Whether you grew up on a Texas ranch or just love the country Western aesthetic, you may wonder if you can wear your favorite cowboy boots to your cousin’s wedding. You may even want to know if you can pair cowboy boots with a suit in your office! So, can you wear dress pants with cowboy boots?
Wearing cowboy boots on a formal occasion turns a suit or tux into a personalized fashion statement. Certain cowboy boots look great with dress pants, suits, or khakis. Depending on the dress code in a workplace, cowboy boots often pair well with casual suits.
In this article, you will learn how to wear dress pants with cowboy boots. You will discover what kinds of dress pants work best with boots. Finally, you will find tips for pairing the best suit with your cowboy boots.
Can You Wear Dress Pants With Cowboy Boots?
You can wear dress pants with cowboy boots and look stylish for many occasions. Both men and women can rock this Western vibe on formal occasions or even in the workplace in some cases.
Cowboy boots come with some built-in advantages. If you wear this footwear style often, they probably feel more comfortable than classic loafers or formal shoes. Women almost certainly feel more comfortable in cowboy boots than heels! This makes standing up all day for a long session of job interviews or for hosting the family Christmas party more palatable.
Unlike some other kinds of footwear, cowboy boots work in all seasons and all weather. They may even keep your feet warmer and more comfortable in cold weather than traditional formal shoes.
Cowboy boots make a statement in many settings. If you choose to wear them every day to your office in LA, for example, people will notice you because of your fashion choice.
In the past, cowboy boots had a workday vibe that made them unwelcome in many more dressy situations, at least in mainstream American culture. But times have changed and the fashion world embraces personal choice much more than it used to! This means there is no Emily Post-type rule about when you can and cannot wear cowboy boots.
You will want to make sure you pick the right boots, pants, and accessories to pull off this bold fashion move, though!
How to Wear Cowboy Boots: 10 style tips
The key to wearing cowboy boots with dress pants, a suit, or khakis is picking the right boots, pants, and occasion.
1. Black Goes With Everything
Black cowboy boots look good with khakis, black slacks, or formal wear, and make the safest choice if you don’t want your boots to stand out from the rest of your outfit too conspicuously.
For formal settings like a wedding or a black-tie event, always pair black pants with black boots.
2. Keep it Clean
One of the most important rules for wearing cowboy boots with dress pants is to always wear high-class, new, or extremely clean boots. People will notice your footwear when you wear cowboy boots with a suit. Many formal cowboy boots use quality leather and detailing that highlight your taste and bold style.
But if you go out to check on the horses in the barn and then wear your old cowboy boots coated in dust and other things to the office, people will notice that, too–and not in a good way!
In fact, even your favorite pair of twenty-year-old boots may not make the cut, no matter how carefully you scrub and polish the leather. They might have started life with a big price tag and high quality, but if they look scruffy after years of use, they will not pair well with formal dress pants.
3. Read the Room
Perhaps the most important call you have to make when deciding whether or not to wear cowboy boots with dress pants is to read the room and determine how much your style choice will make you stand out from the crowd.
Wearing cowboy boots and a suit to a Texas legal office will likely not draw much comment. But as a lawyer, would you wear cowboy boots to court in New York?
Maybe you would–good for you! You just want to think about how much attention your wardrobe will draw as you make this decision.
Suppose you received an invitation to a wedding and don’t know if your cowboy boots fit the black-tie dress code specified on the invite. If you wear your boots, will they draw too much attention, making you look like the only country mouse at a city mouse party?
You will find that there is no right or wrong here. It’s more about how comfortable you feel drawing attention to your footwear because it will stand out more in some circumstances than others.
4. Match Colors
Another easy color rule to keep in mind when picking the right pants to wear with cowboy boots is that if you wear colored slacks, they should match the color of the boots. If you wear blue slacks, pair them with boots with a blue tint. If you wear black slacks, you already know you should always wear black boots with black pants!
This rule does have some exceptions because you may not want to match chartreuse slacks with chartreuse boots or lavender slacks with lavender boots. For women in particular, you may find that a pair of classy black boots offsets these more vivid colors perfectly.
But in general, for neutral-toned slacks like blue, grey, or brown, try to match the color with your boots!
5. Cowboy Boots Come in Several Styles
Cowboy boots come in multiple styles, and some styles look better with dress pants than others.
Pretty much all cowboy boots feature the pointed toe and tall shaft around the ankle that characterizes this type of Western footwear. Beyond that, you can find some distinct differences.
First, take a look at a few styles of boots that do not work well with dress pants.
Cowboy-style riding boots look great with a rodeo outfit but not so much with a suit. These boots can have pretty flashy decorations in some cases (although a plain shaft is more common). They have a high, angled heel and a narrow toe designed to help a rider easily fit a boot into the stirrup while riding a horse.
