NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Carrie Underwood donned more than 10 different dresses for this year's CMA Awards, but when it's time to get to sweaty in the gym, the country star was at a loss for what to wear.
"I consider myself to be a pretty hard worker in the gym," said Underwood, who is expecting her first child in the spring. "The high performance things aren't pretty. And then the super pretty things don't last a long time or don't do what I need them to do. So there is a big gap."
Now she's launching her own line of athletic wear with DICK'S Sporting Goods, called Calia by Carrie Underwood, which matches up her love of fashion and fitness. Underwood's new venture makes her the latest country musician to dabble in fashion.
Her CMA Awards co-host Brad Paisley partnered with Boot Barn this month to release a line of clothes called Moonshine Spirit, featuring jeans, boots, cowboy hats and T-shirts for young men, which he describes as the perfect outfit for attending a country concert.
"When you look out at these people when we roll into town, they are largely girls in cut-off jeans and guys in either button-down plaid shirts or T-shirts," Paisley said. "Some of them are wearing cowboy hats. Some of them are wearing ball caps. A lot of them are wearing some kind of boot."
Fashion for country musicians has moved far away from the country western wear personified by Porter Wagoner's embellished Nudie suits and Dolly Parton's rhinestone-encrusted denim and fringe. Today's biggest country stars embrace retailers and brands that are already well-known to middle-class America and are far more accessible to their fans.
For example, reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan has a clothing line at Cabela's, a major outdoors sporting goods retailer, and Miranda Lambert released a line of cowboy boots with DSW, in addition to owning a country clothing boutique in her home of Tishomingo, Oklahoma.
Underwood's athletic wear, which will be available in March 2015, features capris and pants that will average $60 to $85 and tops that average $30 to $35 and can be easily mixed and matched.
"Everything pretty much matches each other, which is something that I think is really cool because if you don't have a lot of money to spend on things like this, it all needs to look good together," Underwood said.
Underwood said her focus was outfitting today's busy woman, who is juggling her career, her family and friends and her active lifestyle.
"That's who we make music for, that's who we sell our records to," Underwood said. "I don't think it makes sense to put out things that they couldn't go out and get."
Paisley already knew his signature white cowboy hat was a fan favorite, because he's been handing them out to a special fan at each one of his concerts. They're so popular sometimes eager fans will snatch it right off his head when he's performing. But now these hats will be available at Boot Barn stores across the country and he even offered a little advice on how to shape the brim.
"That's the thing that I hope everybody realizes when they buy this, you gotta shape it to your face," he said. "I've figured out over time what shape worked with my face. And if you want to see which ones don't, you go back to the early 2000s and that shape doesn't work with my face."
DICK'S Sporting Goods: http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/
Boot Barn: www.bootbarn.com/
Follow Kristin M. Hall on Twitter at http://twitter.com/kmhall