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If you’ve been reaching for cowboy boots and hats lately, you’re not alone. Welcome back yellowstone and spin-off debuts such as 1923 and 1883, designers and consumers were inspired to buy functional, well-tailored clothing with a Western flair. Among the list of shows that have made a splash is the latest Showtime miniseries, George and Tammystarring Michael Shannon and Academy Award winner Jessica Chastain as country legends George Jones and Tammy Wynette.
Watch George and Tammy on Showtime
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As an intimate portrait of Jones and Wynette’s life and love, the series also serves as an interrogation of some of their most iconic style statements. Below, costume designer Mitchell Travers shares his top four decades of fashion inspiration and how he chose to honor the work of these country music icons.
Step back in time with vintage country western style
Creating screen and stage styles for Chastain and Shannon was not an easy task, given the still loyal fans of the two historical singers portrayed by the actors. “Creating the costumes for this required a huge amount of research,” Travers says. “Every time you work with an embedded fan base, it’s very important that you understand them and respect what came before you.” This research included going through every recorded interview he could find with the duo, watching a lot of documentaries on ’60s country music culture, and interviewing the stylists and tailors who dressed Jones and Wynette. Travers even did more in-depth research by talking to Georgette Jones, the daughter of the celebrity couple.
The result is a careful study of what Jones and Wynette wore on stage and in intimate moments, what their fans wore at their concerts, and the role of color and style in mythmaking. Travers’ costumes are not just historical entertainment, but also a lesson in how sportswear can be incorporated into even the simplest of everyday outfits. “There’s a fearlessness in country music that I think we could learn from,” Travers says. “Rock ‘n’ roll is very popular because it has its own aesthetic, but I think country is an equal contender.”
Recreating the Iconic Looks of Tammy Wynette for a Modern Audience
Dressing up Jessica Chastain as the “Stand By Your Man” singer meant that Travers took a deep dive into Tammy Wynette’s wormhole while working on the project. It was important for the designer that he not just look at photos and videos, but really try to understand who Tammy Wynette is. in fact was. “I wanted to understand the different performances because listening to Tammy singing “Stand By Your Man” at different times in her life are different songs that take on completely different meanings for her. It was very important to know the song she recognized this song.
An equally complex understanding of Wynette’s sense of personal style was also very important to Travers. Plagued by health issues for much of her later life, the way Tammy Wynette chose her clothes often reflected a strained relationship with her own body. “It was very important to understand how she sees her body,” says Travers. “She was obviously a very sensual woman. She loved really simple styles that had a bit of shape and a bit of leather, but never anything spicy.”
On screen, Travers portrays Wynette in dynamic costumes, including monochromatic ensembles with glamorous textures for stage performances and classic silhouettes with timeless style for intimate scenes. Each costume serves as a kind of time capsule of time period trends, paired with Wynette’s own point of view, carefully styled and designed for visual impact.
Want to add some Tammy-inspired style to your wardrobe? Start with a classic ruffled dress like the Dokotoo Women’s Deep V-Neck Ruffle Mini Dress with Long Sleeve Floral Print. Available in women’s sizes XS to XXL with 35 feminine prints, this ruffled dress with a chic mini length and puffy puff sleeves will add drama to any look. Pair this dress with leather cowboy boots and sophisticated accessories for a classic, rustic look without being overbearing. Dress fans advise sizing up for added comfort and protection, but most of the over 18,000 reviews are overwhelmingly positive.
From $40 on Amazon
It’s hard to imagine country performance without fringe, but according to Travers, it’s a style element Wynette really relied on only in her later years. “One of the stylists I spoke to worked with Tammy a lot in the nineties and he told me that everything has a fringe. And it’s funny when you look at these pictures – she really was in her fringe era.”
If a fringe era seems right for you, check out Blank NYC’s Twist & Shout Vegan Shacket. This jacket is ready to move with dynamic fringe on the back that reaches both sleeves. Pair the jacket with jeans and sneakers for an effortless daytime look, or wear it with a bodycon dress for a stylish and modern evening look. Shop the Twist & Shout jacket in six colors for women in sizes XS to L.
$128 at Free People
For a twist on a classic blouse, try the Asos Reclaimed Vintage Inspired Crop Shirt with Embroidered Collar. Crafted in a cropped style with a large collar and puffed sleeves, pair this cute top with jeans and boots for a western look, or with a wide-waisted skirt for a more understated chic style. Buy shirts in women’s sizes from 0 to 12.
$46 at Asos
Bold and purposeful: the undisputed style of George Jones
Speaking to the image makers who dressed Jones, Travers discovered how eager the singer was to create his own idea of the country star’s style. One of Jones’ tailors recalled a time when the star walked into the store and ordered 30 identical suits in different fabrics and colors. “He was definitely a man who took great pride in his appearance,” Travers says. “The legendary story that Peanut Montgomery himself told me is that they had bags ready for George. Outfits that were matched in case they got on a plane or a bus.”
Yet the most interesting moment of entering Jones’ dynamic wardrobe was not when he was at the height of his fame, but when he was being challenged. “Who is George Jones without suits embroidered with rhinestones, matched by color,” Travers asks. “Or what does Tammy look like when she bakes a birthday cake for the kids?” Intimate moments that were hidden from the public are where Travers most enjoyed this project, resulting in costumes that contrast Jones’ classic and famous performance style with well-done backstage moments.
To infuse a bit of Jones’ rustic flair into your clothes, Travers suggests investing in trusted wardrobe stalwarts. “I think having really great, well-made staples can greatly expand your wardrobe options; basic items that you can carry with you, such as a coat, belt and boots. That’s what makes it really look like a signature.”
A secure pair of boots is the perfect place to start building your George Jones-inspired wardrobe. Try on The Cartwright by Tecovas, which features a classic cowboy boot design that will look just as elegant in decades to come. Available in soft calfskin, bovine or goatskin in sizes 7 to 15, these boots are not only attractive but also functional. Don’t be afraid to wear them as work boots or pair them with bootcut jeans for a classic rustic look. Boot aficionados praise their soft leather and short break-in period.
$275 to Tecowas
If there is one style lesson to be learned from George and Tammy, the fact is that guys can have just as much fun with their clothes as women can. Long Sleeve Western Cowboy Embroidered Men’s Button Down Shirt is a classic western embroidered shirt in 32 different colors and patterns for men in sizes S to XXL. With a shirt this bright, it’s best to soften the rest of the ensemble so that the embroidery really shines. Keep things simple with a pair of black jeans and boots. Don’t be afraid to throw a blazer on top so that the embellishments on the shirt are more of a highlight, rather than overloading the whole look.
From $30 on Amazon
We understand that a Western-style embroidered shirt can be too much of a commitment. But there are easier ways to add Jones’ classic style to your wardrobe, like wearing a well-tailored suit in an unconventional color. It may be a far cry from the Nudie suits that George Jones made famous in the 1960s, but we love the Paisley & Gray Slim Fit suit separating the coat from Men’s Wearhouse. The medium brown shade is a total throwback while still looking utterly modern. Pair the coat with matching Slim Fit Suit trousers to complete the ensemble. Choose a simple classic white oxford shirt or go for a bolder print to make a statement. Buy blazers in regular sizes for men from 36 to 56 and trousers for men with waist sizes from 29 to 52.
$190 at a menswear store $80 at a menswear store
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