Cowboy-style workboots have a less ornate design, feature a low heel, and often have a rubber sole. This type of boot is meant for wearing all day on the range or at the construction site.
Roper boots have a shorter, closer-fitting shaft to support the ankle, low heels, and rounded toes that won’t trip you when you run. This type of cowboy boot has a special sporty use, as it helps rodeo stars rope calves during this specialized event.
So, what type of cowboy boot does go well with dress pants?
The most common style of cowboy boots to wear with dress pants is called dress boots! This style of cowboy boots features elaborate detailing and embroidery on quality cowhide. They usually style a pointed toe and short, square heel as well, and can come in various stains, patinas, or colors, too.
For women, the trend of fashion cowgirl boots offers a wide selection of what you could call “cowboy style” boots. These boots should never set foot in a dusty barnyard, but they do look nice with a variety of fun outfits! Some fashion cowgirl boots use expensive, high-end materials, but you also see this trend in cheaper footwear suitable for a wide range of budgets.
Short cowboy boots, sometimes called booties, look exactly like cowboy boots, but only from the ankle down. They have a much shorter shaft than traditional boots. This can make a great option for closer-fitting dress pants because the tall shaft could show through the pants.
Exotic cowboy boots are decorative boots that use a type of skin or leather other than cowhide. This can include elements like alligator skin or lizard skin! This kind of boot often has elaborate detailing and is meant to look pretty, not to wear while working. Plus, these boots often have designer labels and cost quite a lot.
6. Belt or No Belt?
If you typically wear a belt with your dress pants, you should wear a belt along with your cowboy boots. If you do not, you may want to skip the belt for two reasons.
First, keep in mind the rule of thumb that one Western article of clothing makes you look stylish, and two may look like you’re trying too hard. This means you should not wear cowboy boots, dress pants, and that giant silver and turquoise belt buckle you won at a country fair ten years ago!
Second, if you do wear a belt, it needs to match your boots. Wearing a brown leather belt and black leather boots will give you a sloppy appearance.
7. Check the Proportions
You need to pick the right dress pants to wear with cowboy boots because you do not want the shape of your cowboy boot to show through the leg of your dress pants.
When you wear cowboy boots, the shaft goes inside your pant leg. But if the pant leg hugs the boot too closely. You will look like you tried to stuff yourself into too-small pants! Bystanders may even see the shape of the embossed decoration on your boot right through your pants in extreme cases.
To avoid this, you need t wear dress pants with a wide enough leg opening to comfortably fit over the boot. If you like to wear slim-fit dress pants with a tapered lower leg, you may consider switching to short boots or booties instead of full cowboy boots.
8. Khakis Go with Anything
You can wear any color of cowboy boots with your khakis, from black or brown to bright pink! Khakis have a less formal appearance than suit pants or dress pants, making them an ideal choice for a business casual outfit when you want to wear your boots to work.
For a low-key office outfit, try matching khakis and cowboy boots with a blazer and button-down shirt. For a date at the local bar, wear your khakis, cowboy boots, and a nice button-down flannel.
9. Check Dress Code
You get to decide whether or not your cowboy boots will fit in at many events like weddings, parties, or nights on the town, but you should always check the dress code before wearing your boots to work.
Many workplaces require business casual or formal suits, meaning that you have to wear dress pants every day. Some workplaces also list appropriate footwear in the dress code. In this case, you need to check the list of approved shoe styles to see if you can get away with wearing cowboy boots.
If the dress code does not specifically prohibit cowboy boots, go ahead and wear them! Just make sure your overall outfit matches the formality and tone of the workplace. If your boss always wears a three-piece suit to work, you better shine up your cowboy boots and wear a nice pair of dress pants with them!
10. Personalize Formalwear
Cowboy boots offer a great way to personalize formalwear, especially for men. Men’s formal wear often has a set uniform of black tuxedos and black pants. Adding cowboy boots allows you to make your outfit a little more you!
That said, one of the keys to a classy formal outfit is that all the components fit together without drawing a lot of attention to any one part. Because of this, you will want to wear high-quality dress boots that do not have a ton of flashy embellishments like jewels, feathers, or sequins. Pick boots that have embroidered designs in the same color of thread as the boot, and almost always go with black boots for formal occasions.
Finally, think about the style of the occasion before deciding whether or not to wear your boots. If you know that your brother plans to hold his wedding in a barn, your boots will fit right in! But your boots will stand out more at a cocktail party in a fancy museum.
Can You Wear Cowboy Boots With Slacks?
You can wear cowboy boots with slacks or khakis and dress pants. The only exception is that your workplace may have a dress code requiring certain types of shoes.
Aside from a dress code forbidding boots, you can wear cowboy boots with slacks anywhere business-casual attire will fit in!
