How to Capture the Western Fashion Consumer

Fashion is in a cowboy era. Driven by influential celebrities like Bella Hadid, Beyoncé, Lana Del Ray and Pharrell, the Western aesthetic extends beyond the cowboy boots and hats that trended last summer and is sweeping men’s and women’s denim and ready-to-wear.

The impact of Beyoncé’s “Cowboy Carter” album and single “Levii’s Jeans” is evident in foot traffic to Levi’s stores. Pass_by, an AI-powered geospatial insights company, reported that Levi’s brick-and-mortar visits post-album release increased 19.87 percent compared to the week before the release.

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More brands and retailers can capitalize on the rodeo aesthetic in its many forms, however, starting with jeans.

“Jeans remain the commercial backbone of Western looks,” Edited stated in a new report.

While there isn’t a single women’s fit driving the trend, traditional western silhouettes like bootcut and flare are not necessarily where retailers should invest first. Rather, consumers are seeking more contemporary fits.

“While straight leg remained the top invested area, their year-over-year intake remained fairly level alongside bootcut and flared,” the retail intelligence firm stated. “The most significant investment switches were noted in looser fits, with wide and baggy up 83 percent and 75 percent, respectively.”

Recent sell outs from Zara, J.Crew and H&M have been wide-leg jeans with mid, low and ultra-high rises.

For men, straight fits are a bright spot as skinny jeans continue to downtrend. Designer examples of baggy jeans combined with Western styling (i.e. Pharrell William’s interpretation of Western for Louis Vuitton Men’s) may be creating new opportunities for wide-leg jeans, however.

Edited said baggy shapes for men saw the highest mentions at 26 percent of majority sell outs so far in 2024. “While we expect quantities to be lower for this more directional style, it does show that customers are responding to looser-fitting denim,” the firm stated.

Beyond jeans, new arrivals of women’s denim shirts are up 119 percent year-over-year. Seen in Re/Done’s new collection with Pamela Anderson and in Wrangler’s collaboration with Yellow Rose by Kendra Scott, denim shirts have become an alternative to jean jackets or shackets for women.

Oversized fits lead bestsellers but Edited pointed out that shirts with unique details like H&M’s fitted shirt with exaggerated cuffs sold are piquing consumers interest as well. The shirt saw a majority sell out within six days of landing, according to the report.

Creatures of habit, men are sticking with denim jackets. “Denim jackets have seen new options jump 23 percent year-over-year, a noticeable uptick in zipped designs, feeding into the Americana workwear aesthetic,” Edited stated.

Fashion statement

Outside of the denim world, Edited called out long cotton skirts with tiers or gathered waistbands, studded Western belts and men’s flannel shirts as items to watch as Western fashion evolves and grow.

New arrivals of flannels are up 64 percent versus 2023. Edited noted that belts are a “welcomed commercial accessory trend that act as an alternative to the cowboy hat.”

Specific Western details from the Fall/Winter 2024-2025 runway are destined for commercial appeal, too.

Edited described Molly Goddard as the “poster brand for classic Western styling, with its rose-embroidered shirts, denim and polka dot dresses earmarked as the season’s directional buys.” Goddard’s kitschy knits with Western-style florals and piping also fit in with retro and grandpa dressing trends.

Molly Goddard
Molly Goddard

In men’s wear, piping was used on Western shirts and tracksuits by Kiko Kostadinov, giving the trend a “sportier, smarter feel,” Edited said.

The vast assortment of suede and chocolate brown in women’s collections also nod to country living.

Country act

As with most fashion trends nowadays, Edited said the Western movement can be broken into six aesthetics or fashion cores. Choosing the right persona for your audience is important for retailers, the firm noted.

Coachella headliner Lana Del Ray is the poster girl for Coquette Cowgirl, a riff on cottagecore that combines coquettish details like bows, ribbons and puff sleeves with prairie dresses and skirts and gingham.

Bella Hadid, who has embraced the Texan lifestyle with boyfriend and professional horseback rider and trainer Adan Banuelos, models Rodeo Girl. The Texan-inspired aesthetic leans into classic cowgirl fashion like check shirts, Western belts and indigo denim.

Beyoncé is the muse for Rodeo Drive, an aesthetic driven by luxury labels and street style edge. Leather, denim, suede, cowboy boots, belts and hats are the key items.

Beyonce and Tina Knowles front row at Luar
Beyonce and Tina Knowles front row at Luar.

Bad Bunny is the muse for the men’s version called Mr. Rodeo Drive. The look is based on denim, studs, leather, animal prints and piping.

Cowboy hats and boots also make up Festival Cowgirl, a look Kim Kardashian sported in January at the Super Bowl. The theme leans toward going-out attire and festival fashion with flare jeans, metallics and coordinating sets.

Pharrell Williams set the standard for Mr. Americana, a sub-trend that focuses on carpenter jeans, denim, cowboy hats, neckties, and workwear. Williams’ Fall 2024 men’s collection for Louis Vuitton encapsulates the theme.