The Stunning Style Transformation Of Reba McEntire

Reba McEntire has been a name synonymous with country music since the mid-'70s when she started her career at the age of 20. She'd been singing since she was about 5 years old, but it was in 1975 that she signed her first contract with a record label. And now, at 68 years young, she's showing no signs of letting up on her music or acting career. She has over 30 studio albums, she's won multiple Grammy awards among a slew of other music awards, and she was even nominated for a Golden Globe Award for best actress in a television series — musical or comedy for her show "Reba" in 2004.


Reba's style has evolved from a down-home country girl proud of her rodeo roots to a stylish celebrity who enjoys blending comfort and glamour. You can still see she's country, there's no doubt about that, but she has come a long way since the western dresses and tightly curled locks of the '80s. And, if you still aren't sure if you'd consider Reba a style icon, know that she's had her own clothing line with Dillard's since 2005. Her look may not be for everyone, but for those who love a little bit of the country-western aesthetic, looking to Reba as a style icon is a must.

1970-1974: Reba's a country girl through and through

In 1974, Reba McEntire sang "The Star Spangled Banner" at the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City. While she was singing when she could, she was also in the rodeo, riding barrel horses. She stepped into the scene looking like she belonged in the rodeo, for that matter. She didn't have a record contract yet, but it was that performance in 1974 that got the ball rolling on her future career as a country music legend at the age of 20.


In an interview with Country Living, Reba explained what it was like coming into the world of celebrities as a country girl, saying, "I was at a New York fashion show in 2001 while performing 'Annie Get Your Gun' on Broadway and a reporter asked who my favorite designer was. I said, 'Levi's?'" She added, "Growing up on a ranch, that was all I ever wore. Man, have I changed!" While she may dress a bit fancier these days, Reba still loves the comfort of a good pair of jeans. But while jeans are a main staple of the country legend's everyday wardrobe, you won't see her performing on stage in them.

1975-1979: Reba shows her softer side

Reba McEntire was signed to PolyGram/Mercury Records in 1975, the year she turned 20, and she released her first self-titled album in 1977. In 1979, her second album was released and with it, one of her early hits — a cover of Patsy Cline's "Sweet Dreams." It was her first top-20 hit, even though it only made it to 19 on the charts.


With a new career comes a new look. While Reba was likely still wearing her Levi's every chance she got, we see a softer-looking Reba at the start of her music career. For photo shoots, gone are the jeans and cowboy boots, and in their place are soft dresses in pretty shades. It's a soft and delicate look that really fits in with some of her songs. Her style was exactly what one might imagine when they think of a young woman in the late '70s. No matter what color she put on, that striking red hair of hers always took center stage.

1980-1984: Reba and her boots

There's one thing about a cowgirl you can't change — her boots. Even decked all out in a fancy dress, Reba McEntire still finds a way to style those cowgirl boots into the mix. This is a look that the country star would carry on with her throughout the years. She also proudly wears a chunky belt buckle — a great way to make any fancy dress look country.  And you'll notice the simplicity of her accessories — we don't see any jewelry. Reba lets her outfit do all the work and looks good with nothing more than a strappy dress, paired with boots and a belt. Now, we're not saying to toss all of those chunky statement necklaces out but know that sometimes the dress can say everything on its own.


It was in 1982 that she claimed her first number-one hit on Billboard with a track off of her fifth studio album, "Can't Even Get the Blues." Of course, she definitely wasn't feeling blue when that milestone hit. In 1984, her eighth studio album, "My Kind of Country," brought her two more number-one songs, and she was named female vocalist of the year at the CMA Awards.

1985-1989: Reba makes belt buckles look fashionable

In the late '80s, Reba McEntire found a way to combine her country roots with her fancy style, wearing dresses that would have been perfect to wear in a Western movie. To these day's standards, we may look at Reba's outfits from around 1986 and wonder what she was thinking, but the '80s were a time of questionable fashion, to say the least. Reba's country-style dresses were glammed up by her belt buckle, which is another reminder of her rodeo roots. She was in her 30s and was fully expressing her individual style. The look she honed in this time of her life seems to have made it back to the racks in stores like Target in the past few years, as the "Little House on the Prairie" style becomes chic again.


