Haute On The Ranch: Western is Style, Not a Design

It’s not often we write about themes with much “depth” to them -- we tend to keep things pretty light around here -- but this is one that’s been on our minds lately. Maybe it’s the continuous stream of ideas flowing across our social feeds, the trips to market scouring rack after rack for those perfect pieces, or the recent {lengthy} discussions on apparel and footwear design. Maybe it’s all of the above.

Regardless, the players in the industry -- ourselves included -- seem to have countless thoughts and ideas on what makes something “western.” And the fact is, it’s not one thing at all. It’s not one “thing” because western is a collective style. It’s not just design. It’s the achievement of whatever sought-after look you were inspired to create. It’s not any one pattern or pocket or stitching detail. It’s the overall statement you make with “your brand” of western when you walk out the door each day -- and that brand (likely) doesn’t always look the same. Still with us? Let’s unpack it a bit further and talk specifics.

Casual Cool Western: This is the girl who runs around (more often than not) in denim, a t-shirt, pullover around her waist, and cruisers on her feet -- quite possibly with her favorite ball cap on her head. It’s the brand of western made for running to the post office, grocery store, taking horses to the vet, picking up your kiddos from school and rescuing your oh-so-handy husband from a breakdown in the field -- all in one day. If we’re being honest, it’s basically athleisure wear for cowgirls and ranch wives -- like our very own version of yoga pants and sneakers -- but with pockets and better leather.  

Retro Vibes Western: This is the girl who ROCKS high-cuffed straight leg jeans, throwback graphics, acid wash denim, snip toe boots and a bolo tie -- all at the same damn time. She makes a wild rag look like the best accessory you never knew you needed -- and she’s got one in at least 12 different colors, prints and lengths, you know, just in case. She’s basically the Marlboro Man of women’s western fashion -- THE cool factor, obviously -- because we all know cigarettes are gross.

Boho Chic Western: This is the girl who has the cornerstone on festival fashion and a penchant for long, flowy sleeves, crop tops, high waisted flares and kimono dusters. She makes you want to cut class or call in sick to work and catch the next train to Coachella -- you know, because in a world of busyness and chaos, we’ve heard those hippie kids know how to relax, crack a cold one and just have a good time. And who doesn’t need a little bit of that in their life?

Dressin' Your Best Western: This is the girl we get to break out maybe a handful of times each year. I mean, we wish we could hang with her more, but we only have so many days allotted to wash our hair, put on makeup, and shave our legs in one 24 hour period. So we save her for the best gigs -- gigs like the NFR, Ranch Rodeo Finals and milestone anniversary date nights -- the gigs where you can pair Double D jackets, Bronte, Pendleton and Tasha Polizzi with all your best accessories, statement denim, boots and vintage turquoise wares and still be missing something… she’s timeless and a class act, to be sure.

Classic Cowgirl Western: This is the girl who writes the book on bootcut jeans, is a purveyor of denim on denim and rarely leaves home without weathered and worn-in boots on her feet. She may not be all about the glitz and glam, but she can ride a horse, push calves from the chute and haul hay with the best of them. She likes looking good without too much effort -- maintaining class (and a little sass) thru and thru. She makes starched denim, a button down shirt and a crisp straw hat look like a cool summer breeze -- even when it’s 110 outside. We kinda wanna hate her for how effortless she makes the cowgirl way of life look, but we cant. I mean, she’s basically our best friend.

With all of that being said, you may disagree with our sentiment that western is style, not design -- and that’s okay. We don’t all have to agree around here. ;) Don’t get us wrong, we fully acknowledge that there are elements of design that can make something more or less “western”... serape, a good yoke, cactus, bronc horses, distressed leathers, fringe and that perfect shade of saddle tan… but those elements alone do not make something western -- the full on styling of them does. Just like those simple solids and staple denims can be made western -- or not -- by styling them in a certain way.

So friend, what’s your “brand” of western? Have tried on a new one lately? This Fall and Winter is going to be all about the Retro, Boho Vibes… so if you’ve been wanting to give either of those a try, this just might be your chance.

Til next time,

Sammie & Ryley


  • Tiffany Benson

    Casual Cool seems to be the type of girl that I fit in as, here at S7’s. Love that you gals teach me so much about how it’s not hard to have your own style! Best boss babes in the industry!

  • Velvet Brumby

    I love this so much. We don’t all have to fit in a box. It is all about what you make it!

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