A Beginner's Guide to Styling Country Shirts
Currently in the USA there are around 2 million farms nationwide. Within those farms, there are over 3 million people who make those farms work.
Farmers and ranchers are the backbone of America. While they're not known as the fashionistas of the world, they do have a unique culture. Of course, with a unique culture comes a style to match.
Country shirts have long been a matter of pride for rural folks. Whether they're t-shirts or the ornate western button-ups, these shirts turn heads. Why not add some oomph to these shirts with a fresh look?
If you're looking to elevate your country shirts, look no further!
Styles of Country Shirts
Country clothes are essential to the fabric of our nation. As farmers, we have a unique culture that we build on every day. Our clothes show off who we are and why we're proud of our history.
Because of this history, there is a rich history to the styles of shirts we wear. While looks are important, country wear keeps practicality in mind. Since we all value practicality, country shirts come in tons of different styles.
Western Button Ups
When most people think of cowboys, they're thinking of rodeos under the lights. They're thinking of lone rangers and outlaws at sunset on their horses. These visuals all have one thing in common: the western button-up.
These shirts are as country as they come. We're willing to bet that you've got at least one tucked away for occasions. These shirts also come with a rich history attached to them!
When the American west was still a series of trails on the new and majestic terrain, the western shirt was born. They arose out of necessity as the optimal shirt for the new conditions the settlers found. They came from a mix of Mexican vaqueros shirts and confederate uniforms.
The shirts needed to be durable, simple to make, and cheap as it was hard to get materials. They also needed to withstand long days on horseback. The shirts got perfected over time, eventually getting made with denim.
Western shirts would later go on to have ornate embroidery as decoration. These designs were usually inspired by native American artwork. Navajo artwork is still synonymous with the west and that shows on modern western shirts.
Nowadays, you see western shirts at cattle shows and rodeos all over North America. Even city folks have come to love the western-style button-up!
The t-shirt has been a symbol of the American working class for over a century. They were originally designed as breathable undershirts. This was so wearers could shed upper layers could as it got hot.
It wasn't until the 1950s that t-shirts were considered acceptable outerwear. Since then, the t-shirt has become the most popular kind of shirt. They're easy to make and have a lot of opportunities for creativity.
Of course, this makes them a popular item for lifestyle brands. Lifestyle brands build their identity upon a common interest or culture. They are one way in which people can show off their beliefs and identity through fashion.
Country lifestyle brands find their strength in the community they're a part of. They bring people together through their messages and stories. Lifestyle brands like YNOT Lifestyle make country clothes so you can show what you're made of.
These lifestyle brands make country shirts for modern farmers. While these shirts are great for working in, they're also perfect for going out on the town!
Developing a Capsule Wardrobe
Our personal style is so intricately connected to our upbringing and culture. Your wardrobe reflects everything from your world view to where you were raised. We think that's awesome!
Even though your wardrobe is unique and part of your identity, some pieces won't go with others. This is where the concept of a capsule wardrobe is crucial.
Capsule wardrobes are a trend in current fashion where all your pieces go together. The ability to match all your clothes together makes building outfits much easier. The best thing is that you'll find this lends itself perfectly to country style.
This method might be for you if you're not the most fashion-forward person. This is a great option if you want to look your best with minimal effort. It's also perfect if you have limited space for your clothes.
If this sounds good, here's how to do it!
Within the fashion world, a piece that goes with any occasion is a hero piece. This is a personal decision, but the main things are comfort, versatility, and quality. If it makes you look good and feel good, then you've got yourself a hero piece.
Hero pieces should be within your comfort zone but styled outside of it. Take a flannel shirt for example! You can work in it with no problem, but you can also tie it and pair it with daisy dukes for a cute festival look.
Don't be fooled, though. The fellas have hero pieces too. Again, a plaid shirt has the versatility to be everything from a church shirt to a leisure shirt!
A Comfortable Mix
Within a capsule wardrobe, you'll want to have everything. While shirts can be dressed up or down, for the most part, your bottoms will need some curating.
Fashion experts suggest having two pairs of dress pants and two pairs of jeans for both men and women. For ladies, you'll also want to have at least one pair of daisy dukes and a couple of skirts. Having these pieces in your arsenal will allow you to mix and match easily.
As for shirts, you'll likely already have some great options. However, capsule wardrobe theory has some suggestions.
In a capsule wardrobe, experts suggest having three t-shirts and three button-ups. You'll also want to have a couple of tank tops hanging around. With just these six tops, you'll have tons of options!
