Nudie Suits: Flashy Rodeo Fashion Of Rock And Country Stars

By | August 13, 2019

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Left: Country-rocker Gram Parsons in his famous custom Nudie Suit circa 1969. Right: Robert Redford in the Nudie suit he wore in 'The Electric Horseman,' (1979). Sources: Photo by Jim McCrary/Redferns; IMDB

Few looks are as famous as the Nudie suit -- the embroidered, rhinestone-drenched getups worn by stars of country and rock music for decades. Gram Parsons, Jimmy Page, Elton John, and ZZ Top were all noted Nudie-wearers of the '60s and '70s, although the style first showed up on classic entertainers like Hank Williams, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton and George Jones. The always-outrageous style of the jackets and trousers designed by the late Nudie Cohn (he also did boots, shirts and hats) will probably never go away -- even though Cohn died in 1984, Nudie-inspired designs can be spotted on 21st-century artists from Wilco to Post Malone.

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Left: An undated publicity photo of Hank Williams in his Nudie suit. Right: Elton John on the picture sleeve of his 'Rocket Man' single, 1972. Sources: Pinterest,

Nudie Cohn attained a cultlike following among musicians of the '50s, '60s and '70s -- from Keith Richards' ruby-encrusted boots to the Elvis Presley’s $10,000 gold lamé tuxedo, Nudie Cohn styled superstars with more flair than Siegfried and Roy. If entertainers wanted their outfits to pop, there was only one man to see.

Nudie’s need to stand out fit perfectly with country and rock 'n roll, “My impression of an entertainer is, he should wear a flashy outfit to be fair to the public," Cohn told Rolling Stone. "He shouldn’t be wearing a sport coat like the people in the audience. The costume is the first impression and it should be flashy.” From G-string manufacturer to tailoring the all-time talents, Nudie Cohn’s story was as eccentric as his name.