How to Rock Western Style

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How to Wear the Western Trend... Without Looking Costume-y

Street style Western fashion
Image Credits: Getty

The thing with the Western trend is that it takes a delicate touch to pull it off. You don't want to wear the look from head to toe, lest people think you've run away from the set of Bonanza. We recommend incorporating just one or two elements at a time—like turquoise jewelry and a peasant blouse—to keep your look grounded firmly in modern times. Take it from us it's all about the mix. Adding a little bit of a Western vibe into your most basic fall and spring outfits (think jeans and sandals and pretty white dresses) is an easy way to look trendy without going overboard.

Ahead, we've shopped out six essential elements of the new way to wear Western, from suede to fringe, classic cowboy boots and more.

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The Denim Skirt

The denim skirt
Getty Images / Net-a-Porter

If you ask us, the most essential piece of Western wear is, of course, denim. This season, a button-front or to-the-knee denim skirt is the most versatile update and will work for a city, suburban and off-the-grid dressing alike. (It doesn't have to feel Western all the time.) Pair yours with a cozy sweater and tights this winter, and a wide brim felt hat for a truly Western reference.

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Classic Cowboy Boots

Cowboy boots
Getty Images / Laredo

Cowboy boots are the defining piece that labels your look distinctly "Western." But even within the cowboy boots category, there is a huge range of style variation. For the flashier gals -- fashion-forward countrywomen and barrel racers especially -- pointy-toed boots are extremely popular. Traditionalists -- like lots of horse show people -- prefer square-toed varieties (which are comfy and easy to ride in.)

The fashion cowboy boot category has exploded the past few years. High-end boot designers like Old Gringo have pioneered the genre with funky decorative styles and embellishment. At the more affordable end of the range are Corral or Laredo boots, which have similar looks. And for comfort, you can't beat Ariat (the designers are former Nike employees.)​

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Turquoise & Silver Jewelry

Turquoise and silver jewelry
Net-a-Porter / Trendy Lisbon

When it comes to accessories and jewelry, cowgirls (and those of us who aspire to dress like one) opt for western wear classics: turquoise and silver. Find vintage native American pieces on eBay or Etsy, or shop for costume jewelry that gives the look at a fraction of the price. If you're in search of something more high end (and heirloom status), try designers like Pamela Love (above), Alexis Bittar and even Oscar de la Renta.

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A Suede or Shearling Jacket

Suede jacket
Getty Images / Net-a-Porter

Outerwear is an important part of any great Western-influenced outfit. Seek out a vintage or new suede jacket—preferably with fringe. Saint Laurent comes to mind, but you can find more affordable options from shops like H&M, Madewell, and Zara.

The great thing is that both shearling and suede look cool when paired with sleek modern pieces like black skinny pants, cashmere sweaters, and leather ankle boots.

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Feminine, Slightly-Exotic Embroidered Tops and Dresses

Feminine dress and blouse
Getty Images / Net-a-Porter

Gingham western shirts a la Daisy Duke? Not in 2016. The modern cowgirl opts for, flowing, bohemian tops to offset masculine denim, leather, and boots.

Popular western-inspired choices include embroidery, blouse-y silhouettes and plenty of white linen. Look for ruched necklines with delicate ties and colorful imagery of birds, flowers, and Mexican or even Ukranian-influenced designs. Brands to keep an eye on including Isabel Marant, Anna Sui, and Talitha, as well as Lucky Brand.​

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A Tooled Leather or Saddle-Style Bag

Leather bag
Macy's / Patricia Nash

Tooled leather is a definitive style trademark of the American West, so it's a natural pick if you want to infuse your wardrobe and accessories game with a bit of western style. This decorative look shows up in everything from handbags to belts to boots, so take your pick. (We're partial to handbags since they have a more timeless feel.)

Alternatively, a saddle bag has an equestrian vibe that can feel western or preppy depending on how you wear it!