Keep Your Personal Style
When words like "capsule wardrobe" and "fashion trends" get thrown around, it's easy to get scared. The good news is that you don't have to worry! You can easily adapt a capsule wardrobe to your personal style.
A capsule wardrobe is just a way of curating your clothes. When you have a ton of clothes that don't go together, building an outfit can be tough. Capsule wardrobes make it so no matter what you wear, you'll look your best.
A curated personal style is a great idea for the fellas out there. Putting together an outfit is likely the last thing on your mind. Having a small wardrobe that all goes together takes the guesswork out of dressing up.
Building From the Ground Up
Looking put together is a skill. If you've got a closet full of clothes but you're struggling to get an outfit together, let us help! There are a couple of guidelines that can help you bring your style to the next level.
Again, your personal style doesn't have to change. These are just some quick tips to make your southern apparel look its best.
Fit vs Shape
These two terms are often used interchangeably. With that said, they actually are very different. Fit the size of the piece and shape is the overall appearance of the pieces in an outfit.
Don't worry if you're still not getting it. We'll quickly go over both of them so we're all clear.
When you buy clothes, you buy them in a specific size. You don't want a garment that's too small, but you also don't want one that's too big. That sounds obvious, but sizing is often something we're haphazard about.
If you want to look your best, you want clothes that fit you well. Even if you prefer something a bit oversized, you should still get a shirt that fits on the shoulders. A shirt that is too big can hang off you in weird ways and make you look bigger than you are.
Instead of getting bigger or smaller sizes, try to look for different fits. For example, if you like a bigger fit, go for "relaxed". This means that it will fit on the shoulders but won't be so close to your skin.
When you're building an outfit, there are places you want to pay extra attention to for a good fit.
- Waist: Your pants should fit comfortably without needing a belt.
- Inseam: The crotch of your pants shouldn't be overly baggy. It also shouldn't be tight. Both of those scenarios may result in rips.
- Shoulders: Your shoulder seam should end where your shoulder goes down. Otherwise, your neckline may be too big.
So long as those three places fit you well, you'll be good. This isn't to say you'll need to call up a tailor, either. In most cases, you'll be able to find pieces off the rack that fit well.
Wearing the right size with a flattering fit is a way to instantly elevate your outfit. Once you wear something that truly fits, you'll notice how great you look right off the bat.
Shape AKA Silhouette
The ladies might be a bit more familiar with this but it's something that's important for everyone. This is all about tricking the eyes and flattering your body.
The silhouette of an outfit is the overall shape the outfit is making. This can make you look a little funky if you're not careful. These are some quick rules of thumb to make you look your best.
By now, the ladies are well acquainted with the concept of mixing tight and baggy. For the fellas who are just joining now, this means that if you are baggy on top, you should go tight on top. If you go baggy on baggy, you can end up losing your definition which isn't ideal.
The shape of your outfit also extends to how you wear your clothes. Tucking in your shirt or rolling up your pant legs all contribute to your silhouette. Tucking in your shirt will give definition at the waist and make you look taller.
If you're looking to play with your silhouette a bit, you can play with some contrast. Start with jeans and a t-shirt and then add a jacket into the mix. That's already added some dimensions to the outfit!
If you lean on the heavier side, try wearing the jacket open. This creates a slimming effect that brings the eyes down.
Playing with your silhouette is the only way to figure out what works for you. It may feel like a game of dress-up, but by the end of it, you'll have a look that works for you.
Color and Design
The design of your shirt is the best part of it! This is where your individuality can really shine. If you're looking to get adventurous with style, colored shirts are the perfect place to start.
When you think of patterns, you're probably thinking about plaid. If so, then we are on the same wavelength.
Plaid is one of the easiest patterns to style. The biggest thing to remember about plaid shirts is that they love jeans. You'll never go wrong when pairing those two together, making them a safe bet for any casual events.
If you're not thinking about plaid, then we have a couple of things to go over. This goes for designs as well but to a lesser extent. Jeans and a tee will also always look fire.
If you're wearing a patterned shirt with colors, here are some things to keep in mind. You'll want to pick a color from the pattern and match it in another part of the outfit. It could be an accessory or shoes, so long as something ties it in.
You'll also want to stay away from mixing patterns wherever possible. While it can look really cool, it has a tendency to look a little crazy. It's easier just to avoid mixing cheetah print and plaid.
