Little House on the Modern Prairie

How to work this trend without feeling like Laura Ingalls Wilder


The Outfit

Western-prairie style is having its moment in fashion. With milkmaid-style shoulders, picnic-inspired gingham prints and mid-length smock dresses, this fad embraces the nature of modest, effeminate fashion. 

While out and about on south Denver’s Pearl Street, I didn’t go quite as literal with pigtail braids, high neckline and cinched corset. Instead, I channeled my perception of the trend, and invested in a cotton, bare-shouldered top with balloon-style sleeves. 

Even with long sleeves, the breathability of the cotton kept me cool in 90 degree weather. I paired with other neutral colors (yes, I consider denim a neutral) to let the crisp, white top serve as the focal point.  

The Thinking

Most pieces in this ensemble radiate femininity, such as the off-the-shoulder puffy sleeve, mini denim skirt and picnic-like straw tote. I selected my clunky, masculine Birkenstocks sandals to offset the delicacy of my smock-like blouse. I frequently experiment with combining feminine and masculine details because it makes the look more compelling. It also added an element of leisure to my ladylike garb, which was fitting for a casual Saturday walk in town. 

Accessories should feel smart and purposeful. The large, pearled clip was added to tame the beached waves; a cheetah-print belt to contribute whimsy and keep my waist secure; a roman-numeral, leather watch to tell time. Functionality doesn't mean sacrificing style integrity. 

A creature of habit and classic styles, when a new trend emerges I want to ensure that it will fit into my wardrobe for seasons to come. This allows my own interpretation of what’s en vogue and how to recycle clothing, like this top, in my closet– even after the prairie-craze is long gone. 

Let’s Shop

Off-the-shoulder top- ZARA

Pearled barrettes – ZARA

Big buckle sandal- (Similar): Birkenstock 

Jean skirt – (Similar): Bloomingdales 

Straw tote- Topshop

Black Watch- (Similar): Kate Spade

Hooped gold earrings- (Similar): ASOS

Simple bar necklace- Uncommon James

Animal print belt- (Similar): Revolve 

Sunglasses- Quay 

Categories: Stylemakers