May 20th, 2023, 10:00 AM

I Can Wear Cowboy Boots in Paris?!

By Megan Sininais
Image Credit: Charles Beldon/Wikimedia Commons
How an American cliché went from country to couture.

When you think of “cowboy boots”, fashion probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Typically, they evoke something more along the lines of “Texas”, “western movies”, or simply just “yeehaw”. Wherever you grew up or whatever relationship you might have with cowboy boots, we can all agree on the one thing they definitely represent— America.

Growing up outside of a fashion capital like New York, I always thought cowboy boots were reserved for horseback riding and Taylor Swift concerts. That is, until I moved to North Carolina for college. During undergrad, it didn’t take long before I was sporting a pair of white cowboy boots myself. I even wore them in my college graduation photos.

I bought cowboy boots mostly because it was ironic— the city girl wearing country gear, “looking the part” while attending a southern University. I spoke to other students at The American University of Paris about owning a pair, and the consensus is that cowboy boots, once seen as utilitarian and preppy have gone from country to couture.

Image Credit: Megan Sinanis

Cowboy boots and western wear aren’t anything new in fashion. Most notably, Ralph Lauren has been incorporating the sophisticated equestrian meets wild west look into their brand since its start in 1978. What originally began as an anti-fashion statement, the western style quickly became associated with the Ralph Lauren brand, fortifying their longstanding image of the ‘American dream’.

Within the past 10 years, this trend has skyrocketed and unexpectedly spread into other brands. With the rising fame of models like Taylor Hill, Kendall Jenner, and the Hadid sisters in the 2010’s, their love for horses and subsequently western style, became prominent on social media. L’officiel even published a piece on the models and ‘horse girls’phenomena which helped transition the western aesthetic from being rugged, messy and outdated, to cool, chic and desirable.

Image Credit: Instagram/Kendall Jenner

In 2013, Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel debuted their pre-fall ready-to-wear collection entitled “Paris-Dallas”. It was entirely western-themed and seemingly went against everything Chanel stood for— class, elegance, and refinement. Suddenly, the brand most associated with French luxury was now displaying American denim, fringe, bolo ties, and of course— cowboy boots.

In the years following, this western trend gained heavy traction, inspiring designers like Thom Browne, Isabel Marant, Molly Goddard, and Christian Dior. Thanks to musicians like Lil Nas X, the style has maintained its prominence in pop culture, and is now at an all-time high. With the ‘space cowgirl’ aesthetic permeating social media in 2020, models wearing cowboy boots off-duty, and fashion bloggers constantly posting in cowboy boots, the trend has utterly saturated the fashion world.

Image Credit: Instagram/@stellaccartney

Naturally, it wasn’t long before it seeped into Parisian fashion. In 2022, Casablanca’s spring 2023 menswear collection show held in Paris was not only western themed, but featured live horses on the runway, constructing a real-life rodeo. Stella McCartney followed suit for her Fall 2023 ready-to-wear collection.

As to why this western style is performing so well in Paris, AUP student Addie C said, “I think it’s because American western style is very idealistic and sells a romantic myth of America that seems very appealing to European cultures.” For many Europeans, America conveys a sense of adventure, escapism and freedom, and western style is one way to feel connected to this rustic and edgy ideal. When asked about the difference between American & Parisian style, AUP student Dwyette T, said “I think both of these styles are merging, everyone looks like they shopped at the same thrift store which is kind of cool”. According to Stella McCartneyherself, in a post-COVID and world, people are craving connection with nature— and western style’s casual, earthy, and light-hearted approach is one way to do so.

Image Credit: TikTok/@isabellaadina


Ever since this trend hit runways during Paris Fashion Week, it has dominated Parisian street style. You practically can’t go outside without seeing at least one Parisian or American strutting around in their cowboy boots, fringe jacket, denim on denim fit, or leather duster coat— all while smoking a cigarette, like a true Parisian… or… cowboy?! Regardless, this once ignored and seemingly embarrassing style, has now become reclaimed by Parisian youth— otherwise known as the ultimate stamp of approval.

From Paris, Texas, to Paris, France, perhaps cowboy boots have always been in style. So yes, you can, and should wear cowboy boots in Paris.