It seems like everybody nowadays is heading to the wild side with cowboy boots. It was arguably Vetements’ autumn/winter 2015 pairing of thigh-high stylish cowboy boots with oversized jumpers and hoodies that lifted the humble cowboy boot from the Wild West to the upper echelons of fashion.
A key trend for spring/summer 2016 in their diminutive ankle boot form, thigh-high or at least over-the-knee women’s cowboy boots, are a footwear staple for autumn/winter 2016 and beyond as well.
Wide-fit cowboy boots
In its spring/summer 2016 collection, Céline toughened up negligee dresses in silk and lace materials with striking black leather cowboy boots with Cuban heels and studded detailing. This combination of girlish prettiness and the masculine aesthetic of a Clint Eastwood western created an effortless juxtaposition of androgyny and soft femininity. Equally, Fay for women paired its slouchy rodeo boots with exquisitely embroidered coats and delicate slip dresses.
Vetements, by contrast, opted for patent brown leather thigh-high cowboy boots, rejecting their stereotype as skin-tight and showy by instead teaming the boots with understated knits. The boots themselves were loose-fitting and created an angular silhouette with a slouchy feel. These brown thigh-highs are relaxed enough to wear every day as a between-seasons alternative to tired-out trousers.
Also opting for wide-fitting stylish cowboy boots was Jacquemus. Its autumn/winter 2016 collection paired an exaggerated thigh-high boot in bright ochre with an architectural shirt in azure hues. Despite its crisply tailored lines, this oversized shirtdress hinted at the key to successfully styling cowboy boots – they're often best worn with casual clothing.
Casual cowboy boots
Thanks to Vetements' spring/summer 2016 collection, where models also sported slouchy, grungy hoodies with their brown patent leather bots, the ultimate accessory for thigh-high fashionable cowboy boots is that sweatshirt you’ve had lurking at the bottom of your drawer for more years than you’d like to count.
Fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni – otherwise known as The Blonde Salad – exemplified this aesthetic at Milan Fashion Week 2016 where she mixed a pair of black and chrome cowboy boots from her own debut collection with a denim miniskirt and slouchy grey hoodie. Accessorised simply with tousled hair and natural makeup, her cowboy boots were allowed to take centre stage without overpowering the ensemble as a whole.
Colourful cowboy boots
Aside from taking cowboy boots up over the knee, designers have also been experimenting with colour and pattern and heading to the wild side with cowboy boots to create eye-catching pieces that give winter wardrobes a real lift. Chiara Ferragni’s debut collection also features a striking pair of red patent leather cowboy boots emblazoned with three blue stars – just the thing for patriotic 4th of July celebrations.
In its 2016 Resort collection, Miu Miu opted for ankle-length women's cowboy boots in a bold palette of yellow, blue and hot red that was strongly reminiscent of the arid desert landscapes of Mexico. Teamed with dresses constructed of clashing prints and patterns, the show provided a dizzying feast for the eye that contrasted perfectly against the industrial-inspired backdrop of the catwalk.
All it takes to turn this look from catwalk to casual is a pair of dark jeans, a striped T-shirt and a colourfully coordinated scarf.
Gypsy cowboy boots
Of course, even with the best of intentions, the quirkiness of the women's cowboy boots trend is one that leaves its wearers vulnerable to stepping into the territory of Miley Cyrus circa 2009 or, even worse, Taylor Swift in the days when she was just a small-town country singer. The style-conscious have sidestepped this potential pitfall by ditching the peasant dresses for gypsy-inspired prints and fringing.
Valentino's 2016 Resort collection paired embroidered black cowboy boots with heavily detailed dresses that seemed to have taken their patterns straight from the side of an old time fortune-teller's wagon. Missoni’s 2016 Resort collection, meanwhile, favoured the tropical, swirling patterns of traditional Spanish dress to team with its equally colourful cowboy ankle boots.
For a totally different take on the trend, Fausto Puglisi infused his pre-fall 2016 collection with a combination of the laid-back Vetements aesthetic and a subtle nod to the folkloric. Black boots with distinctive brass buckles and metal sun brooches were styled with beanie hats, tie-dye and studded leather belts – taking Kentucky to the catwalk.
Cowboy boots are the ideal way to introduce a touch of romantic drama into everyday life. Whether paired with a floaty dress or structured skirt for evening events, or teamed with oversized jumpers and hoodies for a casual daytime look, you won't be able to resist heading the wild side with cowboy boots.