Sometimes, country style can get a little monochromatic. If you want to spice things up a bit, you can try color blocking. This is the practice of wearing multiple bright colors at the same time.
This sounds like it goes against all the rules of fashion, but stick with us! This is pretty trendy right now and can really turn some heads.
Now, in order to do this right, there are some guidelines to follow. These will help you stay away from the realm of 1980s jazzercise territory. Unless of course, that's what you're going for!
The first thing to remember is saturation. This is how vivid the color is so this would be things like jewel tones vs pastels.
In order to color block well, you'll want to stick to the same saturation of color. If you don't pay attention to saturation, it can make your outfit look uncoordinated.
You'll also want to have three colors max per outfit. As an example, if you wear a bright pink tank top with light wash denim shorts, that would be two. Adding a red plaid over the shirt would be fine, but green Converse would be a little much.
In that case, some neutral or black shoes would go over better. Too much color can make the outfit a little busy and will distract from what you're trying to do.
Another key reminder about color clocking is contrast. If you're not able to exactly match the pink of your tank top, it's best to go for another color completely. This again just makes everything look tied together.
When you buy a country shirt, you want to show off the design and make it look its best. This is a great opportunity to put your color-matching skills to work.
Matching the design on your shirt with an accessory can elevate your look. If you've got some red on your t-shirt, putting on a red hat will look nice. It will also add some visual intrigue to your outfit.
Mixing colors and patterns might not be your thing. If you still want to elevate your shirt though, you've got options. Adding texture to your outfit adds another layer of visual intrigue that you don't want to miss out on.
Adding texture means that you're mixing different fabrics into your outfit. Different textures can give your outfit completely different vibes for different occasions. It will also give the people that get close to you another impressive thing to look at.
Jeans and a t-shirt, while it's a great outfit all on its own, lack depth. Elevating your style can be as easy as adding dimension. That's like adding highs and lows into the look.
Playing with texture makes very distinct differences between everything your wearing. An example of adding depth with textures is a jean jacket with a corduroy collar. It's a simple design choice, but it adds a little something into the mix that's hard to ignore.
The easiest way to add texture to an outfit is with a jacket. A suede jacket on a t-shirt instantly brings your outfit up a notch, even if it's jeans and a tee. Another perk of jackets is that they add a layer to your look which will change your silhouette big time.
You can also add this dimension with your shoes. Changing the material of your shoes can completely change the look. Pairing jeans and a tee with cowboy boots instead of runners changes everything.
Hats are also hard to ignore. Not only do they change your silhouette, but even the nylon of a trucker hat adds texture. You already add texture to your looks without even knowing it!
The texture is all about adding another sense to your outfit. Usually, we only think of outfits as visual, but a tactile change cannot be overlooked.
Do's and Don't's
By now you're fully aware that there are guidelines for building an outfit. The same goes for texture. Admittedly, it's much harder to go overboard on texture as opposed to color.
The first "do" is to think about the season you're dressing for when you add texture. Adding a corduroy jacket will give an autumnal feeling to your outfits. However, adding a straw hat will give a summer feeling.
A big "don't" is picking a texture you don't like. As an example, a lot of people don't like wool. Being stylish shouldn't sacrifice comfort!
On the other hand, you do want to add a variety of textures. Unlike colors, you'd be hard-pressed to go overboard. The more textures, the better the depth!
The final "don't" is having all the same texture. You won't want to have more than two pieces with the same texture in one outfit. A Canadian tux is cool, but don't add a denim hat into the mix.
After all is said and done with texture, there's one option we have yet to discuss. This would be no visual texture whatsoever. This is a great option for formal events.
No texture is very common in formal attire. This is because formal wear is more concentrated on color and silhouette. Texture can actually bring formal wear down a notch.
If you've got a nice black western button-up, that counts as no texture. You can pair that with a nice pair of dress pants for a wedding-ready formal outfit. Think Marty Robbins on the cover of Gunfighter Ballads.
A lot of the outlaw country legends did no texture and it paid off big time. Johnny Cash especially did black-on-black no texture outfits a lot. It's hard to look cooler than Johnny Cash, but you can meet him at his level.
When you think about it, you can really only have four or five pieces of cloves on at a time. If you want to add anything extra, you'll want to look into accessories. These extras can dress a look up or down according to any situation.
What is an Accessory?
Men especially don't really think of accessories when they get dressed. In most cases though, everyone wears at least one accessory a day. Things like hats and rings are considered accessories in the world of styling.
