On Wednesday night, I had a grand old time watching the CMA Awards, inexplicable Ariana Grande appearance and all. But around the time Loretta Lynn showed up wearing ten tons of sequins and they ran that supercut of classic Vince Gill moments, I began to long for the fabulous country music fashions of the 1990s.
You see, I spent a fair amount of my childhood watching old-school CMT, thereby developing a lifelong appreciation for big hair, oversized jackets and flashy metallic embroidery. Award shows, of course, showed these stylings off to perfection. And so here is an visual ode to the country couture of the 1990s, back when the women still wore shoulder pads and the men wore cowboy hats that didn't look like they'd been shut in a door.
Let's start with the marvelous Judds, appearing at the Academy of Country Music Awards in 1991:
White was big that year, as you'll see from Garth Brooks accepting a CMA for single of the year:
Tanya Tucker and Marty Stewart looked pretty great in 1993, too:
Anybody else getting a country vibe off of Reba? And nothing has ever screamed "CMT circa 1995" as loudly as Vince Gill's oversized mustard-yellow jacket and black western shirt:
Here's Dolly Parton and Vince Gill, back in 1996:
And here's Shania Twain again, in 1999:
We can't lavish 100% of the love on the CMA Awards, though, because the Academy of Country Awards are pretty primo, too. 1999 in particular was a fantastic year. Hat tip to Martina McBride, Shania Twain, and the Dixie Chicks:
Remember the year essentially all clothing was available in these colors and these colors only? Good times, good times.
But these stills also shamefully neglect the styles of the presenters. For that, we must turn to YouTube. Here's Mary Chapin Carpenter singing at the CMA Awards, wearing a damn jumpsuit with an enormous concho belt. Please pay carefully attention to the audience—you've never seen so many metallics and shoulder pads in your entire life:
The Judds, by the way, also looked amazing at the 1990 ACM Awards. Yes, that is a SEQUINED SNOOD:
The quality on this one isn't great, but it's plenty to appreciate your queen Dolly Parton's bedazzled evening gown:
Gaze in wonder upon the sheer majesty that is Reba McEntire's hair in this 1995 ACM acceptance speech:
I'd pay good money to see Carrie Underwood rocking that hairdo.
All CMA photos via AP; ACM photos via Getty.