Jennifer Lopez’s Met Gala look was an ode to the American cowboy and the horse he rode in on. It was also a symbol of the evolution of western style.
This is a women's leather cowboy hat trick. And we’re about to see a lot more distressed women’s leather cowboy hats on the heads of our favorite celebs.
The Met Gala is known as “Fashion’s Biggest Night Out.” It's a night A-listers and designers are encouraged to use the red carpet as a blank canvas. To display fashion as art, interpreting the theme in their own way.
J.Lo chose to tip her hat to the night’s theme in a look that was oozing with American pride, without wearing stars and stripes. She walked the hand-made floor-sweeping gown by American designer Ralph Lauren. She chose hammered silver and leather accessories, and a faux fur shawl. Then she completed the look with a weathered women’s cowboy hat that looked like it came right off the range.
Speaking of, that brown leather cowboy hat was the appetizer of an absolute fashion feast.
The Next It Accessory
Jennifer Lopez entered the Met Gala in a custom brown leather women’s cowboy hat and gown (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)
It had a modest crown height with a rancher shape. A silhouette that's characterized by a subtle or no pinch and a bowl-like indent in the top of the crown. Around the crown was a thin brown leather hat band that matched the trim on the brim. And the brim itself had a relaxed “U” shape with almost no visible crease.
To polish it off – or rather dust it off with authenticity – her women’s leather cowboy hat had custom distressing. It suggested she pulled it out from under a saddle in some dusty horse trailer. But we all know it was likely toted from the designer’s atelier that day. The “dust” encircled the crown with distressing shown on the edge of the brim.
Not to mention the faux stain at the back of the brim, not included with a brand new Stetson or Resistol.
We are avid wearers of cowboy hats ourselves. And we can confirm that the distressing matched the natural wear and tear of a well-loved cowboy hat.
An Ode to Americana Culture and Style
A side profile of J.Lo’s distressed cowboy hat and thigh-high slit at the Met Gala (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue).
J.Lo and her army of stylists and designers thought out this look with painstaking attention to detail. On top, the perfectly not-pinched crown of her distressed women’s leather hat. On bottom, her metallic silver DSW platform heels.
In between? The dress itself took 15 artisans over 12 days to make.
And who but Ralph Lauren should be commissioned to make it? It's a name as synonymous with quintessential American fashion designer as the cowboy is with old western films.
The designer-celeb duo showed us that western wear and high fashion can, in fact, be synonymous. And they exceeded all expectations and preconceived notions about how to wear a cowboy hat.
Beyond Leather Cowboy Hats
J.Lo’s updo styled by Lorenzo Martin for Wella Professionals for the Met Gala (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images).
Lopez’ inspiration went beyond the rugged vision of a Wild Wild West cowboy - and humans. The dramatic ponytail that hairstylist Lorenzo Martin for Wella Professionals was meant to emulate the tail of a horse.
Few images evoke the feeling of unbridled freedom like the free-flowing tail and mane of a horse running across an open plain. The symbolism of a horse is a brilliant way to make a statement about American freedom without taking political sides.
An important animal in the folklore and history of many cultures, the horse has become a universal symbol of freedom without restraint.
But the story of horses and humans in America is an old one – older than the country itself. Native Americans revered the wild creatures and have been called “The People of the Horse.” Rather than thinking of themselves as owners of these beautiful animals, they saw themselves as being indebted and even belonging to the horses.
Stunning Silver Jewelry Completes the Look
With her wild updo, Lopez paid homage to the roots of our country and to those to which the land has always belonged.
The back of J.Lo’s iconic cowboy hat and gown ensemble (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue).
But it doesn’t stop there.
J.Lo’s untamed Met look was full of beautifully detailed accessories for us to discover and enjoy. To start, she wore a leather woven belt slung tight and low across her hips. It was reminiscent of the wide belts gunslingers, cowboys, and ranchers wore - with a matching arm cuff and dramatic leather choker to boot.
J.Lo wore hammered silver jewelry and tooled leather accessories with her cowboy hat and gown (Photo by Angela WEISS / AFP).
And then there’s the hammered silver jewelry. She wore a large pinky ring, bracelet, large circular necklace, and big hoop earrings, balancing the leather accessories in her ensemble.
Though they were most known for their bead work, this style of metalwork in the US can also be traced to Native Americans. Metal jewelry was made and worn to show individuality, social standing, and inclusion to certain social groups. Though the skilled metalsmith may not be as common, wearing handmade jewelry as a fashion statement still is.
And that bold expression of individuality captures the American spirit that we were expecting to see at the Met Gala.
An Extra Dose of Nostalgia
J.Lo’s western-inspired outfit wasn’t the only thing that stoked nostalgia in us all. Her chosen arm candy of the night, beau Ben Affleck, had us all reeling.
As hot girl summer comes to an end and cuffing season sets in we’ve been having intrusive thoughts about old flames. Now, this steamy, very public, mask-clad kiss of the newly reunited It-couple is about to push us over the edge.
If pop royalty can’t resist the urge, how could you?
Just as a refresher on their relationship timeline: Jenny from the Block and Ben Affleck originally started dating and got engaged in 2002. But the famous engagement came to an end two years later and the two spent nearly two decades apart.
Until now. The couple has been giving us plenty of PDA, and we’re here for it.
The Hat Stops Here
Jennifer Lopez served us up a delicious Met Gala look. And she used the likes of cowboy Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley as unlikely style inspiration. One that seems like it’d be just as perfect on the red carpet as it would on the wind-blown streets of the Wild West. Perhaps in glitzy cabaret?
Regardless, this custom gown and women’s leather cowboy hat ensemble by Ralph Lauren stirs something within us.
There’s no doubt that it’s a symbol of patriotism and pride.
But this look - and J.Lo’s arm candy - does leave us with two other questions:
“Should I text my ex?”
“Do I need to buy a women’s leather cowboy hat?”
And honestly, the answer to only one of these questions is yes (hint: the second one). So don’t be shy - get yourself the latest It accessory and start traipsing around town with reckless abandon, new/old flame optional.