I've never been to the American West, so all I know about it is what I read in Westerns (which I love) and contemporary Western romances. And El Topo, my favorite Western movie...lol if that counts (gratuitous scenes from the film below).
Cowboy boots are made of exotic leathers like ostrich, alligator, rattlesnake, and the one on the bottom left in the Polyvore set above is actually made of fish leather. The boots are as wild as the West. The boots always have a heel--even men's boots--for horseback riding. And the toes are pointed so it's easier for the rider to slip into the stirrup. I don't know why they're so flashy.
So I've got one pair of cowboy boots that was my sisters'. She was going to toss them because the heel was gone, so I grabbed them, took them to the shoe repair guy, and now they're mine. Seriously, these boots have gotten me the most compliments out of anything I've ever worn...even random people can't help themselves. There are some people in the office who have seen me wear them many times and STILL have to tell me that they are awesome every time I wear them. My sister complained about the attention, and I have to admit I don't understand it completely myself.
Until there was one girl on the subway who had the most amazing, flashy pair of cowboy boots ever. It was like one of the ones from the set above, except red, black, and yellow like a coral snake. I couldn't stop staring. She was like "I know. They're awesome."
So in my search for Western wear, I came across Sheplers, which seems to be an online superstore for this sort of thing. It's kind of bizarre in our days of fast fashion and globalization, there's still "folk" styles. (and boy, do I sound like such an uppity New Yorker). But I think it's awesome (and quaint! I'll just stop talking now)
But seriously, it's awesome. I've seen a few local goth rockers pull off a version of this look. I feel like it was bigger in the 2000s but have nothing to back this up. Western wear has tooled leather, fringes, embroidery, amazing leatherwork/exotic skins. Instead of the traditional Western top, which starts getting costumy, I went for a bishop-sleeve blouse, which reminds me of frontier historical wear, probably not accurate.
Here's an outfit fail, but with the cowboy boots:
Do you like Western styles? Is there a folk fashion where you're from? BTW, Australian readers, don't you guys have something similar to "Western" styles? I feel like you would, since the British colonized you guys too..and had the same frontier settlement thing going on. I think. Most of what I know about the Australian frontier comes from the Nick Cave movie.