A new generation of country musicians — mostly young and female — is changing the look of fashion in Music City with clothing lines designed with fans in mind.
Fashion has tended to be exaggerated and designed for the screen or the stage. Consider Dolly Parton's body-hugging denim and rhinestones, Loretta Lynn's sparkly ball gowns, or Shania Twain's midriff-bearing leopard outfit.
"I think country artists, mainly women, have always really dressed well," said Karen Fairchild of the Grammy-winning vocal group Little Big Town. "It's been over-the-top and full of fabulous sequins and rhinestones, but it also was attractive and endearing. And that's why if you came to the Grand Ole Opry, you didn't want to see Dolly walk out in something that wasn't sparkly. You want her to be Dolly."
But Fairchild and others are leading a new wave of fashion style. The Fair Child collection, launched this year at select Macy's stores and online, reflects her love of high fashion, vintage clothes and glamour, but is affordable and tailored to be approachable.
Fairchild said she wanted many of her pieces to be easily paired with denim jeans and T-shirts, which she says is her fashion uniform.
"I feel like every girl likes to feel glamorous," she said. "With Fair Child, we tried to do that at a really affordable price. We were able to do that with Macy's and give girls strong, iconic pieces that feel a little glamorous but that they could wear in an everyday situation."
The collection includes cocktail dresses, faux leather, faux fur jackets and vests, metallic leggings, and sheer and lacy tops. Prices start at under $50.
One standout piece is a burgundy faux fur jacket. "People get intimidated," Fairchild said. "They think, 'Where am I going to wear this fur?' and I am like, 'Wear it to the grocery store. Come on!'"
Breakout country duo Maddie & Tae were tapped by Bloomingdale's to help inspire a new AQUA capsule collection of clothing that includes embroidered bomber jackets, sequined dresses with plunging necklines and velvet slip dresses. Prices range from $38 to $498.
"I don't think Maddie and I were really thinking about anything other than music until Bloomingdale's came along, which just seemed to fit perfectly," said Tae Dye.
The singers, who went to their first fashion shows during New York Fashion Week this year, said the collection incorporates a bit of both of their styles.
"Tae normally goes with a romantic look and I normally go for an edgier look and that kind of fits our personalities, too," said Maddie Marlow.
Known for their breakout hit, "Girl In a Country Song," the duo said they wanted fans to be bold and feel good at the same time.
"The goal with this line was just to make a whole bunch of different pieces that are in different price ranges so there is a piece for everyone," said Marlow. "We love high-end clothing, but we also love a bargain. We tried to make it accessible for everyone."