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How To Wear The Western Trend Without Looking Like You’re In Fancy Dress

Or an extra from Dr Quinn Medicine Woman

By Anna Saunders

Finally got your head around the prairie dress trend? Well, hold your horses, because there’s a new western trend in town. 

This summer, the floaty Laura Ashley-esque prairie dresses that captivated fashion girls from New York to Newcastle have given way to a slightly sexier and marginally more wearable mid-west aesthetic. Think saloon-girl style – with ruffles, puff sleeves and scooped necklines – or a more utilitarian cowgirl look – with press-stud shirt pockets, dark denim, pointed collars, yokes. Oh, and cowboy boots. With everything.

It’s a trend that’s been inching it’s way into the fashion consciousness for several seasons now, thanks to designers like Isabel Marant, Raf Simons at Calvin Klein and most recently Alexander Wang.

And there’s something attractive – and fun – about western-style dressing. The saloon girl look somehow combines sexy and sweet, and – if that sounds a little Daisy Duke for you – the fringing and cowboy details have the potential to transform a so-so jeans-and-shirt combo into something fashion-y, yet tomboy-ish and nonchalant. 

So how to dip a toe in the Western trend without looking like a long-lost extra from Dr Quinn Medicine Woman?

“Keep it tailored,” says our shopping editor Tara Morris. “Think fitted silhouettes mixed with a frill.” Cowboy boots should be sleek and pointy rather than battered, she adds. Avoid rhinestones. Experiment with suede and corduroy. And if you’re going to brave a cowboy hat “don’t go the full Western” with the rest of your look. Easy there, cowgirl.


Line dress


ZARA skirt


BY Anna Saunders

Anna is the co-founder of Primer. She had many, many more puns about "going west" and "riding high" but resisted the urge to use them.

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