Western never goes out of style (left to right) Don Morgan, Shanda Morgan, and Jerry Doan (Shanda’s father) [Photo: Melanie Sioux Photography]

DHM: It’s no secret that western fashion has hit it big in the last year, what do you attribute that to?

Branded Envy: Western fashion hit the New York runway a few years ago and has really hit mainstream in many facets. I think many people realized they could add a bit of western flare, and it doesn’t have to be gaudy. Of course, with the hit show, Yellowstone, it brought new life. Showing that you can be a type of “big city” and “country” at the same time and yet still look good. 

DHM: What are the top 3 latest western fashion trends going into Spring 2023?

Branded Envy:

  • 90s Denim: baggier fit, lower rise denim, longer length.
  • Neon colors: think pop of color – or if you are more daring – all over neon (remember the 90s big hair with neon – yes! That without the hair 🙂).
  • Metallic colors: for instance a metallic blazer or a metallic pair of pants.
  • Flat shoes: think comfort, they can go with everything.

DHM: Cowboy hats: is there a hat that is always trending, or do they need to correspond with each different outfit?

Branded Envy: A cowboy hat is a cowboy or cowgirl’s signature. Each one can be so different, and everyone has their own idea as to how they’d like theirs shaped. Of course, over the years there have been many design trends that the hat has followed. You could usually tell a typical “timey” or a “roughie” based on their hat shape. That is not so true anymore. Hats, like clothing fashion, have crossed lines, and it is amazing.  They are an extension of each person’s personality with the addition of feathers, cards, burnt edges, drawings, hat bands, etc. It’s not just about shape anymore.

DHM: Cowboy boots: when to wear the short boots and when to wear the tall boots?

Branded Envy: There is no right or wrong time to wear either tall or shorties anymore. It’s all about your “style.” Cuff your jeans and wear the shorties, or cuff those jeans higher and show off all the colors your boots have to offer. Wear your dress with the tall or short boots whichever makes you more comfortable. 

DHM: What can we make trendy in our current normal cowgirl/cowboy wardrobe?

Branded Envy: You can make anything “trendy” if you feel confident wearing it. There is nothing more attractive than a woman who is confident in her own skin. Wearing clothing that fits your body shape and style will make you feel great and exude confidence! Every cowgirl needs a great fitting blazer to class up a pair of jeans and a graphic tee. Pair that with your favorite turquoise necklace or wild rag, cuff, earrings, and a pair of boots and you are ready. 

[Photo: Melanie Sioux Photography]

DHM: Do you sense that Dakotans’ have their own style when it comes to traditional western, maybe even weather and season fashion adjustments?

Branded Envy: North Dakotan western women always look good! They have a great ability to class up just about anything. They must, I mean we spend 7 months out of the year in the snow, ha-ha. Usually, the ladies spend time buying quality items that are staples in their closets that they can wear long-term. I would think they wouldn’t be so caught up in the “fast-fashion,” which is the newest trend that may not be the best quality item sold at every store on the corner. 

DHM: What’s one of the factors that drew you into being a part of the western fashion industry and opening a boutique? 

Branded Envy: It was kind of an accident to have a full-blown boutique. Way back in the beginning, which was in 2010, I was living in Texas and coming up to help my brother with hunting season. My family had an empty storefront, and I was frustrated with the fact that North Dakotans always had to go to Texas or the NFR or just anywhere else to find any unique rustic furniture. So, I decided to haul a load of furniture back with me when I came along with a few other items I found and see if anyone else in Bismarck thought the same way I did. Well, that weekend turned into a month, turned into 3, to 6, and I had to go back to Texas to my family. I turned to my parents and brothers and my sister-in-law to help keep this new “store” open until I figured out what I was going to do.

I eventually added more clothing, because I absolutely LOVED the feeling of helping people find what they were looking for and making them feel good about themselves. Being unique really defines me. I like being different and not looking like everyone else, so I really try hard to not make sure Branded Envy is the definition of that as well. 

Youth style with Shayda Morgan [Photo: Branded Envy]

DHM: What drives you to keep promoting the western way of life?

Branded Envy: A big part of what keeps me passionate about the western way of life and telling our story is the fact that in today’s world, kids are now sometimes one if not two generations removed from living on a farm or ranch. What that means is that they are being educated about where their food comes from by what they see on TV, social media, or what they are being told by some other outside source… some of these are not always accurate.

Sometimes these kids think their food originates from Walmart or the (insert grocery store) their parents shop at. This is a super scary thought!  My kids go to school in the Bismarck School system and have encountered some of this RIGHT IN OUR BACKYARD!  We welcome kids anytime to our family’s ranch and our personal place to see the animals and how they are really treated and how important they are to an operation, to ride horses, gather eggs, etc.  Anything to help educate today’s youth, which I think is so important. If we don’t take the time to do this when we can, who will?

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