Over here at The George Jones, we are big fans of country music (obviously!) but we are also big believers in all the fandango that goes with this root of Americana. Through the years, artists have worn what some consider to be the good the bad and the ugly.
The Best and Worst Country Fashion Trends in History
Inspired by attire worn by Native American tribes and early pioneers, western wear makers incorporated fringe into their designs. Western screen stars Roy Rogers and Dale Evans helped popularize the look for the Hollywood set in the 1950s
In the early days of country music, most singers opted for a more casual style to relate to the common man and woman. The Carter Family wore simple dresses and suits. Kitty Wells wore gingham dresses favored by 1950s homemakers. Then Nudie Cohn came along. Inspired by design pioneers Nathan Turk and Rodeo Ben, the Russian-born Cohn revolutionized country music fashion with his elaborate Nudie Suits. Adorned with rhinestones and extravagant embroidery, the suits were flashy enough to make a singer stand out from a mile away.
Country artists couldn’t get enough. Porter Wagoner, Hank Williams and countless other stars clamored for Nudie’s eye-catching designs.
A wise woman once said “the higher the hair, the closer to God.” Nowhere does that statement ring more true than in the world of country music. Dolly Parton, Bobbie Gentry, Barbara Mandrell, Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn all rocked a pile of hair held upright with only Aquanet and a prayer.
Stars like The Judds and Reba McEntire helped carry the big hair trend into the 90s.
From George Strait’s Wranglers to Dwight’s 517 Levi’s, denim has played a crucial role in country fashion.
Rhinestones and Sequins
Even those not wearing Nudie suits like to sparkle and shine. Loretta Lynn performs nearly all her shows in a sequined ballgown while Kacey Musgraves opts for a retro cowgirl pinup look.
The Bad and the Ugly
In 2013, at the height of the bro-country phenomenon, wallet chains became synonymous with the hyper masculine country scene. Artists like Brantley Gilbert, Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean all wore the accessory. Wallet chains brought up a lot of questions. Namely, where do theses guys think their wallets are going to go? The chains became the subject of memes and diatribes against bro-country and were usually paired with some gaudy t-shirts and jeans with rhinestones on the back pockets.
As the popularity of the sub-genre waned, up and coming singers adopted a more metro-sexual style –“metro-bro,” if you will. The New York Times even dubbed 2017 the year of the country music gentleman. Thankfully, tailored suits are a much more aesthetically pleasing style than wallet chains and rhinestone jeans.
Remember when 80% of male country stars had mullets? To be fair, this wasn’t just a country trend. By the late 1980s, the mullet had swept the nation. The business-in-front, party-in-back hairstyle was sported by professional wrestlers, rockers and, yes, the country king of the power mullet: Billy Ray Cyrus. Alan Jackson, Joe Diffie, Travis Tritt and Marty Stuart were all known for proudly wearing the mullet. You can’t blame country artists for buying into the now much maligned trend. Even Blake Shelton, People magazine’s reigning Sexiest Man Alive, was guilty of this look in the early aughts.
Honestly, no matter what the trend – we enjoy all that our entertainers do to inspire all of our senses . . .but we couldn’t let it go without saying . .history and the artistic paths it takes us on are sometimes surprising. Always fun!
George Jones was a man who enjoyed a flair for fashion and definitely kept in there and many times ahead of the pack with his Nudie’s Suits and bolo ties. We wouldn’t change one bit of what.
For more on Nudie’s Suit click our blog HERE
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