Life

The Wild West

For the past few months, I’ve been obsessed with the “Wild West”. It all started when I decided to re-read one of my favorite books, Lonesome Dove, mentioned in this reading favorites post. Every time I finish the book, I am left in awe of how amazing the men and women (American, Native American, and Mexican) were that lived through these times. The wide open country, the battles that were fought, the hard living as people were literally building their houses by hand, and more.

When I’m obsessed with something, I usually end up reading and watching everything I can on the subject – I am even on my library waiting list for “Walker, Texas Ranger,” which apparently has a higher demand than I thought. Due to my enthusiasm this post ended up being a little longer so I’ve separated it into three sections – book recommendations, style and jewelry.

Book Recommendations

I went through at least ten books that were “Western” themed (I have to admit, there were some bad ones), and these are the ones I would recommend. Lonesome Dove also has a great TV miniseries based on it, and True Grit and No Country for Old Men have fantastic movies as well.

Lonesome Dove – the best of the best. A must read which describes the friendship between two former Texas Rangers and their cattle drive to Montana. Miniseries DVD here.

The Sisters Brothers – about two brothers – hired assassins – who travel to California to track down a man they’ve been hired to kill.

True Grit – about a young girl who partners with a U.S Marshal to find the man who murdered her father and their travel through Indian Territory. Also made into a movie here.

No Country for Old Men – this is not a classic Western as it’s already set in the 1980s, but I included it because in my opinion it’s in the same genre – the descriptions of open country and Texas and again here a struggle between life and death. Also made into a movie, here.

Fashion

After reading all of these books I felt very inspired, and went through a bunch of fashion archives looking for “Western” styles. Here are two of my favorite collections that referenced the Western spirit. The first is Ralph Lauren Spring 2011:

Ralph really does create some beautiful dresses. I’d love to have both of these. To me he is the king of Western influenced fashion and you can clearly see that influence in his son’s wedding photos with Lauren Bush (at Ralph’s Colorado ranch):

via Vogue

I was thrilled to find another collection heavily influenced by the West, from one of my favorite brands – Hermes! This was from Gaultier’s Spring 2009 collection and the two below were my favorite looks.

And let’s not forget the amazing accessories – I think this was the collection where Hermes introduced its ombre lizard products – one of my favorite ever!

Hermes Medor clutches

Jewelry

Ever since Belle’s interview I’ve been really rethinking my jewelry collection. I would like to build a collection of statement pieces and have always admired Western inspired pieces. I love how many of them are inspired by nature and use a lot of one of my favorite stones – turquoise! Below is my only turquoise item – a little bracelet my dad brought me back when he went to Brazil, I’m pretty sure it costs $10 or less (my father’s threshold for souvenir spending).

And two of my dream inspiration turquoise pieces below. The first is the Cartier necklace designed for the Duchess of Windsor (dream on, right)?

 

The second is the Van Cleef Alhambra necklace in turquoise. I’ve wanted this necklace since 2009 and even back then the price was out of reach. Too bad it’s only gone up ~40-50% since then!

 

Whew! That was a long post. If you’ve made it this far – thank you for reading – and I would love, love to hear your thoughts on the Wild West. Books, movies, TV, fashion, jewelry, anything. What are your thoughts on this era, and any recommendations on things to read, look at, buy, know? Please leave your comments below!

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  • Tabitha
    July 30, 2012 at 6:55 am

    My husband would love you! We actually bonded over Cormac McCarthy book years ago, I love watching documentaries about the West, it can hold my attention for hours,

  • adele
    July 30, 2012 at 7:22 am

    My parents were heavily into Wild West films & made me watch a bunch of them when I was younger!!
    Happy Monday Hun xoxo
    http://www.intotheblonde.com/
    Vote intotheblonde BEST LIFESTYLE BLOG in the Cosmo Blog Awards 2012
    http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/blog-awards-2012-vote

  • Ines
    July 30, 2012 at 7:35 am

    I love western boots – Frye makes some excellent ones that are not too costume-y or tacky. The only issue I have with them is that on my feet (which are usually between a 5.5 and 6.5 depending on the brand) most of the boots are too narrow in the size 6 and the 7 is just too large – and they don’t have half sizes :(.

    I also do love a good plaid shirt every now and then – but my style is more preppy/corporate casual on most days so I feel uncomfortable in most western-style clothes.

    I read a book recently that was a good, easy read but very honestly written – it isn’t western in genre – but I thought I’d share with you anyway – it’s Frank O’Dea (CEO/President of 2nd Cup Coffee in Canada)’s “When Hope Is Not Enough.” It outlines his life – from his sexual assaults (yes, multiple!) as a teen, to slipping into homelessness and alcoholism in his late teens and twenties, to picking up the pieces and growing one of Canada’s most iconic brands. It was heartfelt and written honestly, and I loved it!