In the late '80s, Reba started making some changes to her sound, even if her looks were still all country girl.  Her 1986 album, "Whoever's in New England," aimed to be a little more contemporary rather than traditional country, for which she earned another Grammy, and her '88 album "Reba" played around with pop sounds.

1990-1994: Reba became a fashion icon without knowing it

The early '90s brought many changes to Reba McEntire's life, starting with the birth of her son, Shelby, in 1990. This was also the year she started her acting career with a role in the 1990 film "Tremors." And, it was in 1991 that a plane crash took the lives of eight members of her touring band. Her album that year, "For My Broken Heart," was dedicated to them and was filled with classics like "The Greatest Man I Never Knew" and "Is There Life Out There."


Having topped the country music charts, Reba hit the 1993 CMA Awards stage in a dress that people would be talking about for a while. About the striking red dress, Reba told People, "I had only had two fittings with [designer] Sandy Spika. One was at our office and I said, 'I think you need to fill some more stuff in!' When I put it on in the dressing room at the Grand Ole Opry for the show, I thought, 'Maybe it's just the lighting in here.' And when I walked out on the stage, I heard the audience go 'Oooooh!' And I thought, 'Dang, I look good!'" At 38, the country star showed that she wasn't afraid to be glamorous.

1995-1999: Reba looks like a model

In the late '90s, Reba McEntire continued her acting career but focused a lot on her music career, too — releasing five albums between 1995 and 1999. It was also during this time that we see her style grow a little farther from the country girl look and into something more classically '90s. Yes, you can still find plenty of pictures of her in those cowgirl boots, but she can also be seen replacing them with other stylish shoewear.


In her 40s, we see Reba trying out a few new looks — from swapping out her Levi's for comfortable stretchy pants to adding a little more black into her wardrobe. In line with the fashion of the late '90s, she could also be seen layering her clothing, often sporting a fitted blazer. She seems to have left some of the sparkle out of her ensembles during this time, but you can bet it will come back. 

2000-2009: Reba lets her country side show again

In the early 2000s, Reba McEntire proved that a country woman never loses her rodeo style. At 50, Reba was often seen wearing jeans and country-style tops. From layered button-downs to studded jeans, she upheld the fashion of the southern states with grace. One thing you'll always notice in Reba's "street clothes" is comfort. This isn't the first or last time you'll see how fantastic she is at layering clothing, and her easy-going style was front center at the start of the 21st century. Saving the glitz and glamour of rhinestones for the stage, Reba always looks like someone you could easily talk to if you bumped into her on the street. 


It was in the early 2000s that Reba started being seen on TV more often than in one-episode spots. She had her own series, "Reba," that ran from 2001 to 2007. While music was still near and dear to her heart, she was more focused on her acting career at this time. 

2010-2012: Reba adopts a business look

We love the sleek look Reba McEntire adopted in the 2010s. For one, previous to this era, she most often had curly or wavy hair, but it was around this time that she started opting for straighter locks, which added a more businesswoman-like look to her style. And not only did she dive back into the music during this time ("All the Women I Am" was released in 2010), but she also adopted some less country-like looks including sexier dresses and simple black staple pieces. Nearing 60, Reba was still looking like a rock star.


While her music wasn't hitting as high on the charts as it did in the '80s and '90s, Reba was still appearing on the stage, whether it be in a ball gown or not. We also saw her picking colors that accented her red locks — which, on her, somehow look good with whatever color she wears!

2013-2015: Reba keeps to her roots while still looking fancy

At nearly 60, Reba McEntire showed she could still look glamorous in glitzy gowns, but she also enjoyed the comfort of laid-back jeans and comfy boots — two things that have seemed to stay with her throughout her career. In 2013, she was enjoying the success of her new TV show, "Malibu Country," and in 2015, she released her then-latest album, "Love Somebody."


