Cowgirl Sal: How EXACTLY Did This Happen?

I’ve lamented my inability to pull off the chunky sweater, long flowy skirt, and cowboy boot look, as beautifully showcased in the fall and winter editions of the Sundance Catalog. Lamented! I may adore this look, but it adores me not. However, it seems that my local thrift stores have conspired to make this the summer of Cowgirl Sal. And it all comes back to Sundance.

In mid-April, my beloved local Savers presented me with two of the most stunning vintage belts in the history of waist-cinching. Both smelled strongly of cigarette smoke, but fit me as if they’d been custom made for my midsection, and cost a whopping $4 each. And BOTH were Southwestern-themed, with intricately tooled leather and heavy silver hardware.

When, in the same Savers run, I unearthed a cotton voile, floor-length, patchwork floral skirt from – you guessed it – the Sundance Catalog, I knew it was a sign.

And thus began a thrifting campaign to complete the Cowgirl Sal look. I already had the shoes and a couple of key pieces, but several holes needed filling. They are now filled and I could seriously sport this single look ALL SUMMER LONG if I chose, my options are so many and so versatile. It’s my plan to keep the cowgirlishness to a minimum – work two pieces max into an outfit – but I am excited to play around with this modern-Western style and see where it takes me.

Click on any image to enlarge.

Dress made by my AWWWESOME mom
Boots a gift from HM, via Spandexpony’s Etsy shop
Necklace thrifted from Abigail Page Antique Mall
White tank, Target
Bermudas, J.Crew
Belt, thrifted
Coral necklace, street vendor in San Francisco
Frye Campus boots, Sierra Trading Post (two years ago)

Snap-front shirt, Lucky Brand via Macy’s (ages ago)
Suede skirt, thrifted
John Fluevog Haights
Hat, Charlotte Russe
Tank, Old Navy
Blouse, thrifted
Denim mini, Gap Outlet
Frye Campus boots, Sierra Trading Post (two years ago)
Necklace thrifted from Abigail Page Antique Mall
White tee, American Apparel
Skirt, Sundance Catalog (on sale about five years ago)
John Fluevog Haights
Hat, The Mexican Shop
Turquoise beads, Clemoon
Floral dress, thrifted
Denim dress, thrifted
Boots a gift from HM, via Spandexpony’s Etsy shop
White linen blouse, thrifted
Suede skirt, thrifted
Vest, thrifted
John Fluevog Haights
Blue goldstone necklace, Margaritas Jewels
Gingham shirt dress, thrifted
Boots a gift from HM, via Spandexpony’s Etsy shop
Necklace thrifted from Abigail Page Antique Mall
Hammered silver cuff from a shop in Madison, Wisconsin
Blue oxford, thrifted
Eyelet skirt, thrifted
Belt, Target
John Fluevog Haights
Necklace thrifted from Abigail Page Antique Mall
Victorian-ish blouse, thrifted
Floor-length cotton voile skirt, thrifted
Belt, thrifted
Frye Campus boots, Sierra Trading Post (two years ago)

Have you ever seen a happier fake-cowgirl? Big thanks, as always, to Husband Mike for taking such lovely photos … in this case, lots of ’em.

  • pretty face

    WOW! Not one Cowgirl Sal outfit, not two, not three…

    I love the name to, it just trips off the tongue perfectly. I think you should change your blogging signature to ‘Cowgirl Sal’!

  • Christina Lee

    you go girl!!!!! the last one looks the most “Sundancey”!! too too cute!

  • Laura.

    yee-haw! these are so cool! i love all the different versions and photos. i feel totally inspired to get out there and thrift.

  • Cindy at The CookBook Nook

    Love how yourocked the boot look! My black Texas brand cowboy (girl?) boots are one of my wardrobe staples – I wear them with everything, from jeans to skirts – and part of the beauty of the look is that I thrifted them for $6 several years ago. And I have several other pairs of thrifted boots, all of which I wear.

    Kudos! Your blog rocks – I have it set as one of my homepages so I can easily check in daily daily regularly.