    • Katherine
      July 30, 2012 at 8:12 am

      Thank you for the book recommendation! It sounds great, my library doesn’t have it but I have requested it in 🙂 I may just break down and get it from Amazon. I have admired Frye boots for years and think maybe this is the time to get a pair!

  • Chic 'n Cheap Living
    July 30, 2012 at 8:01 am

    Lauren Bush Lauren’s wedding gown and photo were simply stunning – they brought to mind the coolest parts of the West! I don’t have any good book recommendations, but I do think of classic, rugged leather products like Frye boots (I bought a pair I don’t wear here because it’s too hot) and Line Pelle belts (vintagey and cool).

    xoxo,
    Chic ‘n Cheap Living

  • Nina Morena
    July 30, 2012 at 8:04 am

    very interesting post! i love the fashion section especially 🙂

  • chocolatecookiesandcandies
    July 30, 2012 at 9:01 am

    I saw the VCA necklace in Hong Kong 5.5 years ago and fell head over heels in love with it. By the time, I felt that I could afford it, the price has gone up by 50%!!!

    • Katherine
      July 30, 2012 at 10:06 am

      I know, the price increases have been truly astronomical on this necklace!

  • Amy
    July 30, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Western reads are so great and adventurous! I spent a summer in college studying American literature, and had a professor who just loved Western novels. We read a lot of Larry McMurtry. My professor would have loved your reading list.

    I’ve been on a reading spree as well, mainly to understand all the movies that are coming out in recent months, and am just starting the Game of Thrones series. Not the same theme you’re after, but just as exciting and full of adventure! (Although medieval fashion is nowhere as wearable as Ralph Lauren 😛 )

    Cheers!

    • Katherine
      July 30, 2012 at 4:02 pm

      I love Game of Thrones! One of my all time favorites 🙂

  • RosaLovesDC
    July 30, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    If you are looking for statement pieces to add to your jewelry collection, I really recommend J.Crew. I have some of their pieces and they really do last a long time and they are not too expensive. I love necklaces and those are the pieces that I have been focusing for my jewelry collection.

    • Katherine
      July 30, 2012 at 10:08 pm

      Thank you! I actually was just thinking this the other day as I love the new necklaces J.Crew has for fall…!

  • liz
    July 30, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    random passerby here. love how you’ve found fashion inspiration from lit, cuz i can (sort of) relate – reading murakami’s “what i talk about when i talk about running” had me running for weeks after. the ralph lauren dresses and those gloves are particularly lustworthy for me!

    • Katherine
      July 31, 2012 at 9:29 am

      I need to read that! I haven’t read Murakami in ages, I actually love his non fiction 🙂

  • Ginta
    July 31, 2012 at 2:20 am

    I have The Sisters Brothers on my reading list. It’s been a while since I read anything Wild West, so, I’m looking forward to reading the book!

    • Katherine
      July 31, 2012 at 9:29 am

      It took me a little while to get into it, but once I did I was hooked 🙂

  • Andrea
    July 31, 2012 at 3:21 am

    You’ve posted everything I love- Ralph Lauren is really incredible! I love the clutches, especially the white one. .. and the jewelry you’ve picked out, Van Cleef has such cute icons, I really want the earrings!

  • E.
    July 31, 2012 at 6:44 am

    I love this post, and I’m glad you went back to RL’s collections – the mix of lace, soft florals, leather and turquoise is exquisite!

    One Western-y television recommendation (if you haven’t already seen it): Deadwood, a brilliant series on HBO which was unfortunately canceled after 3 seasons.

    • Katherine
      July 31, 2012 at 9:30 am

      I heard Deadwood is AMAZING. It is officially on my Netflix queue now!

  • fra
    August 1, 2012 at 12:25 am

    love this pics and also your blog! It’s so nice!!! I follow you!
    Pass to my blog and if it likes you follow me too, I will be so glad 😀
    kisses
    http://francescagiusti.blogspot.com/

  • Dana
    August 1, 2012 at 6:54 am

    Hmm I’ve probably only got a couple true ‘Western’ items in my closet, and those are dark teal cowboy boots (Steve Madden) and a hat I picked up in NC. I don’t wear either of them a lot but I have to admit I enjoy looking at them, lol!

    I’m a big romance reader and only read a Louie L’Amour in college – it was good but I’m not sure I’ve read enough to recommend his whole backlist. Diana Palmer writes some old school romances with more contemporary cowboys, lol, but you have to be able to accept the sometimes too virginal & too over the top heroines. And now that I think about it, that really might be it! I didn’t realize I had such a hole in my reading life, but I guest Westerns just aren’t really my thing [shrug]!

    • Katherine
      August 1, 2012 at 8:04 am

      Thank you for the recommendations! I will definitely check them out 🙂

  • Annabelle
    August 6, 2012 at 7:54 am

    I’ve been meaning to read “Lonesome Dove” for a while now; I need to put that on my list! I’ve been to places on the Goodnight-Loving Trail often enough that it should probably be required reading.