Getting Cozy with Madi McCall Dunbar | Written by Morgan Edwards for Milton Menasco
To know her is to love her, and gosh do we adore her. We asked Madi McCall Dunbar, a New Mexico native turned Texas cattle rancher wife (shoutout to Dunbar Brothers Beef Company), marketing whiz and western style content creator, to show us the ins and outs of embracing the ‘cozy cowgirl’ lifestyle in fashion and the home, and her predictions for cozy trends in 2023 and beyond.
Madi McCall Dunbar, photographed by Elizabeth Hay, December 2022.
MM: You've coined the term 'Comfy Cowgal,' so how do you define it?
MMD: I started Comfy Cowgal as a way to express my own personal style, which is more street style western. I love feeling put together and chic, but I also want to be comfortable and feel like I can be productive and active. Comfy Cowgal gives people permission to wear sweats and sneakers with let's say, a blazer, or a really cozy maxi dress with tall boots, and a fun cozy cardigan or jean jacket. I love to mix opposing styles; things you normally wouldn't see together that give a cozy and effortless feel. Jeans can totally be dressed up for a night out or even the right event, but can also be great for lounging around at home with a white tee. It's all about versatility.
MM: When did you first start using the phrase?
MMD: I would get numerous comments from friends or followers about how I always made my outfits look effortless yet put together. I would dress up a pair of sweats or more oversized clothing for nights out. Eventually I got so many positive comments that I texted a friend one day and said "Okay, what do we think about the phrase 'comfy cowgal'?" She loved it and I made a post using it that very day. It took off, and now the hashtag is used widely among the western fashion industry. I love that it gives women who wear western fashion a reason to post not only an outfit they wore on a night out with the girls but also that cute choring outfit they wore to feed one morning. So much of western fashion is centered around sequins and rhinestones or crazy prints, and while that all has its place for sure, that's not what people on average are wearing on a daily basis. I wanted to create a space where more realistic outfits could exist. I also wanted women to see that you can add all the fun turquoise, prints and even sequins if that's your jam, in a more subtle, every day way.
MM: The key elements to a Comfy Cowgal look?
MMD: It's my personal opinion that you can be cute and put together with little effort, it just takes the right pieces in your closet. Basics mixed with a little spunk is what I shoot for. My closet consists of a lot of "go to" pieces like solid oversized tees, jeans in multiple washes and lots and lots of blazers. I can wear the tees with the jeans OR I can wear them alone with a pair of knee high boots. If I want to feel more chic or put together I'll add a blazer. Same goes with the jeans; I can wear them with a blazer and a simple tank top for a chic night on the town look or take the blazer away, add some sneakers and I have a cute errand outfit. This is just one example of how even just three different pieces of clothing can be extremely versatile. If you're into more color, then go for a fun graphic tee instead of a solid one, or do a fun patterned cardigan instead of a blazer. Comfy Cowgal is all about function and allowing your closet to essentially put the outfit together for you.”
MM: What are you forecasting for this trend into 2023 and ’24?
MMD: “The 70's feel is here to stay in the western fashion world. I think it always will, which I love. The 70's was all about expressing yourself and wearing what you felt most yourself in, so I feel like that's also a great representation of the western world. When attending WESA earlier this year, I saw lots of crocheted pieces; from vests, to jackets, to tops. I also saw a ton of jewel toned colors; deep purples, deep greens and royal blues. Neutrals will still have their place but in more "colorful" tones like pastel blue, light pink and sage green. I also saw a lot of 80's throwback patterns which I'm personally not too sure about but something I can get behind is the more 80's grunge style making its way back into the fashion world. There will be lots of black leather, studding and moto jackets.”
MM: What makes for a Comfy Cowgal home?
MMD: I love a good cozy home. Being from New Mexico originally I am naturally drawn to earth tones and I feel they immediately make a space feel more welcoming and homey. Earth tones tend to make people feel more calm and comfortable which is how I want people to feel when they enter our home. In true western tradition, rustic wood is something I look for when creating a "Comfy Cowgal" space. It adds a western feel but still feels timeless. White tones are something I gravitate towards as well. We are currently renovating our new ranch home and 98% of the time when the contractor asked what color I wanted something painted I told him white. We used the shade Simply White by Benjamin Moore for those inquiring. My husband gives me a hard time but I think having a white or neutral base leaves so much room for having more fun and playing up other things like bedding, pillows, artwork etc. Much like a Comfy Cowgal closet, when you keep your base simple there's room to mix and match as time goes on.