At the 2023 CMA Awards there was perhaps no arrival — or performance — more anticipated than that of Lainey Wilson.
The 31-year-old singer was this year’s most nominated artist at the Wednesday, November 8, ceremony with a record nine noms, including Entertainer of the Year. (She was last year’s most nominated artist, as well, taking home trophies for Best New Artist and Female Vocalist.) The accolades are the icing on top of the country music cake for Wilson.
“I grew up watching the CMAs as a little girl and would dream about being a part of it, so this year’s nominations were definitely a ‘pinch me’ moment. It is surreal,” the “Heart Like a Truck” singer exclusively told Us Weekly. “Looking back on the year I had with my band and crew, it really feels like all of our hard work is paying off. I love country music, and I am really feeling the love back.”
The CMAs did in fact show Wilson the love, honoring her with wins for Album of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year, as well as Music Video of the Year and Music Event of the Year alongside Hardy.
But Wilson, who also stars in Yellowstone, is known for more than just her performance chops. She’s become famous for her style.
“When it comes to fashion, I always want to stay true to myself but also make a statement,” Wilson told Us . “For me, and as my fans know, I stick to what I love: bell bottoms and a hat. It’s my signature look, and I am all for dressing what you feel best in.”
That look was on full, formal display as Wilson hit the CMAs red carpet in a Carolina Herrera black strapless jumpsuit with show-stopping ruffled bell bottoms, Sam Edelman shoes and a black hat from Wilson’s own Charlie 1 Horse collection. Putting the fit over the top was a jaw-dropping patriotic necklace featuring an eagle and stars dripping in diamonds from Haybelle Co.
“When it comes to dressing Lainey, I know there’s two important boxes to always check: bell bottoms and a statement hat. It’s fun to riff off the signature style she has created,” Wilson’s stylist, Cherie Kilchrist, told Us. “Lainey has a classic country voice, so I was inspired by the legendary ladies of country music from the past like Dolly [Parton] and Reba [McEntire]. My vision for the red carpet was a chic, moody cowgirl. For performance I turned to brands like Wrangler to stay true to her cowgirl roots.”
Wilson turned out a fiery performance of her hit “Wildflowers and Wild Horses” in a Wrangler crop top with floor-length fringe accents and distressed wide leg pants from Understated Leather. She rocked a more weather version of her signature hat, again from her own line, for a rugged rodeo queen vibe.
“When it comes to a performance look, we always try to emulate the overall vibe and narrative of the song we’re doing. So, for ‘Wildflowers and Wild Horses,’ we wanted to create a look that was a nod to my roots back home in Louisiana while also giving it some country with a flare,” Wilson said. “It was really fun to get creative on the looks for this year’s award show.”
“It’s very important for my clients to feel like the best version of themselves,” Kilchrist said. “I love that Lainey knows exactly who she is and stays true to where she comes from.”