Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors fashioned these cowboy boots for singer Jim Reeves in the 1950s.
The Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum houses a substantial collection of stage wear designed by Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors, including costumes and accessories worn by some of country music’s most celebrated artists.
Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors made this wool gabardine laced-front shirt and split skirt—embellished with contrasting piping, smile pockets with arrowhead stitching, and shotgun cuffs with enamel snaps—for Country Music Hall of Fame member Cindy Walker in the early 1950s. One of country music’s first female professional songwriters, Walker penned standards such as “You Don’t Know Me,” recorded by Eddy Arnold and Ray Charles.
Embellished with leather appliqués and rhinestones, this is one of many Nudie suits designed for singer Tex Williams, best known for his 1947 chart-topping recording of Merle Travis’s “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette).” In the late 1940s, Williams enabled Nudie Cohn to launch his Western-wear business by giving him a cash advance to buy a sewing machine and fabric to make suits for Tex and his eight-piece band.
Texas-born singer, songwriter, and bandleader Hank Thompson wore this Nudie leather jacket—with metallic yoke, pocket flaps, and rhinestone-studded fringe—and this rhinestone-accented neck scarf in the 1950s. Thompson’s long string of hits included “Humpty Dumpty Heart” (1948) and “The Wild Side of Life” (1953).
When he was nineteen, in 1949, guitar prodigy Hank Garland turned heads with his instrumental showcase, “Sugarfoot Rag.” His signature tune inspired Nudie Cohn to make Garland this wool gabardine stage costume, with contrasting bib-front, enamel snaps, shotgun cuffs, piping, and belt loops. Garland, who became one of Nashville’s renowed A-team of versatile studio musicians, played on countless hits, including Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces” and Elvis Presley’s “Little Sister.”
Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors designed Hank Williams’s most famous suit, embellished with appliqués of musical notes and a guitar, and these hand-tooled boots with his initials on the shafts. A hand-painted Ben Pulitzer silk tie and Red Myrick shirt completed the ensemble. Courtesy of Hank Williams Jr.
Little Jimmy Dickens
In the early 1950s, Little Jimmy Dickens became the first Grand Ole Opry star to perform in Nudie suits. His collection of Nudie suits included this ensemble, decorated with rhinestones and embroidered guitars and musical notes.
Embellished with rhinestones, beads, and embroidered Conestoga wagons, Winchester rifles, wagon wheels, and desert scenery, this Nudie suit was designed for Porter Wagoner in the 1960s.
Courtesy of Debra Jean Loy
While he was head tailor at Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors, Manuel Cuevas designed this shirt with embroidered stars and military brass buttons for Johnny Cash.
Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors fashioned this suit jacket, draped with embroidered guitars and hundreds of rhinestones, for singer and songwriter Don Gibson, who penned country classics “Sweet Dreams,” “Oh Lonesome Me,” and “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”
Early in his career, Merle Haggard wore this three-piece Nudie suit, embellished with appliqués and rhinestones.
Emmylou Harris purchased this cowgirl outfit at Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors in the early 1970s, when she was on tour with Gram Parsons. It was originally designed for actress Gale Davis, and when Harris expressed interest, Cohn threw in a “cup of rhinestones” for free.
Charley Pride described this Western-tailored jacket and pants, embellished with contrasting piping, as “my first Nudie suit.”
Designed for Lefty Frizzell in the 1950s, this Nudie ensemble is embellished with leather fringe and rhinestones in the shape of guitars and musical notes. The suit features a unique guitar-shaped yoke, front and back.
Jimmy C. Newman
Cajun singer and songwriter Jimmy C. Newman’s colorful wardrobe included this swamp-themed Nudie suit, designed to commemorate his 1962 country hit “Alligator Man.”
Singing cowboy movie star Rex Allen owned hundreds of items of clothing from Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors, including this blue lamé stage costume embellished with rhinestones and embroidered with designs depicting a Hollywood version of Native American culture.
Fiddle player Buddy Durham wore this Nudie suit, embellished with rhinestones and metallic appliqués.
T. Texas Tyler
Nudie Cohn designed this Texas-themed jacket for T. Texas Tyler in the early 1950s.
Texas honky-tonk singer Gene Watson wore this Nudie suit, with embroidered musical notes and his initials on the back, in the 1970s.
Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors designed this ensemble, with heart-shaped bib-front, for California-based singer and songwriter Freddie Hart in the 1950s. Hart was best known for a string of #1 hits in the early 1970s, including “Easy Loving.”
A natural showman, Marty Robbins entertained in a variety of outfits from Nudie’s, including this flamboyant ensemble with rhinestones and embroidered hummingbirds and desert flowers. Courtesy of Marty Robbins Enterprises
Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors designed this suede and leather jacket for Marty Robbins in the mid-1960s. Courtesy of Marty Robbins Enterprises
The Willis Brothers
Best known for their 1964 country hit “Give Me Forty Acres (To Turn this Rig Around),” the Willis Brothers trio often performed in matching Nudie suits. This ensemble, with contrasting piping, enamel snaps, and rhinestones, was worn by accordion player Vic Willis.
Embellished with rhinestone-accented embroidery portraying Christ’s journey to the Crucifixion, this pictorial Nudie suit was made for country and rockabilly singer and producer Johnny Dollar in the early 1970s.
Lefty Frizzell, “If You’ve Got the Money (I’ve Got the Time),” 1965
Lefty Frizzell performed in rhinestone-enhanced Nudie suits well into the 1960s.