off without looking too over-the-top. Here are some ideas for how to wear western wear without looking like a costume.

Belt and Boots For a Subtle Cowgirl Look

You can make pretty much any outfit have a western theme with a western belt and some fun cowboy boots. Belts are an easy, affordable accessory. Look for one with a classic western buckle and tooled leather detail. Boots can range from very expensive to thrift store finds. It’s up to you to determine how much you will wear them and how much you want to spend. I love my thrifted pair here because they were already broken in when I got them, so the leather is soft and comfy.  Shop thrifted cowboy boots.

Western Shirt Show Stopper

Glen Campbell once sang about a “Rhinestone Cowboy,” and nothing says “cowboy” like an ornately embroidered western shirt. These shirts can come in simple western trim to those with intricate designs and sparkles. No matter how minimal the design, it will be the focus of your outfit. If you don’t want to look too much like you’re wearing a cowboy costume, keep clear of other western accessories, maybe just a traditional leather belt and simple, chic boots, and let the shirt be the showpiece. It’s really the only western wear you need to get the look across.  Shop western shirts.

Just a Cowboy Hat Statement Piece

Well howdy, partner! A tip of a cowboy hat always has fun western flair. It’s a big statement-making piece, and they come in a variety of colors and styles from felt to straw to wool and a variety of brim sizes, so you can get whatever suits you. You can also accessorize your accessory with a hatband, which can be a simple ribbon to ornate beading and feathers. You can also add a pin made of metal and stone details. Just like with the western shirt, it’s such a bold accessory, you really don’t need any other western wear to create a fun cowgirl look. The hat will say it all.  Shop western hats.


So now that you know how to rock some western wear without looking like you’re in a costume, which piece will you try first?


See more of my styling on my blog  Stiletto City and  Instagram page.


Items shown here are from my personal collection. Links are not sponsored or affiliated.

The author may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

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