Happy upcoming fourth of July weekend, Patriots! The fourth is always the definitive midpoint of the summer. The time after the late-spring-early-summer perfumed days and the time before the sticky, mid-to-late summer wetly heated daze. It reminds me of another exponentially warm and American look. In lieu of the quintessential and uninspired “American Flag” look, the western trend is one that is relevant yet renowned. It pops up often and has since the west.  It is best during the summer because of it’s ability to dress down in order to survive and to brave the calamitous sun. There are the basics, such as the scarf, the cowboy hat and the leather vest but I tend to steer clear of these items being worn all at once. Their collective value are extremely campy and there is nothing more unfortunate than looking like you’ve narrowed down your costume for Halloween. There are certain iteams that can be found in your current existing wardrobe. Flannel, for example, if loose fitted, works in a rugged look that can be paired with jeans and some boots. The type of western I’d like to show you is one that would be extremely familiar if you lived in the early ’90s and is more of a South Western trend.

Now there are some ‘don’ts’ when it comes to this look.  In reality and outside of the pages of glossy editorials if these trends are used in moderation, you’ll be revered for your rugged independence (you brave cowboy, you). Be forewarned: do not go overboard. Bolo ties, however regional they may be, are ridiculous if not worn simply.

Denim Button-down Shirt
This shirt is typically a male shirt but is being increasingly encouraged and pushed onto the female demographic. Men should probably leave the buttons open, try two or three down to expose either chest hair or skin. It should also always be untucked and paired with rolled up jeans of a similar hue. It is the summer so try to go for a lighter wash and something that’s been worn out. Bought new and worn out over time.  If you need to go to a thrift store, you should. Women should button it all the way up and in favor of the denim on denim look, try a brown leather mini skirt and tuck it in.

Native American Prints
Like that Pixies song says, indeed “the Navajo” do “know”.  try to get a bag in a Native American print, North or South American. Try wrapping one of those Zarapes over you or fashion a poncho out of it. If you can find anything that has an indigenous flair, I say go with it. It’s a worthy style that will be around for a while. Avoid, however, completely draping yourself from head to toe in these lovely geometric shapes. Limit it to one piece an outfit and remember, since there are such busy patterns, less is more.

Cowboy Boots
Now, these boots aren’t for everyone but they are unisex. When it comes to footwear however, it’s perfect to pull this look off without much effort. Cowboy boots are so extremely western, you could wear any old white t-shirt and shorts and be ready to claim authenticity. These are expensive however, so this should be more of a long term apparel goal if anything.  I would warn, in the utmost seriousness, not to buy these used or from a thrift store. They tend to be custom made and there is probably a reason they were given away in the first place. They also tend to be one of the more expensive items at a thrift store along with such items like jewelry, fur and trench coats.

Fringe is typically reserved for vests or sleeves of leather jackets, and although these would have been akin to blasphemy only a few years ago, they are in there heyday at this late stage. Fringe can be a bit of a fringe trend however and more than likely should be reserved for the female sex. However, come men can get away with this but the fringe has to be brown and suede. For women, you should probably get rid of any shoe that has fringe on it. I’ve seen those booties and I am appalled. Never have I seen a sorrier excuse for a shoe than. . .well, if you read last week you’ll know what I’m talking about.

The tones and hues of these looks range from very deep maroon to the spotted blue of denim fabrics. Avoid white at all costs. If you insist, get your shade in cream or an off white. The point of this look is to be rugged and daring and exploratory. The best places for a look like this is when you’re exploring a new neighborhood, on a first date or at a party with a lot of strangers. It’ll make you seem interesting yet approachable like every honest-to-goodness-red-blooded-urban-American should look. That’ll do, pig.  That’ll do.

Until next time cowboys and cowgirls, don’t be a stranger but do be stranger.

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