From the beginning, the country music uniform has telegraphed the genre’s evolution. Gene Autry’s 1930s cowboy get-up spoke to country’s down-to-earth roots. Dandier silhouettes worn by Hank Williams in the ’50s developed in tandem with The Nashville Sound, followed by the glitzed-out ’60s and ’70s outfits that channeled Dolly Parton camp. Garth Brooks’ Wranglers-and-Ropers approach signified a return to down-home traditionalism in the ’90s. So with country-pop crossovers becoming a defining trend of 2018, what has become of Music City’s newest cowboys?
They’ve gone mainstream.
The red carpet at the Country Music Association Awards in November echoed the adventurous textures and contemporary shapes that have flooded broader industry awards shows. Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard was decked out in Versace with punk-leaning chain metal details. Ryan Hurd rocked gold Dolce & Gabbana, accessorized with a barely visible Ofira Schwartz necklace. Walker Hayes was in prep-veering plaid, and Thomas Rhett in Dsquared.