Experts reveal what the best-dressed country music acts are (should be) wearing

Friday, March 28, 2014, Vol. 38, No. 13
By Brad Schmitt

Members of Rascal Flatts show off their signature look. Designer John Murphy, right, has been their designer for six years.  

-- Submitted

About 15 years ago, the guys in country group Lonestar walked a red carpet in shiny suits, proudly declaring to reporters that they’d just bought those suits at a chain store called Italian Connection, in the Hickory Hollow Mall.

My, how times have changed.

Even new acts on smaller labels have stylists, and no red carpet clothes ever come from a mall – unless it’s Nordstrom in The Mall at Green Hills.

So, in honor of Nashville Fashion Week, how can we average Joe guys get that country star look? After all, flannel shirt, Wranglers and old boots just ain’t cuttin’ it anymore.

We’ve gathered a team of experts to find out how to look more like the Keith Urbans and Rascal Flatts of this world. Heck, one of them even dresses Rascal Flatts.

The team:

  • John Murphy, a stylist who has dressed Rascal Flatts for six years, Jason Aldean and Easton Corbin for four years.
  • Olia Zavozina, who has dressed Rodney Atkins, Rascal Flatts and newcomer Chase Rice for certain red carpet events, though she specialized in wedding gowns and has a shop in Edgehill Village.
  • Susie Parsons, sales consultant at Levy’s men’s store in Green Hills.
  • Amanda Schwartz, personal stylist, Nordstrom in Green Hills.

Here’s what they say:

Start with the right uniform

“Fashionable blazers with trendy button downs and fabulous denim,” Schwartz says, echoing the opinion of others on the expert panels.

This is the new country star outfit. Hat and boots are optional.

Shop at the right stores

Target and Men’s Warehouse ain’t gonna cut it, guys. Whip out the credit cards and head to:

The Label Nashville (owned by country singer Gary Allan)

2222 12th Ave. S.


imogene + willie

2601 12th Ave. S.


Two Old Hippies

401 12the Ave. S.



3900 Hillsboro Pike



The Mall at Green Hills

2130 Abbott Martin Road


All our experts agree that imogene + willie is the place to start for jeans. “Everybody loves imogene + willie,” Murphy says.

And Levy’s might seem like a conservative kinda place, but the stylists agree that they have great shirts and cool suits. Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn was poking around there just a couple of weeks ago, and Kenny Chesney, Florida Georgia Line, Lee Brice and other country star dudes have shopped there recently.

Nordstrom has the best, hippest, most varied selection of men’s clothes by far of Nashville’s department stores, the experts say.

“I’m glad they opened a couple of years ago,” Zavozina says.

Spend some money and buy the right jeans with the right – snug but not tight fit

Nothing worse that loose jeans, our experts say. Makes dude look big and sloppy instead of the sleek hunks we are.

“Look for Western style pockets,” Zavozina says. “That way, the bottom looks nice and tight.”

Parsons, of Levy’s, also says jeans shouldn’t be too tight.

“If something’s too tight, there are stretch marks in the crotch or in the back,” she says. “It’s something fitted right, it’s a nice straight silhouette.

“That’s the fun part, getting the right fit,” Parsons says.

For you or them?

“Hopefully both,” she says, laughing.

Those “right” jeans cost money, usually $175 to $500 a pair. Popular brand names for the stars: AG, Agave, Fidelity or Zegna.

Go to a tailor!

Our experts agree that the right fit might be the most important thing that separates the look of a star from the everyday dude.

“The fit is extremely important,” Zavozina says.

Murphy goes so far as to say that some guys should take all their favorite clothes to a tailor instead of buying anything new.

“A little alteration can really change things,” he says.

“It’s confidence boosting. Even if you haven’t lost weight, you just feel good.”

That dress shirt you wear untucked? It’s probably too long because those shirts are made to be tucked in and it needs to stretch over your tush so you sit on it and keep straight lines.

But untucked, the hem should only fall to about halfway down the zipper.

Are your jeans even a little too long? That makes you look a lot shorter if you have denim piled up at the bottom.

For bigger guys, relaxed fit jeans makes that guy look rounder. Get ’em altered.

“A good fit fits you through the hips and thighs most of all,” Murphy says.

“One of the things that make people look like a star is the fit of the clothes.”