When I was a teenager, nothing was more important than spring break. One year, my parents decided that a road trip through the Southwest—Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico—was the move. I was furious. I wanted to be tanning on a beach somewhere reading Confessions of a Shopaholic. (It was the 2000s! Tanning and consumerism were in!) Still, I saw some of the most stunning stretches of highway in America, took a thrilling hike in the Grand Canyon, and got matching silver bracelets with my mom that we both still wear today.
But I was miserable the entire time.
Today, I would give anything to take a week and relive that trip. Instead, I’ve channeled my latent teen angst into a full-blown obsession with Southwestern menswear. Weird for me? Maybe. Good for you? Absolutely.
Now, if you were to ask our man Mr. Ralph Lauren, he’d tell you that the Southwest is pretty much always having a moment. But lately, the king of Americana has ceded some territory to brands like Saint Laurent and Gucci, with the latter offering a men’s silver-and-turquoise cuff bracelet for the not-at-all-insane price of $720.
Don’t worry—we’re not moseying down that dusty trail. Instead our team rounded up a fun assortment of menswear and a few accessories that incorporate the best of both the Native American and cowboy culture of the American Southwest. I won’t tell you yet if there’s a bolo tie—JK I will and there totally is!
Hi hello my new favorite thing is browsing genuine western wear websites for unexpected finds. Since they don’t really deal in trends, you get authentic goods at very un-Gucci prices. A recent fave was this laced-detail leather belt, complete with a just-funky-enough silver buckle, which also happens to be available at Walmart. As with most of the pieces below, consider this as your one on-trend element, and keep the rest of your look chill.
Gap Suede Shirt Jacket, $368
Gap? A (nearly $400) suede shirt jacket? What’s happening here? No idea how we got here, like, as a society, but I love it. We’re in the middle of light jacket season now—it’s the perfect thing to throw on with jeans and white T-shirt for a night out when it’s like 54 degrees with clear skies. (Suede + rain = trouble, but you knew that, right?)
Behold, a different kind of western shirt! You might know Proper Cloth as that made-to-measure men’s brand following you around Facebook ever since that one time you googled “casual workwear,” but I need you to know that those guys are having some fun! This striped shirt is like a sunset over Sedona that you can wear—and who doesn’t want that?
A guy friend living in Seattle texted me recently about buying these boots. He said he planned to wear them with, “Anything and everything, but mostly jeans.” If you’re looking to really embrace the southwest spirit, a pair of modern suede cowboy boots is true flex. Wear ’em with mid-wash jeans and a henley and honestly, send me a pic. For totally SFW reasons. Really.
Why don’t more guys wear hats? I feel like you’re afraid of the commitment, and maybe afraid of looking like you’re “trying too hard.” But I’m here to tell you that a nice wide-brim hat with a smart leather trim is the suburban cowboy look of my dreams. Wear it on a hike. Wear it to lunch. Wear it camping like my boy Schmitt on New Girl (minus the jacket, because remember: one trendy piece at a time!). The hat is more versatile than you think—do not fear it!
M&F Western Bolo Tie, $20
Yep, we went there. A friend’s husband wears a bolo tie with his suit to every wedding he attends, and truly if that isn’t a ~mood~ I don’t know what is. With summer wedding season near kickoff, I dare you to sub out one of your tried-and-true ties for the unexpected bolo. It’ll be a conversation starter at the very least, and isn’t that the point of any good accessory, if we’re being honest?