In fact, wearing cowboy boots with slacks makes a bold fashion statement. Cowboy boots and jeans go together more commonly, but pairing cowboy boots and slacks mix a traditionally less formal element with a traditionally more formal element. Wearing cowboy boots with slacks makes you look confident and rugged.
How Long Should Pants Be With Cowboy Boots?
You may need a longer inseam on dress pants worn with cowboy boots, as you want the pants to break slightly on the boot at the arch of your foot.
Men pretty much always wear pants on the outside of cowboy boots. You want your pant leg long enough to cover the shaft of the boot but not so long that it reaches the heel of the boot.
On the other hand, women can wear skinny jeans or close-fitting slacks tucked into some cowboy boots to show off the boot better. In this case, you can wear shorter pants that do not reach past your ankle bone.
Best Dress Pants for Cowboy Boots
The best dress pants to wear with cowboy boots have a generous leg opening but a stylish fit in the waist and seat, so you don’t have to wear a belt unless you want to. If you can afford it, look for pants containing natural fabric like wool or linen. Economy options more often feature synthetic fabric like polyester, which wears well but will not feel as breathable or look quite classy.
Women’s Dress Pants
You can find various styles in women’s dress pants that will work with cowboy boots, including classic straight-cut pants, bootcut pants, and skinny or slim-fit pants.
Lee Women’s Flex Motion Regular Dress Pants
These cotton dress pants have a straight leg with a generous 20” leg opening that is perfect for sliding over cowboy boots. You can choose from fifteen different colors and sizes ranging from women’s size 4 to plus sizes.
Rafaella Womens Curvy Fit Bootcut Dress Pants
For an economy option, try a stretchy, cute style of bootcut dress pants like this stylish number from Rafaella. The pants feature a wide leg opening of 20” that will easily fit over your cowboy boots.
They also feature a seat and waist designed to fit a curvy body type, with a double-button waistband closure and a contoured waist design.
SweatyRocks Women’s Casual Stretch High-Waisted Work Pants
If you want to tuck your pants inside your fashionable cowgirl boots, go skinny with these stretchy, comfortable legging-style dress pants! You can choose from over 30 different colors and patterns, like grey plaid and floral white, or add details like side buttons or metal decor.
The pants feature a high waist and a close-fitting leg opening ending just below your ankle bone.
Men’s Dress Pants
The key thing to look for in men’s dress pants to wear with cowboy boots is a generous leg opening that will fit over the shaft of the boot with no bulging or straining.
Kirkland Signature Straight Leg
You can’t go wrong with a classic like this all-wool, straight-leg dress pants.
The straight-cut leg leads to a loose leg opening that can fit over cowboy boots without looking baggy. Plus, extra details like double-stitched buttons and a sturdy zipper make these quality pants more durable!
Haggar Men’s Work to Weekend
This classy cotton pair of pants offers an expandable waistband for extra comfort and a twill-weave cotton khaki fabric for breathability and ease of movement.
These pants can match your cowboy boots for a day in the office or a more casual setting, and they come in over twenty different colors to match any style of cowboy boot.
Amazon Essentials Men’s Classic Fit
For an economy option, Amazon Essentials offers several styles of dress pants that will fit well over cowboy boots, including these classic fit dress pants with a loose leg opening and an expandable waist.
The flat-front style with no pleats makes these pants look modern, even with the wider leg opening. They come in six traditional shades like black, grey, and tan.
Best Suit to Wear With Cowboy Boots
The best suit to wear with cowboy boots fits you well and uses a high-quality fabric like wool or cotton but also features a regular or straight-fit pant leg with a wide leg opening.
You can find many different suits that fit these specifications, including these two samples!
Business Suit New York Regular Fit
If you want a traditional, classic-fit wool suit in a solid color, perfect for interviews or work meetings, Business Suit New York has a traditional number that will fit your needs.
Plus, the regular-fit pants will easily allow you to wear your cowboy boots and bring some life to this sturdy, dependable suit!
For a modern, stylish two-piece women’s suit that will easily fit cowboy boots, try any of the 20+ colors offered by SusieLady!
The blazer features a notched lapel and a curved, asymmetric hem for added style. The pants have a loose, flared shape perfect for hiding boot tops!
You can wear dress pants with cowboy boots in many situations. Dress pants and cowboy boots together make a confident, bold fashion statement that shows more of your personality in your wardrobe than standard loafers or dress shoes. Plus, these hardy boots provide more security and comfort for long days or bad weather than traditional dress shoes!
Key things to remember when wearing cowboy boots and dress pants include always checking a workplace dress code before wearing boots to the office. You should also keep in mind that black, lightly decorated boots look more formal than colorful or highly decorated cowboy boots. Also, make sure the leg opening on your pants can fit over the shaft of the boot so your pants do not look too small.