20 Red Carpet Photos of Your Favorite Country Music Stars You Won’t Believe Are 20 Years Old
Take a waltz down history's twangiest memory lane.
Whether you had “Friends in Low Places,” like Garth Brooks, or you were saying “Goodbye Earl,” with the Dixie Chicks, it’s safe to say the 1990s were pivotal years for country music. Since the genre started to infuse pop influences at the start of the millennium (exhibit A: original Taylor Swift), country fans claim the ’90s were the last real decade of traditional country music.
From sequined blazers to giant belt buckles to mustard yellow everything, country music stars 20 years ago wore some truly over-the-top digs. Don’t believe us? Just scroll on to see the biggest country music stars strolling the red carpet in the 1990s. Enjoy the waltz down history’s twangiest memory lane!
Decked out in choker necklaces, safety pin accessories, and chunky highlights, the Dixie Chicks donned full ’90s fashion when they brought home their first two Grammy Awards in 1999—one for Best Country Album and the other for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group.
Billy Ray Cyrus
The mullet. The shoulder pads. The jeans. Oh, Billy Ray Cyrus. The singer was stealing hearts in the ’90s with his smash hit, “Achy Breaky Heart,” which he won an American Music Award (AMA) for in 1993 (pictured here). And, while we wouldn’t mind his return to country music, we’re going to have to ask Billy Ray to keep the mullet where it belongs: in photos from the ’90s.
Before Reba McEntire played a hard-working, single mother on one of America’s most beloved sitcoms, she was one of the most beloved country music stars of the ’90s. And while her simple black dress wouldn’t be out of place on any red carpet today, those pencil-thin eyebrows she sported at an American Film Institute event in 1999 are another story.
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
There may be no celebrity couple more loved in the country world than Tim McGraw and Faith Hill; after all, they met in Nashville, and he asked her to marry him in a dressing room trailer at a country music festival. They’ve been married for more than 20 years now, but here’s a glimpse back at the couple early on as they rocked the Academy of Country Music Awards (ACM) red carpet together in 1999.
The queen of country music showed no signs of slowing down in the 1990s—and her look didn’t either. Keeping with her iconic higher-the-hair-the-closer-to-God look, Dolly Parton donned the iconic feathered bangs of the ’90s and blue eyeshadow as she walked away from crowds in Los Angeles.
Hank Williams Jr.
In the early ’90s, Hank Williams Jr., better known by his nickname Bocephus, was coming off a high of being named ACM’s Entertainer of the Year for three years in a row (in 1987, ’88, and ’89). When you earn those kind of accolades, it’s clear you also earn the right to show up in a sequined suit, statement belt, and Tom Cruise-esque aviators anywhere you go.
Garth Brooks was the poster boy for country music in the ’90s—and then there was his ’90s rock alter-ego, Chris Gaines. Thankfully, we saw more of Brooks—pictured here around 1990 in his classic King Ropes Trucker Cap and Steelers T-shirt—rather than Gaines.
Marie Osmond found great success as a solo country artist in the 1970s and ’80s. And while Osmond didn’t really give us any chart-topping hits in the ’90s, she did, at least, give us full “Rachel” vibes with this wispy hairstyle in 2000.
Brooks & Dunn
Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn—better known as Brooks & Dunn—brought their honky-tonk style to country music in the early ’90s, along with some, um, interesting fashion choices. The dad jeans and statement belts—and just a little bit of chest hair peaking out—is a look that seems squarely designed for eliciting maximum ’90s nostalgia.
Even though Bonnie Raitt had been churning out hits since the ’70s, her years in the ’90s were some of her strongest: She won nine of her 10 Grammy awards in that decade alone. Toning down the loudness of the ’80s, Raitt’s look in the 1990s was more classic, and featured soft makeup and rhinestone studded earrings, as you can see from this 1995 photo.
In the early ’90s, Clint Black was just a newcomer in the world of country music, but by 1999 he was busy accepting his first Grammy for Best Country Collaboration—in an era-defyingly black T-shirt and less classic light wash jeans.
Shania Twain and Pat Boone
The day she won Best Female Country Artist at the AMAs in 1997, country superstar Shania Twain was pictured on the red carpet beside controversial singer Pat Boone. Boone was decked in leather and spikes to promote his new album In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy, while Twain was sporting a classic ’90s leather top complete with metallic lipstick.
With the rise of new stars like Brooks and Black, Randy Travis’ country dominance took a hit at the end of the millennium as he shifted his focus towards acting. But his fashion at the time was nothing short of classic ’90s, as evidenced by this neon yellow silk button-down shirt he sported in 1991.
Crimped hair and glittered jeans… Can any combo be more ’90s? LeAnn Rimes only hit the country scene in 1996, but she hit it hard with four albums before the turn of the century. Here she is at the 1999 Billboard Music Awards, wearing vivid pink eyeshadow and metallic nail polish.
Trace Adkins’ music career was just getting started as he accepted the ACM Top New Male Vocalist award in 1997—and his fashion was definitely born of the decade. The mustard-yellow waistcoat (under a billowing sail of a suit jacket, no less) was one thing; the thin ‘stache is another, entirely.
Lee Ann Womack
Before her “I Hope You Dance” days, Lee Ann Womack sported the ultimate ’90s look. Her ensemble—a halter top, wispy bangs, thin eyebrows, and glittery makeup—is approximately one butterfly clip away from instantly time-traveling onlookers back to the decade.
You’d be forgiven for wondering if all the male country artists of the ’90s shared the same stylist. When Alan Jackson took home the Billboard Music Award for No. 1 Country Single for “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” in 1991, he did it in true ’90s fashion. But the deeply ridiculous jukebox novelty tie really makes this look.
Though she only made her debut in 1992, Martina McBride released six studio albums before the 1990s wrapped up. And while her toned-down ensemble at the 1996 ACM Awards wouldn’t look out of place today, its her pixie chop that gives the era all away.
In 1991, Ronnie Milsap was rocking bedazzled glasses, mustard yellow, and a metal mane. And while Milsap was legendary to country music in the ’70s and ’80s, the downfall of his country music career came in the mid-’90s. But that didn’t do anything to ding his reputation as one of the most beloved and successful country music acts of all time.
If the sparkly rhinestones on Dwight Yoakam’s jacket at the 19997 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards don’t immediately give away the decade of this ensemble, we don’t know what will. However, when country music god Johnny Cash calls you his favorite country star, you’re allowed to wear whatever you want—whenever you want to. And for more country blasts from the past, here’s The Biggest Country Song the Year You Were Born.
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