Horse trainer, bronc rider, mom, and Western model, Sarah Armstrong talks balancing her wardrobe while living out a true Western lifestyle.
You’re known for doing it all from bronc riding to modeling to being a ranch mom - Tell us about your experience as a woman in the Western way of life.
I feel so blessed to be a woman in the Western community. Its amazing to be able to choose whether you want rope and ride with the cowboys, or simply have a home-cooked meal ready for your husband when he comes in [while being] a stay at home mom raising your babies. Although there have been times I’ve had to prove myself first to gain respect out of the cowboys, the Western community is so open and accepting of women as a whole and support whatever role they want to play, as long as they are pitching in. I never really gave it much thought, just did what I liked to do and I had no real issues being exactly who I wanted to be. I love being able to model on the 'gram, ride broncs, and be a mom all at the same time!
How do you balance style with the demands of the ranch?
I don't put quite as much effort into my style as most Western fashion influencers. I hardly wear makeup or jewelry or spend much time putting together an outfit. I don’t even feel like I fit into the category most of the time but others seem to like my style! I think some people are drawn to it simply because it is nice to see something more raw on occasion. Although some women can wear their fake nails and makeup on the daily to work, I value my sleep and would rather get 20 extra minutes than be getting ready in the mornings.
What I wear is functional for the ranch. Most days I throw on a pair of jeans, a button down or a graphic tee, and a ball cap. My hair stays braided 90% of the time, and when I do let it down it goes all natural; I’ve yet to ever dye it. I keep the same pair of earrings in for weeks at a time. It's crazy how much a little piece of jewelry or a cute shirt can bring to an outfit, and how little time it takes.
Who are your major style influences?
I don’t pay much mind to other people’s style when it comes to looking for [inspiration] to wear myself, although I love scrolling and seeing others rocking a look with their own unique, fun styles. I just wear what I like, which isn’t even always Western!
I have a long inseam and small waist so I have a hard time finding jeans to fit me, and I definitely copied Layne on Instagram on the men’s Cinch jeans (thanks love!). I love the high waist and durability of mens jeans so I switched to wearing mostly those!
What are your go-to closet staples for a day on the ranch? A night on the town?
For a day on the ranch, I wear jeans, and button downs or athletic shirts. I’ll throw on one of my many ball caps, or a cowboy hat. I basically stay in tennis shoes until I need to step on a horse, then I put on my cowboy boots.
I seldom go out on the town, but when I do I usually just wear what I did for the day at the ranch. If I am feeling fun and want to dress up a little more, my go-to is skinny jeans, heels, some makeup and a statement necklace. Fun fact, I don't even know how to curl my hair, I totally wing my makeup, and only have like 5 products in my makeup bag.
You rock a red lip on your Instagram from time to time – what draws you to the color red for a dress-up occasion?
Red is my color! I think it just works well with my tones. I love how bold and strong of a vibe it puts off, and I always feel like a badass when I’m wearing red lipstick. I wear it on occasion when I dress up, but I secretly love it the most when I’ve got my rodeo attire on. I love the pictures of the old vintage cowgirls in red lipstick. I feel all the vibes when I show up to get on a bronc looking like a lady, the men underestimate me, and I put a good ride on a bucker.
Do you have any favorite brands?
I just wear what I like. I buy new from boutiques, or used from thrift stores. Brands you’ll catch me a lot in are Cinch and Wrangler jeans, and High Rank apparel buttons downs. I wear American, Burns and Rodeo King cowboy hats.
As far as tennis shoes, I wear a lot of Nike, Ariat, and Roper brands. Depending on what horses I’m riding and what heel I need I’ll wear my Lyles, Ariat, or Anderson Bean cowboy boots. For colder weather I love my BuckWildRags, WildWools and a good StS Ranchwear Jacket. I also absolutely love my Star M Leggins to work or rodeo in.
What advice do you have for girls looking to be an all-around cowgirl with style?
If you feel like being comfortable, don't be afraid to throw on something simple once in awhile. Sometimes less is more. It’s ok to not be perfect all the time. I wore a Mexican thrift store dress on my wedding day, with a Wrangler jacket over!
If you feel like being super extra and going all out, don't be afraid to do that either. Be modest, show a little skin, BE YOU! Confidence and a smile is the best thing you can wear no matter the occasion! It's great to find inspiration, but don't be afraid to step out and wear what you like, even if it’s different than what is in style. That is how trends and new styles come about!
Follow along with Sarah's adventure on her Instagram here.