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Saddle Up for a Summer of Western and Rodeo-Inspired Fashion

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Boots, chaps and cattleman hats may not smack of summer fashion, but young consumers are bucking tradition by suiting up in celebrity-inspired rodeo fare.

And the pop culture influences are aplenty. Coyote Ugly, the dive bar that inspired the 2000 cult film by the same name, relocated to an upgraded venue in New York City. Bikini-clad Kourtney Kardashian and Kendall Jenner swapped sandals for cowboy boots in recent Instagram posts. Musician Halsey and TikTok phenom Addison Rae have slipped on a pair with trendy slip dresses and psychedelic prints. Prada’s bolero tie, meanwhile, has graced the necks of Quavo, Nick Jonas, Dylan Sprouse and more.

Even “The Bachelorette,” a reality show known for fashion akin to beauty pageantry, nailed the Western look in last week’s episode, which took bachelorette Katie Thurston and her trove of potential suitors to a dude ranch for a mud wrestling competition. While the men all wore Levi’s jeans, co-host and former “Bachelorette” lead Kaitlyn Bristowe donned cow-print boots and an acid-wash jumpsuit by Retrofete, co-host Tayshia Adams, who also starred on the show last season, paired turquoise jewelry with her Veronica Beard double-denim ensemble and Thurston dressed in a zip-up jean dress by Show Me Your Mumu, completed with a braided denim belt.

These Western references come together in Dua Lipa’s new music video for “Love Again,” set in a fantastical rodeo hall. Along with traditional cowboy regalia like hats, boots and bolero ties, Lipa and her team of backup dancers wear camouflage cargo pants, bandana tops, animal-print bra tops and souped-up pieces like jeans trimmed with LED lights, bottom-baring leather chaps and vintage Miu Miu leather jackets.

Boots, chaps and cowboy hats may not scream summer, but consumers are bucking tradition by suiting up in celebrity-inspired rodeo fare.

Screenshot from Dua Lipa’s ‘Love Again’ music video

“Dua Lipa has sent rodeo-inspired fashion riding through town,” Lyst stated.

Though Beyonce wore Burberry’s cow-print bodysuit last summer in “Black is King,” young consumers are gravitating toward more accessible versions of the print. Data from the global fashion shopping platform show that consumers are searching for similar statement pieces, including the cow-print bikini top Lipa wears while line dancing—perhaps another relic from the ’90s that’s bound to return. Searches for the top, which was also worn by Hailey Bieber, increased 224 percent this month.

Other rodeo-inspired pieces, such as cowboy hats and bolo ties are trending. Cowboy boots, however, have the most momentum. Lyst reported that global searches for the style rose 27 percent in April compared to the previous month.

Retailers are benefiting from the trend. Retail analytics firm Edited reported that just 22 percent all U.K. and U.S in stock cowboy boots were discounted, with Ariat and Free People topping the stockists in both regions. And there isn’t just one style to consider, with brands offering various shaft heights from ankle to knee-skimming designs like Isabel Marant’s popular Denvee style, to vegan, vintage, and animal-print versions.

“While browns, blacks and whites were the most available colorways, other brighter hues of reds, oranges and yellows were also invested in,” Edited said of cowboy boots’ current status.

While most celebrities are gravitating toward bold Western styles, Edited also linked the trend to the “horse girl” aesthetic. “While Pinterest searches for horse girl have almost doubled since the end of November 2020, the trend only gained further traction throughout the pandemic as many turned to outdoor actives during the restrictions,” Edited stated.

Victor Li Fall 2021

A stepsister of cottagecore, the moniker is often used to stereotype female equestrians as being horse-obsessed, braid-wearing, Taylor Swift fans. Horse girl style, however, is filtering onto the runway. Model Bella Hadid, who has been riding horses since childhood, is often described as a horse girl and Gucci’s Fall 2021 hacking lab with Balenciaga channeled horse-inspired themes, Edited noted.

Indeed, the summer rodeo trend may just be a peek into what’s to come from the designer level this fall. Western elements are a constant in Isabel Marant’s and Etro’s collections. Alexandre Vauthier, Bode and Barbara Bui offer their interpretation of fringe jackets, while Celine and Acne Studios experimented with cowboy boots. The trend is more good news for the jeanswear industry. A natural companion to Western shirting and accoutrements, designers like Victor Li and Elisabetta Franchi incorporated denim sets and shirting in their elevated takes on country style.

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