Stuart's Custom-Made Clothing Worthy Of Museum Exhibits

This appeared in The Patriot-News - November 13, 2008

Marty Stuart has always been a clotheshorse -- and like any fashion fan worth his salt, his favorite color is black. He spoke of how his fashion obsession began.

"There was a cafe in my town [Philadelphia, Mississippi] called the Busy Bee Cafe," he said. "And the black cats that hung around at the Busy Bee, they always dressed flashy -- most of them had gold teeth. That's all I wanted was a gold tooth and to look like those guys at the Busy Bee."

As a kid, he coveted suits by country couturier Nudie (who outfitted Elvis and Gram Parsons, among others), but could never afford them.

"It was a status symbol," he said. "When you came in from some rural part of the United States to big ol' Nashville and got your recording contract, [you got] a Cadillac, a Martin guitar from Nazareth, Pennsylvania, and a Nudie suit."

He owns a collection of them now, and favors the custom-made designs of good friend Manuel, who once worked for Nudie. Many of the pieces he owns are in museum collections -- an exhibit of them, Sparkle & Twang, has just opened at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

"I don't wear his rhinestone suits very much anymore," he said. "But I absolutely still wear Manuel's clothes -- the workmanship is off the chart."

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