  • Erin

    Yep, I love that last outfit the mostest.

  • Linda

    Agh! I love that black and white skirt very much.

  • miss cavendish

    Ahh–the first belt in particular is very Clotilde in Ralph Lauren . . . my favorite RL model.

  • Sharon

    Love love love the gingham shirt dress look!! Cowgirl Sal sure is a cutie :)

  • futurelint

    Loves! These are all so chic cowgirl not rodeo cowgirl! I can’t believe how many different looks you pulled together!

  • Leanna

    Love this style on you! So comfy and happy looking!

  • Nina (femme rationale)

    the photos of you in front of the flowers are just too pretty!

  • Sharon Rose

    Hi there-such a fantastic selection of outfits, you’ve truly perfected this look!

  • K.Line

    A) Your backyard is gorgeous – take more photos!

    B) OMG, you are so convincing as a prairie girl! Now, this is not a look that resonates for me, but you are working it excellently on all accounts! Can’t believe you feel you don’t pull it off. It’s perfect.

  • dinaper

    Love the dress your mom made with the boots, the Sundance skirt and denim dress are very cool. And your cat totally rocks too!

  • Sheila

    Wow, this is a great look for you! I especially love the gingham dress and the Victorian blouse with the long skirt. Those belts are wicked cool – I would wear them.

  • Christy

    Love these looks – fabulous darling, fabulous!

  • Jilliebeanie

    LOVE the Cowgirl Sal look! You’ve inspired me to get out the ol’ boots and see what I can come up with! Great post!

  • i_b_erin

    Love the looks! Thanks for sharing, and I esp love how you just radiate in the long skirt and awesome belt!

  • Alison

    Love them all and they all look great on you. This post along with the one with my boots and your ideas for them are going to set off down a very similar path. I’m so looking forward to try more cowgirl chic looks, especially since it’s still cold up here!! (34F this morning)

  • Kristen

    love the looks! i’m leaning towards more bohemian myself. :)

  • casey

    You are so, stinkin’ adorable, girl! 😀 I’m not into the cowgirl/western look for myself (I look absolutely too silly), but you rock this style perfectly. I definitely think the outfit that is in the top photos is my favorite; so classic, and yet it has a bit of an edge to it. Fantastic!

  • AsianCajuns

    Oh my gosh, Sal! I love it! At first my favorite look was the top one (short jean skirt, purple tank, etc.), but I gasped in delight at the long voile skirt with the crisp what shirt- you look Diiiiivine!!!!

    I have about three cowgirl hats hanging in my closet that I pull out every summer- now I gots to find me some of those awesome belts!

  • The Raisin Girl

    I think the wide-brimmed white hat is my very favorite item…although the floor-length skirt also excites a bit of envy. I’m inspired.

  • Jamie Cattanach

    That last look is definitely my favorite, and these are some of my favorite outfits from you ever. Bravo! You just look so confident and happy. Also: yay @ switching up poses! I concur with HM on that particular front :)

  • dapper kid

    Wow, these outfits are so fabulous :) Loving the belts, and that dress your mother made is so amazing!! Your skirt in the last outfit is so lovely. Oh, and yup, my home is an Edwardian building, and we were replacing the carpet in one of the rooms, and the floorboards are all original, as are the fireplaces and their surrounding tiles :)

  • Tina (SoontobePhD)

    I love the white tee/long skirt look, awesome post!

  • Audi

    Oh Sal, you look adorable in EVERY ONE of these outfits. I love the idea of cowboy boots with the long shorts, and… are those cocktail weenies around your neck? 😉

  • Sal

    Audi, you TWERP! HM is gonna laugh his butt off when he sees that comment. 😉

  • Couture Allure Vintage Fashion

    So nice to see pics of you outdoors! Thank goodness winter is over…..oops, maybe I just jinxed it.

  • Clare

    Lady, you look fantastic as a cowgirl!! And as a Wyoming native, I think I have the authority to officially confer the title of Honorary Cowgirl to ya. Yeehaw!

