Karen Fairchild is one fourth of the hugely popular country music band Little Big Town, which just released the Taylor-Swift-penned single "Better Man." Most nights, Karen hits the stage with her band mates in thigh-high leather boots and dramatic ensembles by designers like Gucci and Saint Laurent. But when we caught up with the singer at Macy's Water Tower in Chicago, she was dressed down in a Cubs tee. (The Chicago team had just made the World Series, and the Indiana-born Karen was as hyped as the locals.)
Karen was at the store to meet with fans and help them shop her latest Fair Child clothing collection, which offers everything from faux-leather moto jackets to lacy blouses and a chunky, cranberry-colored faux fur. The clothes have massive appeal to fans who want to channel a bit of Nashville style—and to Nashville stars themselves. Martina McBride, for example, recently wore the cranberry show-stopper in question. "The faux fur is my favorite," Karen told The Lookbook. "We played the Opry the other night and I put it in her dressing room as a little treat, and she wore it! She's a dear friend."
Karen's bandmate and BFF Kimberly Schlapman (pictured) has also been known to wear a few Fair Child pieces. "She probably wears her butterfly jacket the most," Karen said. "When we found that fabric, I thought of her instantly because she's kind of the romantic girly girl. She does do things that have the yin and the yang to it—something with a little bit of a harder edge that's also very romantic. She also loves the romantic blouse that has the ladylike bow."
Karen counts Ali McGraw and Kate Moss among her personal style icons—and will quickly mention Carole Radziwill when asked which housewife has the best wardrobe. (The self-professed "huge, crazy Bravo fan" also considers Andy Cohen "my best friend—but I've never met him!") Her fans also had a huge influence on the collection.
"For me, [designing this collection] was about giving our fans a price point on things that are inspired by things I wear onstage," she said. "The fans are asking me a lot" Where’d you get this leather jacket? or Where’d you get these boots? Some of those pieces are dreams to wear because they’re high-end things I get to borrow. So, I wanted to give fans that that kind of stage glamour."
Or, at least a little taste of it. Karen's a big advocate of mixing up styles, and encourages wearing fast fashion with designer pieces—or leather leggings with sneakers. "I might wear them on stage, but recently I was with a girlfriend and she had on our leather leggings with tennis shoes and a long sweater." Karen's also a big proponent of whimsy and spontaneity in fashion. "I swear to you, sometimes I will wear a t-shirt that I slept in, throw on sequin pants and a leather jacket, and go out," she said. "Or, I'll wear a great cowboy boot, denim, and that faux fur. I don’t think [fashion] has to be so thought-through and complicated as everybody makes it."
Still, for Karen and her band mates, most days call for something that's stage or photo-ready. With chart-toppers like "Pontoon" and "Girl Crush" under their belt, Little Big Town is one of the biggest bands in country music these days. "When we first played the Opry, we were so young and green, and we hardly knew any songs," she recalled. "Now, the Opry is just like home and family. Everything that's good about country music is there." There will be a lot more of that good country music—and fashion—at the Country Music Awards tomorrow night. Little Big Town is set to perform at the event, and Karen's superstar stylist Karla Welch is busily pulling together looks.
Karla, who also works with the likes of Karlie Kloss, Olivia Wilde, and Sarah Paulson, has been a perfect fashion playmate for Karen. "It’s so much fun to play dress up with her and be creative," Karen shared. "She and I have very similar views and tastes and expressions of fashion, so it’s fun to collaborate. One time I e-mailed her something the morning of a shoot, and I said, Gosh, I love this Gucci dress. When I walked in the room 30 minutes later, it was hanging there. She had already pulled it for me."
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