How to Wear Western Boots With a Suit

Written by karen waggoner
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How to Wear Western Boots With a Suit
Cowboy boots can be worn with a business suit. (cowboy boots image by Alexey Klementiev from

Cowboy boots, mid-calf length or taller, ornate or simple, high-heeled or nearly flat, have been a focus of envy and longing for generations of Americans of both sexes. While locations such as Arizona and California suggest a tradition of real cowboy gear, even youngsters reared in Maine and Florida dream of wearing cowboy boots, all of which may explain the continuing fascination with cowboy boots as fashion accessories. While cowboy boots are obviously acceptable in many casual settings, questions arise about wearing them with business or formal outfits.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Select a pair of boots in a dark colour such as brown, black or burgundy with minimal contrast colour embellishment or a solid colour reptile pattern. The boots must be impeccably clean, polished and in good repair. Both men and women who choose to wear a cowboy boot with business clothes of traditional design need to be aware that eccentric footwear may cause negative attention in some parts of the country, so selecting the best quality and condition is imperative.

  2. 2

    Wear trousers over boots when worn with business suits of any style; do not tuck trousers into the tops of boots. The modest appearance of just the toe and heel of the boot will make them less conspicuous while allowing the wearer to maintain the western style appearance desired. For women, the cowboy boot may closely resemble a dress boot when worn with trousers and be a safe choice almost anywhere.

  3. 3

    Choose a suit for the area of the country and the occasion. Anything but dark or medium-dark business suits of traditional cut and fabric will be conspicuous in the Northeast corner of the country, in large northern cities, and in very traditional settings such as banks, law offices, courtrooms and the like. Select a western-style suit for cities, towns, and rural areas in the West, but be aware that conservative fashion values can turn up anywhere, especially in the traditional settings of finance and law.

  4. 4

    Select a western-style tuxedo for special occasions if it is important enough to defy some of the critics. These suits are intended to set the style for a man's complete evening outfit and should be accompanied with very fine, black cowboy boots. Other western accessories, a string tie, even a cowboy hat, are appropriate with such a tuxedo. Traditional tuxedo styles would seem peculiar with cowboy boots and hats.

Tips and warnings

  • For formal occasions when the male escort might wear a western-style tuxedo, his female partner may feel tempted wear boots too. Unless she too is wearing a western tuxedo, she will be wise to refrain from wearing boots with her gown.
  • Undoubtedly there are places and times that a simple outfit of blazer and skirt with cowboy boots is acceptable, even fashionable, but in northern regions or large cities, the combination would likely cause comment in conservative business settings.
  • A few men's fashion experts strictly forbid cowboy boots with tuxedos of any kind, but retailers of western tuxedos actually photograph formalwear with boots. The wearer may make decisions based on his own taste and best judgment.

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