Go West! A Guide to Southwestern Fashion and Accessorizing
Southwestern fashion, with its relaxed, cozy style and beautiful, bold, earth tones, is the perfect match for the gorgeous foliage and golden slant of the sun that defines the fall. With cool, crisp nights and breezy afternoons, the style in the land of deserts and canyons invites you to wear comfortable layers of striking geometric-patterned skirts, thick shawls, minimalist jewelry with primary-colored stones, and of course, boots. To take advantage of this popular and growing trend without looking like you are playing “cowboys and Indians,” follow the simple tips to Southwestern fashion and accessorizing below.
The Southwest is a melting pot of varied traditions and cultures – from the “Wild West” and indigenous Americans to Mexicans, there is a lot of vibrant, colorful history. When it comes to appearance, this style is about tasteful intensity. Pair high-contrast native patterns with solids to make colors pop.
When you choose brick-red jeans, a gray cowl-neck t-shirt, and some topaz studs, you’re creating a perfectly bold outfit. For warmer weather, try a fringed t-shirt with a jean skirt, along with a gorgeous multi color tribal wrap scarf and dangly white-gold and blue sapphire earrings.
While bright colors woven into structured designs are the hallmark of Southwestern fashion, you don't want to wear too many different hues and risk clashing patterns or becoming a walking rainbow. Complement each eye-catching piece with an item in softer, earthier tones such as tan, rust, and ocher. Mimic the landscape – the taupe desert, light-gray rocks, and soft beige scrub offset by the clear, blue sky and stunning, multicolored succulents.
A bold patterned skirt with a crisp, off-white blouse, a muted suede jacket, fringed booties, and a gorgeous chameleon-like alexandrite bracelet will give you the casual chic look you want. You can also go with flat cowboy boots or leather sandals for more comfort.
In general, you want to stick with pure fabrics and materials – cashmere, cotton, suede, and denim. Keep your makeup understated to reflect the natural element, and wear your hair softly pulled back in a loose braid.
This sturdy, laid-back, yet artful style of the Southwest, takes its inspiration from the open landscape, minimalist architecture, and plethora of artists, both modern and prehistoric. Accent your pieces the same way with simple yet sophisticated accessories, like a brilliant felted wool wide-brim hat and beaded belts. A classic watch, stud earrings, a poplin shirt embroidered with a small folk design – these are your basics. Avoid too much of one thing. Love fringe? Keep it to a single piece per outfit – a bag or coat, but not both!
Embrace Desert Designs
Now is the time to fall in love with the Southwest and release your inner desert girl. Explore Americana inspired colors, patterns, and prints, and enjoy the striking colors and snuggly comfort of Southwestern fashion just in time for autumn and winter.
Alexandra Gonzalez in a freelance writer based in Tucson, Arizona. She loves writing about boutique fashion and high end jewelry, and is especially interested in Native American history and culture. In her free time, she explores various hikes near her home.