Recovering from a thankfully mild bout of COVID, I hit the lounge last week (or was it the week before) with tea, aspirin and the remote and promptly stumbled upon the series that has captivated US audiences – Yellowstone.
Set in Montana and starring Kevin Costner, it’s a melodramatic modern-day western that’s got everything: a ranch that looks like it’s been styled by Ralph Lauren, men in Wrangler denim, Native American jewellery, and a glamorous hot mess called Beth who makes one fabulous fashion statement after another over 40 episodes.
Forget Emily in Paris, my money is on Beth in Bozeman when it comes to fashion. Beth seems to exist on cigarettes, coffee and gallons of whisky, often straight from the bottle, constantly creating havoc while wearing tightly tailored, pencil-sharp skirt suits when she’s in the office, shorting someone’s stock, or in some very en pointe ranch dressing including cotton floral dresses with boots, longline knits and cardigans with native American motifs, sexy jeans, and prairie-style blouses.
The series is a style masterpiece, from the easy elegance of the wranglers in their stiff jeans, chaps, waistcoats, and bandanas to the magnificence of the Indigenous characters, most specifically Mo, in a superbly tailored grey jacket and jeans, worn with a turquoise bolo tie, multiple earrings, and a black Stetson with a long feather.
While the series is deeply committed to showcasing the style or, one might suggest, reinforcing the Hollywood cliche of the American West, it does feature some authentic fashion classics, any of which work in a modern context. For the coming winter, look out for:
Blanket coats. Large and voluminous, this style of wrap coat/poncho will be big next season, either blanket-stitched or fringed, great layered over jeans or a knit dress whether you are around the campfire or merely scanning the horizon for wolves from the porch.
Large, chunky patterned cardigans with traditional motifs, in neutral shades or bright, primary colours. Excellent at home or at the cattle sales.
A return to precise tailoring. After months and months of leisurewear, and oversized floppy suiting, designers will be pulling out the dressmaking chalk and nipping in those jackets. A sleek wool jacket paired with jeans and boots will be an everyday urban uniform again.
Silver and turquoise belts. A western winner, especially to break up double denim, i.e. boot-cut, low-rise jeans and a snug denim shirt.
Cowboy hats. Forget the try-hard cocktail hats Carrie wears in And Just Like That, or the weird get-ups Emily attempts in Paris. A cowboy hat looks good on absolutely everyone.
Bandanas for men. Now I just made this up, because I don’t know for sure they are going to be a thing, but it would be great if they were. Seems kind of right for Australia, and men don’t get enough chances to accessorise. Feel free to add masses of earrings and a giant belt buckle too, guys.