Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors fashioned these cowboy boots for singer Jim Reeves in the 1950s.

Nudie Suits
and Boots

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.

Cindy Walker

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.

Cindy Walker, c. 1950

Tex Williams

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.

Tex Williams performing “Song of the Rodeo” in the 1958 Hollywood film Born Reckless.

Tex Williams performing “Song of the Rodeo” in the 1958 Hollywood film Born Reckless.

Hank Thompson

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).

Wanda Jackson and Hank Thompson, 1955

Hank Garland

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.”

Hank Garland, c. 1950

Hank Williams

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.

Hank Williams, c. 1952

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.

Little Jimmy Dickens, early 1950s, wearing the first Nudie suit he purchased

Porter Wagoner

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

Porter Wagoner and his Wagonmasters on the set of his syndicated TV show, mid-1960s. From left: Don Warden, Mac Magaha, Wagoner, Norma Jean, George McCormick, and Buck Trent. Photo by Walden S. Fabry

Johnny Cash

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.

From left: Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis on CBS-TV’s Johnny Cash Christmas Special, 1977.

Don Gibson

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.”

Don Gibson

Merle Haggard

Early in his career, Merle Haggard wore this three-piece Nudie suit, embellished with appliqués and rhinestones.

Merle Haggard and his band, the Strangers, c. 1966. Standing left to right: Eddie Burris, Fuzzy Owen, Jerry Ward, George French, and Roy Nichols. Seated: Haggard and Bonnie Owens, his wife and singing and songwriting partner.

Emmylou Harris

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.

Emmylou Harris

Charley Pride

Charley Pride described this Western-tailored jacket and pants, embellished with contrasting piping, as “my first Nudie suit.”

Charley Pride

Lefty Frizzell

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.”

Detail of Jimmy Newman's Nudie Suit - Orange alligator

Rex Allen

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.

Rex Allen

Buddy Durham

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.

T. Texas Tyler at the first annual Jimmie Rodgers Memorial Festival, Meridian, Mississippi, May 26, 1953.

Gene Watson

Texas honky-tonk singer Gene Watson wore this Nudie suit, with embroidered musical notes and his initials on the back, in the 1970s.

Gene Watson, 1977

Freddie Hart

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.”

Freddie Hart, c. 1956

Marty Robbins

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

Marty Robbins c. 1980. Photo by Andy Hanson

Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors designed this suede and leather jacket for Marty Robbins in the mid-1960s. Courtesy of Marty Robbins Enterprises

Connie Smith and Marty Robbins on the set of his TV series, The Drifter, c. 1965.

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.

The Willis Brothers harmonizing at the Grand Ole Opry at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, c. 1960. From left: Skeeter, Guy, and Vic Willis. Photo by Elmer Williams

Johnny Dollar

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

Lefty Frizzell performed in rhinestone-enhanced Nudie suits well into the 1960s.

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