I Just Got Back From Austin—3 Westerncore Looks I Simply Had to Break Out


(Image credit: @elizagracehuber)

If you're simultaneously obsessed with the latest micro-trends and too intimidated to test them out, you've come to the right place. This is Ways to Wear, a monthly series where editor Eliza Huber offers a dose of outfit inspiration centered around current trends that feel intriguing yet overwhelming at the same time. Consider it your guide to actually wearing the coolest items of the moment, no matter how puzzling they might appear at first.

From fringe and suede to double denim and unironic cowboy hats, there's no denying that in 2023, Western fashion is everywhere. Sometimes its appearance is subtle, like when a sweater features whipstitched edges or a pair of black boots has an angled, thick heel. At others, there's no denying the influence the wild, wild West had on an article of clothing or accessory, such as when an oversize belt buckle acts as the only thing breaking up a Canadian tuxedo or a pair of jeans feature chap-like details in the front and back (yes, I am talking about the just-launched Still Here line). There's really no right or wrong way to do Westerncore this year as long as you're doing it. 

Personally, I'm on board with both routes of conquering the trend, a statement you'll see proof of in the three Western-inspired ensembles I took for a test-drive during my recent weekend trip to Austin, Texas for the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix. Just like half of the drivers, I chose to lean into the Americana theme of the three-day event, and of course, I documented the entire thing. Scroll down to see how exactly I styled the Westerncore trend that's downright taken over TikTok and the fashion industry while in the land of cowboy culture and its associated style. 

Day 1


(Image credit: @elizagracehuber)

Wearing: Tu Es Mon Tresor jeans; Nanushka top; vintage shoes; Linda Farrow X Rowen Rose Cara Sunglasses ($300); Bottega Veneta Andiamo Small Intrecciato Leather Tote ($4100)

After touching down in Austin the night before wearing a cowboy hat, my fringe-scarf Toteme coat, and a pair of Western boots from Free People, I woke up early for my first day at the races. Fridays are usually pretty tame, with only practice sessions, but the U.S. Grand Prix was one of a handful of races this season with a Sprint format, meaning that qualifications is on a Friday instead of the normal Saturday so that the Sprint qualifications and race can take place on Saturday. Basically, the Friday activities got a lot more exciting. I was invited by the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team to spend the day with them at the track, inside of their paddock club and in and around their garages. Given that Lewis Hamilton, the shining example of stellar personal style in F1, is one of the team's two drivers, I had to impress with my look. 

I knew when I bought this wool, fringe-hem top from the Nanushka sample sale this summer that I wanted to wear it sometime during this weekend. Despite it being close to 100º in Austin on Friday, I put it on with the same Tu Es Mon Tresor black jeans and vintage, made-in-Italy mules that I styled alongside it during New York Fashion Week. The jeans have this great buckle detail in the back that further adds to the Western inspiration of it all, as does the lizard skin on my shoes. Finally, I only brought one bag for the weekend, my new Bottega Veneta Andiamo bag, which features the brand's iconic intrecciato woven leather and gold hardware, both of which made it feel appropriate for the occasion. I was warm... like really warm. But it was all worth it for the content. Plus, I've never gotten so many compliments on an outfit in my life. 


(Image credit: @elizagracehuber)

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Day 2


(Image credit: @elizagracehuber)

Wearing: Me + Em Cotton Stripe Forever Shirt ($245); Bottega Veneta Andiamo Small Intrecciato Leather Tote ($4100); vintage Levi's jeans; Linda Farrow X Rowen Rose Cara Sunglasses ($300); Ralph Lauren belt; vintage shoes; Cafe Society Cleo Hat ($245)

Apparently, I didn't learn a single lesson from yesterday's heat, because I decided on a very timeless Western look for Saturday's Sprint, taking cues from what I can only describe as a legit cowboy that I saw leaving the track on Friday evening. Just like he did, I wore a white button-down shirt (mine's super lightweight and breathable luckily) tucked into some vintage 501 Levi's and secured with an old tobacco-colored suede belt that I stole from my boyfriend's belt collection. I also rewore my vintage mules after promising myself the day before that I'd skip the stiletto heel and instead go for cowboy boots, though I'm glad I did because it elevated the outfit and made it look less costume-y. Plus, since I was lucky enough to be in the paddock with Alpha Tauri that day, I didn't have to worry too much about the extreme elevation changes around the track, specifically to my grand stand seats at Turn 1, which were at the very top of a large hill. Of course, I had to break out my cowboy hat, a gorgeous, cream-colored woven bucket that was gifted to be given by Cafe Society, Lauren Burke's NYC-based hat brand, when it launched. I've already brought it around the country with me, to the beach in Miami and now the race track in Austin. It really did perfectly finish off the day's outfit. 


(Image credit: @elizagracehuber)

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Day 3


(Image credit: @elizagracehuber)

Wearing: Lafayette 148 New York Pleated Organic Cotton Poplin Midi Skirt ($479); vintage Max Mara vest; We the Free Maverick Distressed Tall Boots ($388); Bottega Veneta Andiamo Small Intrecciato Leather Tote ($4100); Linda Farrow X Rowen Rose Cara Sunglasses ($300); Brilliant Earth Organica Cuff Bracelet ($795)

Day three was race day, and luckily, it was slightly cooler than it had been the last two days at the track. I decided to go with a less cowboy-inspired outfit, choosing instead to pull from old photos I've seen in the Ralph Lauren archives. Though not pictured, I did wear my Cafe Society hat again—it proved to be the perfect piece of sun protection for the occasion—styled with a vintage Max Mara linen waistcoat and the white Lafayette 148 A-line skirt that I got at the end of the summer and have already worn to NYFW and all around Italy on my recent vacation there. It's proving to be far more practical than I initially thought, and was a stellar choice for the weather. Naturally, the last add on was the one pair of cowboy boots that I packed for the trip, a distressed style from Free People that I got for a dinner the brand was having a few months ago. By way of a miracle, there was no break-in process necessary with them, so my feet were very happy to get some relief after two days of walking around Circuit of the Americas' dusty parking lot and hilly grounds. 


(Image credit: @elizagracehuber)

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Senior Fashion Editor

Eliza Huber is a New York City–based fashion editor who specializes in trend reporting, brand discovery, and celebrity style. She joined Who What Wear in 2021 after almost four years on the fashion editorial team at Refinery29, the job she took after graduating with a marketing degree from the University of Iowa. She has since launched two monthly columns, Let's Get a Room and Ways to Wear; profiled the likes of Dakota Fanning, Diane Kruger, Katie Holmes, and Sabrina Carpenter for WWW's monthly cover features; and reported on everything from the relationship between Formula One and fashion to the top trends from fashion month, season after season. Eliza now lives on the Upper West Side and spends her free time researching F1 fashion imagery for her side Instagram accounts @thepinnacleoffashion and @f1paddockfits, running in Central Park, and scouring eBay for '90s Prada and '80s Yves Saint Laurent.