Clothes: Since the Wild West

Clothes: Since the Wild West


At The Dirty Cowgirl, we are all about country fashion. Whether you are looking for a signature country girl hat or a full western cowgirl outfit, we’ve got you covered. However, haven’t you ever wondered how we have gotten to the current fashion trends?

While some pieces have continuously stayed in a country girl’s closet, other styles have been continuously modified or removed as cowgirl fashion continuously evolves. Here’s a brief journey through country fashion over the ages.

The 1800s

Traditional country fashion as we know it with the felt cowboy hats and trusty leather boots started somewhere in the 1800s. This is also known as the “golden age” for the cowboys in which the Wild West in America, was the leading influence for “western” fashion. While cowboys are symbolic of the fashion style, it was just as much shaped by ranchers and outlaws of that period. The most important part of the country dress was that it had to be practical and suitable for daily work, with fancier options for formal and celebration events.

However, most cowgirls were limited to full-length skirts as was expected of the conservative dressing standards of the time. They largely rode side-saddle to accommodate this and there are very few exceptions to this dressing expectation.

The 1940s

Even though country fashion started in the 1800s, the 1940s is the most significant period for cowgirl fashion. Due to working in the factories or the fields during World War II, many women started embracing jeans and dressing “like men”. This means that women were no longer restricted to dresses and feminine outfits, slowly transitioning into what we know as modern-day cowgirl fashion.

One of the most iconic Western fashion stars was Dale Evans. She was the “It Girl” of this time and introduced skirts, fringes, sequins, and pants while still maintaining a feminine flair. This was also the first decade where Lady Levi’s were introduced, drawing the attention of fashion magazines, and leading to the rise of “dude ranch chic”.

The 1950s

The 1950s was when cowboys were no longer just defined by their ranch work, but also soulful music. This gave a greater depth to western clothing as it was no longer focused on workwear, but also slowly introduced more elements of wearable home wear. Button-down shirts were introduced during this period, with plaid and vertical stripes as the most popular patterns. The shirts were generally made of cotton but have also involved additional materials like leather, suede, or shiny silk.

The 1970s

Fashion was simpler in this decade where ripped jeans and solid tees were the common go-to for western-style icons. This period also signaled the rising popularity of flared bell bottoms. Country was gaining traction in the fast paced world and “cowboys are cool” inspired many trends.

The 1990s

Wrangler and Rockies jeans… fashion was all about being loud and proud. This meant having big hair, colored boots, and loud and flashy accessories. This was definitely the decade where more is more when it came to accessories and clothing options. Turquoise jewelry, leather accessories and fringe were hitting hard during this decade, and the music followed suite. Country stars ruled the 90s and the fashion was seen in every town and big city, alike.

The 2000s

These days county-wear is about nostalgia and comfort. The everyday middle American, country rancher wears their tshirts and jeans on the daily, and the Pearl-snap button down (with “church jeans”) to Sunday Services – and even wealthier cowboys -  the country music stars - wear the same. It’s about comfort and capability; America was built on the Cowboy and the Cowgirl.

The Dirty Cowgirl Apparel can facilitate the ever changing country fashions and we love that we are a Midwest, local grown, company! The heartbeat of America beats with us.

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