Photo: Rex Features 


Cowboy boots are back – but how do you actually wear them? 

What started at Calvin Klein and Givenchy has now invaded the high street, too. But can cowboy boots ever not feel like you’re wearing fancy dress? Hannah Banks-Walker investigates 

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By Hannah Banks-Walker on

When I was about 16, cowboy boots were my “thing”. Well, they weren’t just mine – they were a bonafide trend. I wore them all the time, and felt a bit like Freja Beha Erichsen/Mary-Kate Olsen/Kate Moss – three of 2006’s most stylish women. In reality, I probably looked like a really bad Taylor Swift tribute act. In fact, I seem to recall wearing them both as a fashion statement and a novelty accessory. Having never been very crafty, I handily turned up to every fancy dress party (and there were a lot in the early 2000s, weirdly) as a “cowgirl”. I know. This slightly painful memory is the main reason that, on seeing both Calvin Klein and Givenchy’s collections for next spring, my heart sank.

At CK, Raf Simons designed red patent and paint-splattered boots, while Claire Waight-Keller’s inaugural offering for Givenchy prominently featured mainly black, toe-capped boots in ankle and knee-length. I still wasn’t convinced. On the catwalk, they looked pretty great, I have to admit, but I knew for a fact that, were I to wear a pair on the tube, I’d feel like a bit of a tit. However, everything shifted just the other day, when my colleague Emily ran to my desk, laptop in hand, just to show me that she had Topshop’s knee-length, silver cowboy boots in her basket. Suddenly, all thoughts of my adolescent wardrobe disappeared, leaving only the promise of a future in which I wear iridescent cowboy boots with midi dresses and am hailed a fashion maverick. A quick look at the high street soon suggested that this wasn’t just my dream, either. Well, perhaps not everyone is using Rhinestone Cowboy as a point of reference like Emily and me, but the amount of Western-style boots on offer proves that this trend is anything but novelty. 

All thoughts of my adolescent wardrobe disappeared, leaving only the promise of a future in which I wear iridescent cowboy boots with midi dresses and am hailed a fashion maverick

While the likes of Topshop and ASOS are selling the traditional, knee-length style of boot, there’s also a smorgasbord of slightly less literal takes on the cowboy trope. And/OR, for example, has a lovely pair of khaki, block heel ankle boots, while New Look has a tan suede pair with buckles, which would look great with denim. I’m mildly obsessed with Stradivarius’ white pair, complete with embellished buckles and, if money were no object, I’d buy these Isabel Marant Etoile boots. Meanwhile, The Pool’s deputy editor Lucy claims that Ash’s take on cowboy boots are her all-time favourite shoes: “They’re comfy, last an age and are so, so flattering.” 

While I’d never wear the knee-length pairs with shorter hemlines (because I’m actually not Freja, an Olsen twin or Kate Moss) I think they look surprisingly chic under long skirts or dresses. The ankle boots were made for jeans, plus the pointed toe makes them more flattering than their rounded-toe cousins. If you’re still rolling your eyes at my blind acceptance of fashion’s trends, I’d ask you to take a look at my edit below, featuring everyone from Boden to Office and even – wait for it – Wrangler. And look, if you buy a pair now and then regret it in a few months, at least you’ll have a ready-made costume for any fancy dress parties in the future. 

Click here for the cowboy boots edit 


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Photo: Rex Features 
Tagged in:
fashion advice
cowboy boots
shopping fix
Hannah Banks-Walker

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