  • lisa

    So many outfit options! Hehe Sal, you look good enough to be lassoed. 😉

  • WendyB

    You look mighty cute in that hat, ma’am.

  • Vildy

    man, you look fabulous – one terrific outfit after another.
    Special kudos to mom for the best-lookin’ cowgirl dress I ever saw.

  • Michael McGraw Photography

    Audi, HM is laughing his butt off! And Sal, you do look fabulous in all of these well-photographed pics.


    You are definitely a cute ‘cowgirl’…John Wayne would be proud darling!!! 😉

  • Slyde

    i know what you mean… i cant get away with a flowery skirt either..

    p.s. i think you look great!

  • Kelly

    Cowgirl Sal is HOT!!

  • a cat of impossible colour

    I love you as a cowgirl! It suits you down to the ground. 😀

    Word verification is ‘blessing’ … how cool.

  • elena-lu

    i think your smile just makes any outfit you put together :)

  • Deja Pseu

    Everything looks fabulous, but I LOVE the long skirt and white blouse! Very nice!

  • Simple Elegance

    Amazing! You are fully rocking the cowgirl look in every possible way! I never thought cowgirl could be chic, but I think you’ve made it happen. Kudos to Husband Mike for great photography as well.

  • Missa

    These pictures are too cute, I LOVE the cowgirl Sal look! Both of those long sundance skirts are gorgeous and look amazing on you!

  • Winnie

    Wow Sal, so many photos! You look great! Those belts are lovely but my favourite is that first one. Love the shape of that little blouse that’s paired with the purple tank!

  • rb

    I grew up in a farm town, big on western wear. I couldn’t get out of that town fast enough, so personally I am not planning to go back to the cowgirl look. I do occasionally wear my black and white cowboy boots with a skirt and black tights in the winter, but that’s about it.

    But your photos reminded me of how much I longed for an eyelet skirt just like yours in high school! Just like that. I envisioned it worn with brown and cream cowboy boots. I had the exact pair of boots picked out at the feed store. Just never had the funds.

  • bekster

    YAY for you! I LOVE it!

    I have had fun playing around with different ways to “decorate” my plain straw hat (the only hat I feel comfortable wearing in public–so far). Simply by adding beads in the right colors, I was able to make it work with an otherwise non-cowgirlish dress. Next, I’m thinking I may have to hit the craft store for some feathers…

  • La Belette Rouge

    To answer your question, no. You are the happiest and cutest and I love how you work the hat. LOVE!!

  • Boutique Girl

    Great belts and at great prices too!

  • Kate Coveny Hood

    You’re not a FAKE cowgirl…you’re an “urban” cowgirl…or a “rhinestone” cowgirl? Definitely something with more cache than “fake.”

  • a!k0

    Ooo..i think you look great in any cowgirl outfit 😛

    that reminds me of one halloween years ago, when i was a cowgirl (and i think as crappy as it looks, very cowgirlish enough)…

    ps and i just realized that HM means husband mike 😛

  • Trixie La Belle

    Cuuuute 😀 Im saying : yiiiha!
    Trixie La Belle

  • Emily

    I’m a fake cowgirl, too. So glad to know there are others out there just like me. You pull it off a bit better than I….

    xo – Emily

  • MrsLM

    Love this post!

    I am another upper Midwest urban resident (Detroit, in my case) obsessed with Western wear. I rationalize that my grandfather was from Kansas and my best friend is a Southerner so I have the right to dress like a cowgirl. And I usually only get a few stares!

  • chic

    what a fun photo shoot! I especially LOVE the cowboy hat on you! S.

  • Yess

    I know this is late, but I just want to let you know that you inspired me to dress like a cowgirl for the better part of the summer and continuing into this fall. Cowboy boots over/under jeans? YES. White button-downs, light jeans, and hefty brown belts? IT'S A MUST. Denim jacket? MOAR PLZ.

    Thank you for awakening me to just how stylish the Southwest can be!! 😀