Haute Historian: A Little Bit Country

November 12, 2012 • Haute Historian, Magazine

Chambray, plaid, skinny denim, pointy boots, and leather accessories; it’s a bit hard to pinpoint the exact trend that has city girls feel like saying, “I’m a little bit country” but with so many western-style fashions seen on the street lately, it might very well be all of the above. It’s not the most reoccurring trend in history, but the urban cowgirl look is something that occasionally becomes popular in cities everywhere (not just Texas). Even though it’s a bit difficult to say what brought about its popularity now, in the early 1980s when it also hit a widespread high, it was in thanks to John Travolta’s 1980 movie, Urban Cowboy. If you’re not familiar, it’s a western love story with conflict, country music and mechanical bull riding; and with a slogan like “hard hat days and honky-tonk nights,” it’s really a must-see classic. The fact that country music star Dolly Parton also starred in Nine to Five and sang its country theme song in the same year doesn’t hurt either.

Regardless of today’s catalyst, the urban cowgirl look is mimicking actual cowboy western wear, which is in fact ranching work wear more than anything else. During the late 19th century, men who were cattle herders needed functional and durable clothing that also protected them from the elements; and heavy denim, vests, spurred boots and wide-brimmed hats fit the bill. That is not to say there aren’t other characteristics to western wear that is a bit more intricate and fashionable, like the yoke collar, delicate embroidery and studded leather. French fashion designer Isabel Marant found inspiration in these features and helped spread the country-to-city look with her fall 2012 ready-to-wear collection. While the collection hits on all the clichéd cowboy fashion elements, Marant has made them sexy and feminine.

A reason we don’t notice a western-chic trend explosion too often now-a-days, could be because many of these “cowboy” elements have become quite citified. Denim and lightweight cotton button down shirts are worn by people every day, everywhere; country music is played on pop music radio stations. It appears that urban and country are being defined by a fine line. Are you a little bit county or a little bit urban?  It could be the same thing this season.

1. Shot Sissy (Debra Winger) in Urban Cowboy (1980)

2. Capezio West Texas Cowboy Boot Co Fashion Photo (1981)

3. Urban Cowboy Movie Poster (1980)

4. Isabel Marant Fall 2012 Ready-to-Wear

– Bonnie J Brown

Image Layout: Second City Style

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