Reba McEntire’s 1993 CMA Award Dress Caused a Fashion Stir: ‘I Didn’t Win an Award But I Did Make the Front Page’

Since her country music career began, Reba McEntire has released hit singles, produced platinum-selling records, and won countless awards. Her lifetime achievements are impressive yet she’s remained as sweet and down-to-earth as she was in the beginning. 

Fans love McEntire’s incredible voice, witty sense of humor, and fantastic sense of style. The country music icon always presents a stunning picture whenever she steps onto the stage. She’s had her fair share of memorable outfits over the years. In fact, one dress was so far from her humble beginnings that it shocked her fans, friends, and family.

Reba McEntire got her big break at a rodeo

McEntire was 19 years old when she got the big break that would launch her career. The young singer was performing the national anthem at the 1974 National Finals Rodeo when she captivated country singer Red Steagall. Steagall helped her record a demo that eventually landed her a deal with Mercury Records. 

McEntire worked diligently on her music through the late ’70s, spending time in the studio to crank out one single after another. It wasn’t until 1980 that she produced her first chart-topping single, however. “You Lift Me Up (To Heaven)” reached Billboard’s Top 10 country chart, and Reba was on her way to becoming a superstar. 

The rising star continued to work hard to make a name for herself in a town largely dominated by men. Nashville was known for its male country stars. Reba recalls having to work twice as hard to be recognized.

As Biography reports, she applied what she learned on the cattle ranch to her music career: “You try to outsmart them, you try to outwork them and get there first. You help out, you volunteer, you’re at the front of the line. That’s what I learned from working on the cattle range, and it helped me in the music business.”

McEntire’s wardrobe changed drastically as her career advanced

Country music singer/songwriter Reba McEntire preforms in 1990 in Nashville, Tennessee
Reba McEntire preforms in 1990 in Nashville, Tennessee | Beth Gwinn/Getty Images

McEntire entered the music business with a drastically different image. She grew up in a family heavily involved in the rodeo, and those roots shaped her personality. She was rough and tumble, and her image reflected her rural background. Closer Weekly recently looked back through McEntire’s style throughout the years.

Early in her career, McEntire could often be seen wearing jeans and a comfortable top. She began to branch out a bit in the late ’70s with flowing, flower-patterned dresses. In the early ’80s, her style choices took a flashier turn, with plenty of rhinestones and chunky cowboy belts. Throughout the ’80s, she continued to choose dazzling outfits featuring bright colors and fun accessories. 

By the early ’90s, McEntire was a country music legend with tons of adoring fans. They absolutely adored her unmatched musical talent, but they had also come to view her as a style icon. Her unique personality combined with an eye for fashion created truly stunning looks throughout the years. 

Reba wore one of her most memorable dresses to the 1993 CMA Awards

In 1993, McEntire stunned audiences with a risque wardrobe choice. When she stepped on to the stage to perform that evening, the crowd gasped. Fans were used to McEntire’s daring styles, but this one was completely different. The singer donned a long, red velvet dress with a plunging, revealing neckline. The risque bodice of the dress featured mesh and a lot of sparkles, all of which only highlighted her cleavage. 

The Boot recently revisited that night at the CMAs, recalling how McEntire joked about how she didn’t win an award, but she made the front page the next day. She also said she’d had only two fittings with the designer of the dress. She herself was shocked by how revealing it was when she put it on the night of the awards. 

In 2018, fans got to see the infamous dress once again. McEntire pulled it out of retirement to perform a special duet with Kelly Clarkson at the ACM Awards. The dress still fit, and the country star looked as beautiful as ever.

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