On a more personal note, Reba was navigating her second divorce during this time, as well. For anyone who's experienced something similar, you know that even the most amicable separation is hectic and painful, but Reba managed to keep her game face on when it came to her career. She also kept her cowgirl boots, which may be more for riding than walking, but she looked good no matter how she was traveling. For the stage, during this time, she continued to don gorgeous dresses with glitter and sequins, but on the sidelines, she could often be seen in some comfortable jeans. 

2016-2018: Reba is fabulous and confident in her early 60s

Do you ever wonder if the people creating their own clothing lines wear what they've designed? In Reba McEntire's case, she does. If you peruse her Instagram account, you can often see her in the pieces she collaborated on for Dillard's. Every one of those items has a little bit of country and a little bit of comfort in it, and if we've learned anything from Reba while looking over her style from the past few decades, she loves to be comfortable and confident in whatever she's wearing.


And speaking of confidence — Reba brought back that sexy red dress from 1993 in 2018 and looked just as fabulous in it as she did 25 years prior. Reba, in her early 60s at this time, rocked the plunging neckline like a pro. Whether or not it was the exact same dress from '93 or a replica remains unknown, but it fit her like a glove.

2019-2020: Reba rocks black

In 2020, Reba McEntire teamed up with her co-star Melissa Peterman to start up a new podcast, "Living & Learning." In the same year, she was lucky in love, too, starting up a new relationship with TV actor Rex Linn. As for her fashion at the beginning of a new decade? One may think that Reba was gunning to be the woman in black. In her dark ensembles, Reba looks sleek, polished, and oh-so-happy with her brightest smile — and her "smizing" eyes, a la Tyra Banks.


To carry her glitz and glam appearance to the stage, Reba's black attire can go from a toned-down leather look to a sparkling rainbow of glittering sequins on a velvet backdrop. Dabbling in the best of both worlds, Reba looks stunning as a biker babe and a diva. In her mid-60s, Reba was looking absolutely flawless — and she proved that you don't have to have a little black dress to make black work for you.

2021-2022: Reba's smile shines through the blues

The early 2020s brought challenges for all of us — including Reba McEntire. While she released her new album, "Revived Remixed Revisited," in 2021, she had to reschedule her tour dates, postponing a slew of shows until the following year. Perhaps that delay had her feeling a little blue, as her wardrobe took on the color in full force — most notably, that elegant blue gown the country music star wore as she walked the 2022 CMA Awards red carpet. But for her more casual days, Reba can be seen in her very own Dillard's collection. 


From floral print kimonos to a classic chambray button-up western style top, the pieces that Reba designed for her Dillard's line in the early 2020s encapsulate the 60-something-year-old's put-together but always-comfy style perfectly. And while she might have had more time for some R&R in 2021, she hit the road running in 2022 — back out on tour, and then knocking the socks off of country music lovers with her Loretta Lynn tribute alongside Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood at the CMA Awards as the year came to an end.

2023-present: A new album doesn't mean a new look for Reba

In her late 60s, we see that Reba McEntire's style never really changed all that much. She still has jeans and cowgirl boots as a go-to staple in her closet and she loves those horses, even if she isn't riding them in the rodeo anymore. In 2023, Reba released a new album, "Not That Fancy" — an acoustic romp through some of the singer's hits. From its cover, we can see that she still loves her belt buckles and a sleek and sophisticated black ensemble.


What does the future hold for Reba? On Today with Hoda and Jenna, she recounted a conversation she had with her sister about the passing of their mother: "I was going through pictures. I said 'I just don't think I'm gonna do this anymore.' She said, 'What?' I said, 'Sing. I always did it for mama." But we're glad to see that instead of getting off the horse, Reba has decided to continue on with her music (rumor has it she'll hit the road for a new tour in 2024), her acting, and even publishing a new memoir-cookbook, titled "Not That Fancy: Simple Lessons on Living, Loving, Eating, and Dusting Off Your Boots."