Accessories are anything that isn't needed to be considered dressed. Although, your spouse might argue your wedding ring is needed to be dressed!
These extras add a little bit of spice to an outfit that would otherwise be missed. No one is saying that you need to be iced out to grab some beers with your buddies. You only need a couple to make a statement.
One of the best accessories to dress up your country shirt is a cowboy hat. These classics are hard to beat for giving you an outlaw look in any situation.
Here's a list of some of our other top picks for accessories. These will liven up your outfit guaranteed!
- Big belt buckles
- Trucker hats
- Tournament/grad rings
Why Add Accessories?
Sometimes you look in the mirror and just think that something is missing. Other people may not think anything is missing, but you do. Accessories are something that is a personal preference you can use to zhoosh things up a bit.
Accessories can also help you out if you added in a color that doesn't seem to tie in. Even adding a scrunchie around your wrist can bring everything together a bit.
Different added accessories can also augment an outfit. A different accessory can bring an outfit from the realm of casual into semi-formal or vice versa. It really is as simple as switching one set of earrings for another sometimes.
As an example, if you have a really cute dress you can absolutely dress it up or down with a necklace. Or, for the fellas, you can switch out a belt buckle based on the event. You'll be surprised how much accessories change your look!
When you run a farm or a ranch, fancy things are the last thing on your mind. That's why it's nice to have practical accessories on hand. These are accessories that you don't mind spending the money on since they help you out too.
Hats are the most practical out of any accessory. Especially for ranchers and farmers, sun protection is a must. Ball caps and cowboy hats keep the sun off your face and look cool doing it.
Bandanas are also practical and stylish. They can do everything from protecting your neck from the sun to keeping your hair out of your eyes. They also add a nice pop of color to any outfit.
Finally, an accessory that's a real crowd-pleaser is the humble wrist watch. Knowing the time is important for farmers and ranchers. Having a nice watch will add a practical and elegant layer to any outfit.
Arguably, this is the most important part of creating an outfit. All outfits have to be functional for the situation you're in. While a lot of this comes down to common sense, we'll give you our best tips for building functional outfits.
Things to Consider
Whenever you put together an outfit, you want to think about all your plans for the day. This includes what you'll be doing, where you'll be going and who you'll be seeing. Your outfit will need to get you through the whole day.
Another thing you'll want to think about are any potential dress codes. If you go to school, you may need to adjust your outfit to adhere to these rules. Another place you may encounter a dress code is church.
You won't want to build your outfit to rely on something like a hat. Hats are often something that needs to be removed when you enter a building.
You'll also want to think about the weather for the day. Layering is an easy way to make sure you're dressed appropriately for the weather. Even if the weather channel says one thing, sometimes it changes on a dime so being prepared is best.
How to Buy Clothes That Work For You
A huge part of functionality is comfort. Comfort and functionality are more than just how something fits. Functionality will be how the garment behaves overall.
When you're buying clothes, make sure that you try them on. When you try them on, try doing most the actions you do in the run of a day. If it's uncomfortable at any point, it's not for you.
We all have styles and fits that we love. When you're buying new clothes, sometimes it's best to stick to what we love. If it ain't broke why fix it?
Putting it All Together
Now that you have a full deepdive of putting an outfit together, let's put it to the test! We'll give you a couple quick ideas you'll love.
The Stranger Things
For this 80s inspired look, start off with your favorite country t-shirt. Next, add in a nice light wash pair of jeans. This is the base for many great outfits.
To add a bit of dimension and bulk, the next thing you'll need is a denim jacket. For shoes, go for a black boot if possible but sneakers will do just fine. To complete the look, throw on a rodeo hat for a nice throwback!
Country Music Festival
It's festival season and there's no better way to enjoy a festival than by looking good! For the base of this look, put on some shorts and a country t-shirt. Remember, festivals can get hot so you'll want to be functional.
For shoes, go for a sneaker for optimal mobility. Next, to add a bit of bulk and texture, tie a flannel around your waist. This will double as an extra layer for later in the evening.
To top off the look, pick out a straw hat to add in some texture. This will also protect your face from the sun.
Experiment With Your Style
When it comes to styling your country shirts, the world is your oyster. Getting out of your comfort zone is tough but using country wear as a base makes it easier. No matter how you choose to style your country clothes, you'll know your a part of something bigger.
Country shirts are a way for you to show your colors any day of the week. Being rural folk is something to be proud of!
If you want more ideas, check out some styling tips here!