Summer may be more than halfway over but if you’re looking for a little last-minute fashion inspiration to get you to the finish line, there are a handful of micro trends that you can wear now and into early fall. Case in point: The Y2K take on the Western style, known as the coastal cowgirl aesthetic on TikTok where the #CoastalCowgirl hashtag gained almost 150 million views. Between easy, free-flowing silhouettes in lightweight materials that wouldn’t look out of place by the water and contrasting rugged details that could be found on a cattle ranch — like gold-and-turquoise jewelry, chunky belts, and slouchy shoulder bags — it’s a great way to ride into the new season in style.
What Does Coastal Cowgirl Aesthetic Look Like?
Photo: Courtesy of Ralph Lauren
Prior to the trend going viral on social media, there were rumblings of it in the latest collections. For Spring/Summer 2023, all-American brand Ralph Lauren presented a more beachy approach to its signature tailoring and prep-forward aesthetic, which makes sense considering the show was held in Southern California for the first time ever. The collection featured warm, brown color stories and was punctuated with concho belts and turquoise details. Cult Gaia took a more laid-back approach, by pairing bedazzled denim with a bikini top and coordinating Western hats.
Off of the runway, It Girl Lori Harvey wore Amazon’s viral cowboy hat — a straw accessory that comes in a wide range of colors and designs to her vacation wardrobe — pairing it with a plunging halter-neck swimsuit and gradient-shield sunglasses for a quintessential early aughts look. Meanwhile, TikTok users have been sporting frilly, free-flowing mini and midi dresses and skirts with Debut era-esque cowboy boots.
How To Style The Coastal Cowboy Trend
When it comes to incorporating the coastal cowgirl aesthetic into your own wardrobe, there are a few things to consider. For those brand new to the trend, a linen or cotton-poplin maxi skirt or dress paired with Western boots is an easy entry point. If you prefer something a bit bolder, opt for the aforementioned formula, layered with statement-making knitted pieces from the likes of Nia Thomas and Thrifts + Threads (a staple in festival style) and accessories made from natural materials like raffia. In terms of color, keep the palette to beiges, tans, and crisp whites while adding prints and pops of statement hues like blue-greens and brick reds, here and there.
As far as accessories, cowboy boots and leather bags (bonus if they feature fringe or tassels) are equal parts practical and on-trend. For jewelry, go for chunky gold or silver pieces with turquoise stones and a burnished finish. (If you’re feeling bold, mix the metals.) Other styling options include the classic Western hat and skinny scarfs, reminiscent of the early aughts; these retro-leaning elements bring a necessary juxtaposition to the otherwise light, airy pieces.
If you’re looking for something to cinch your look (both literally and figuratively), Ruth Sacks — the head of design and marketing of family-owned belt brand Streets Ahead, whose fans include Hailey Bieber, Priyanka Chopra, and Bella Hadid — recommends chain belts. “They’re trending and look great over swimwear and coverups,” she tells Refinery29, adding: “I often style softer neutral tone belts for summer.” For something more can’t-miss, Sacks suggests going with a style like the brand’s Romi belt. “It has this awesome circular connector buckle that really makes a bold statement no matter how you style it.”
No matter your aesthetic, there are elements of the coastal cowgirl aesthetic that can be infused into any wardrobe. But to avoid feeling too cliche or on the nose with the trend, the key is embracing pieces that feel authentic to your personal style.
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