The Obtainer - 3/11/24, Monday

↦ The Cowboy Rides Again

The Obtainer
The Obtainer

Monday, March 11th Edition

Cory Ohlendorf

You’ve no doubt started to notice all the Western references popping up lately—on the red carpet, in men’s stores and all over music. Writer Evan Malachosky shows us how to bring some of that rugged range look into our daily lives.

- Cory Ohlendorf, Editor in Chief ⋯ @coryohlendorf

Buying Guide

The Cowboy Rides Again

Once upon a time, experts declared fashion trends, though perhaps cultural trends at large, would be back en vogue every 20 years. Nowadays, the cycle tends to be shorter. Some, like the resurgence of both country music and the Western aesthetic, never really faded in the first place. They were simply reduced from a raging boil to a mere simmer, destined to be brought back to temperature later on.And in 2024, the trend is boiling over. Last year saw the ascent of the country-indie and country-pop genres, plus their respective superstars, from Zach Bryan to Morgan Wallen. And though country music has far from taken over globally, the stateside Spotify 2023 year-end rankings placed Wallen first in both the most-streamed song and most-streamed album categories, edging out one-time country star Taylor Swift (she was still the most-streamed artist, to be fair).Beyoncé has a country album on standby, too, and recently topped the charts with her first-ever country singles, “16 Carriages” and “Texas Hold 'Em,” which apply a country twang to the singer's typical tone. This said, the trend is far from simply sonic, and we're sure to see everyone from Austin Butler to Pharrell wearing Western attire.In fact, it's already begun, albeit in a bandwagon sort of way. Pharrell's latest Louis Vuitton collection was a “Cowboy-Western Epic,” as GQ put it—a parade of models wearing cowboy hats, cropped jackets, flared pants, heeled boots, oversized belt buckles and bolo ties. It was something of a departure for the French-born fashion house, and the true-blue dressers of America would surely call it cosplay. But that's okay. Quite frankly, it is. As the New York Times' Jon Caramanica points out, country is moving on from its pomp and circumstance, namely its costumes of belonging, to more rural digs, a sign that being country requires “being country IRL,” as he puts it. And while pop music, he points out, feels stuck in place, country music is moving forward—clear evidence that this trend, no matter how hot it is, is still only toeing the precipice, peering up at its potential.So, how do you dress cowboy-ish in an authentic way when everyone will surely try it over the next year? You stick to the foundational elements and avoid anything that feels like costuming. That ornate, pearl snap shirt? Probably not your best bet, especially if you typically wear sweats and sneakers. But a denim shirt with said snap buttons and yoke stitching? Much easier to incorporate into your regular rotation.I don't say this to dissuade anyone from buying something they truly love, but I speak from experience; I've bought plenty of things I liked on the hanger—and hated on me. Plus, though I am by no means an expert on ranching, raising or training horses, maintaining a stable, or, hell, even riding a horse, I have studied, and long written about, the various eras of American menswear—the “cowboy” ones included.For those wading into Western wear, in its simplest form, the country aesthetic is, well, simple. It calls on the classics and steers clear of overt fashion statements—even if cowboy boots and cowboy hats feel quite statement-making in their own rights (and the foundation for many American fashion brands). From faded jeans and dusty boots to loopwheel T-shirts and broken-in belts, when put together correctly, the items that will look right at home on you.

The Foundations of a Western Wardrobe

Classic Cotton T-Shirt

You want one that's soft yet hard-wearing. And American-made or at least American-referencing, meaning the pattern was pulled from the archives of American fashion: form-fitting in the body, tight around the bicep, and with a durable collar that can withstand being pulled on and off every day.

Wakayama loopwheel tee, $95 by Standard and Strange

Cowboy Cut Jeans

They have a high rise, tapered legs and a slight flare that affords just enough room for the average boot shaft. They're flattering, elongating, and typically fairly rigid, which ensures durability, whether you're working on a ranch or wearing them to your desk job.

