Anyone who has seen the viral video from Thom Browne's SS23 finale in Paris has likely not forgotten it. A model trotted down the runway as if he was about to break out into a line dance, I'm sure I even lip-read the word "yeehaw" leave his mouth, wearing denim ass-less chaps paired with a cropped vest, cowboy hat, and cowboy boot detailing on the shoes, all of which came in matching denim.
It was the standout moment from a fashion season that counted jeans with grass growing from them, sweaters with life-size skateboards attached to them, and a rare Kendrick Lamar performance as some of its other viral moments.
But this was more than just a widely circulated video contained within social media's endless pit of memes, it was a moment waiting to happen as fashion's affinity with America's western culture continues to bubble away.
In the last few months alone there's been A$AP Rocky cosplaying as a cowboy in a Western tuxedo, Kendrick Lamar in embroidered cowboy boots, Ralph Lauren ditching the prep and going full western, and arguably the biggest movie of the year, Nope (2022), being based at a ranch and featuring the sharply-dressed, red-suited cowboy Ricky 'Jupe' Park as one of the main characters.
All of these moments, combined with the video of that Thom Browne model permanently etched into my brain, have me wondering how a bit of Western inspiration can spice up a wardrobe.
While much of the cowboy's original dress was practical, its flamboyant nature has put it into the category of being something of a cultural phenomenon. The tall leather boots, leather pants, and felt hats are an instantly recognizable and quintessential piece of Americana.
It's one that Raf Simons notably leaned into in his role as creative director of Calvin Klein. The designer has previously cited his love for the movie Midnight Cowboy (1969) and continued to play on Western themes in his role at the American house. Although his time at CK was unfortunately cut short, I'd theorize that some of the responsibility for the Cowboy paraphernalia in fashion today lands at the Belgian fashion designer's door.
However, another element of the story is a want to correct the history books. It has been estimated that one in four cowboys were Black and, according to experts such as William Loren Katz, after the Civil War being a cowboy proved to be one of the best jobs that were available to Black men, an under-represented story that the "Yeehaw Agenda" movement has been focusing on.
Dallas native Bri Malandro, who coined the term with her account @theyeehawagenda, previously told us, "when I was growing up, the aesthetic was pretty much everywhere in popular music from Mary J. Blige to Destiny's Child to NSYNC so it's not that random to me." Going on to say: "everyone had a rhinestone tank or a studded belt, the hat was just the icing on the cake. I'm a big fan of the early 2000s so I'm excited to see people get into the look."
Helped along by fashion's seemingly neverending Y2K obsession, the Black cowboy movement was thrust into the spotlight most notably by Lil Nas X's hit single Old Town Road. Since the release of that song, moments highlighted on Malandro's Instagram page such as Snoop Dogg donning a western hat and bolo tie in a Gucci campaign or Drake in a fringed suede Western-style jacket have helped the yeehaw agenda gain more prominence in fashion and popular culture.
Taking all of this history into account, if you're joining in an appreciation for Western fashion, check out some of our favorite pieces to shop down below.
Scroll down to shop the best cowboy fashion available now.
It's not a real cowboy outfit if you haven't got a bandana tied around your neck — right? Originally used as protection from the sun and the dirt in the Wild West, a bandana now is one of the most versatile accessories money can buy.
Made of either suede or denim and stereotypically including dangling fringes, getting a cowboy-style jacket that isn't costume-y can be difficult. Whether it's by creating a track jacket or doubling down on the fringes, these manage it though.
Western-style shirts can be defined by their iconic curved pointed yoke, which is the extra piece of fabric found stitched from the shoulders down the chest and along the back of the shirt. Along with the yoke, it's all about the fringes and embroidery for a truly authentic look.
There are two main styles of pants that you could find a cowboy wearing, and those are either leather pants or denim jeans. Both materials were used for their hard-wearing properties, so it's up to you which ones you choose.
Possibly the most famous part of the cowboy's uniform is the boots which we have seen re-contextualized by countless designers — whether that means turning them into sneakers as Virgil Abloh did at Louis Vuitton or keeping to tradition with knee-high leather boots. From bright blue leather boots to ones with Toga Virilis signature buckles, these are our favorites.
Finally, here are a few accessories that can finish your look. Western belts have become something of a trend in recent years, but why stop there? We've also included some western-style neckwear.
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