Cowboy cut jean, $39.99 by Wrangler

A Belt

Even if your jeans fit correctly—cowboys don't sag—a belt is a must, especially if you're tucking in your shirt. And there is no faster way to out yourself as a non-cowboy than to show up in cowboy boots and a satin-finish dress belt. Skip the big buckle and go for a more understated ornate loop finish.

Suede Western belt, $195 by Anderson's

Chambray (or Denim) Shirt

For many, a chambray (or denim) is the easiest way to add some Western flair to an otherwise normal wardrobe. With the right pocket shape and button finish, you'll look rodeo-ready, especially if you spread the collar and tuck it in.

Washed chambray shirt, $265 by RRL

Ask The Obtainer

Everyone thinks I’m weird, but I don’t like mint. Are there any good quality non-minty toothpastes out there that I should try?

- Calvin

What’s “weird” anyway? You do you, Calvin. You don’t have to like mint. You just need a clean mouth and cavity-free teeth. To that end, there are plenty of good, tasty options that swap the mint for more gourmand flavors.

Tom’s of Maine would be my first pick. They have a popular Fennel flavor that’s sweet yet herbal and still freshens breath while whitening teeth and fighting plaque. The brand also makes a really fruity Strawberry flavor (with no artificial flavors or colors) that’s made for kids but dentists confirm it’s fine to use as an adult. Another one is Boka’s Orange Cream toothpaste, that’s another natural option that utilizes Hydroxyapatite to not only clean your teeth but also aid in the remineralization process. Give them a try and let us know which you like best.

Have a style question you'd like answered? Ask The Obtainer

5 Stylish

We just discovered this brand. Casatlantic is a niche lifestyle brand inspired by the cultural richness of mid-century Casablanca. And this shirt ($140), that takes design elements from camp shirts worn by American military officers in Morocco in the 1950s, has a refined yet rugged vibe that would look great under a jacket with dress trousers or simply worn slightly open with a white tank and some relaxed chinos.

Smart Buys
Smart Buys

The sales and discounts our team is currently watching.

One of our readers’ favorite tees, A&F’s long-sleeve version is now on sale for nearly half off. The heavyweight cotton is cut in a comfortably oversized-fit silhouette and comes in several colors.

$60 / $34.99 byAbercrombie & Fitch

Right now, Kiehl’s is offering 25% off sitewide, which means it’s an ideal time to stock up on tried-and-true favorites. We’re big fans of the energizing and hydrating Facial Fuel.

$42 / $31.50by Kiehl’s

For the next 24 hours, you can score a whopping 40% off your purchase at Banana Republic during the “Friends & Family” sale, so pick up something full price like this twill shirt jacket.

$100 / $60 byBanana Republic

This book is the ultimate Ralph textbook. Celebrating four decades of his career, this coffee table tomb offers up an insider look at his signature style—including inside his own homes.

$75 / $54 byRalph Lauren

New items were just added to MR PORTER’s sale, including these throwback sunglasses. If you’re looking for stunner shades, these Italian-made frames are it. Especially when they’re half off.

$550 / $275by Gucci

Tougher than your average desert boot, these chukkas from Rhodes have uppers cut from a full-grain roughout leather that’s already broken-in and slip-resistant soles that are durable yet light.

$195 / $156by Rhodes

Worth a Read
Worth a Read

The best stories from around the web.

This, it turns out, is the entire basis of Percival—subverting the classics, building a wardrobe out of traditional pieces with a twist.”



Celebrities and catwalk models are all very well, but will red move into the wardrobes of regular folk more often found in a uniform of blacks and navy blues?”


Mood Board

Outfit DetailsEG Watch Cap in Olive WoolFujiFilm X100VITag Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 DiverEG Drizzler Coat in Khaki Double ClothEG Work Shirt in Green in Navy Cotton Small PlaidAnonymous Ism SocksParaboot Michael in Black Plained Leather

March 9