How to dress for a barn dance

What to Wear to a Barn Dance – Rydale

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11 Jan 2021



Barn dancing has a long history, dating back to the 1860s. It is thought to have originated in England and Scotland, during an era when peasants would gather in barns to imitate the dancing of wealthy landowners. In those times, barn dances tended to be held to celebrate the raising of a new barn, a holiday, birthday, wedding or another extravagant celebration. They were considered important social events because the whole town would be invited to attend. 

Nowadays, barn dances are just as popular and provide an excuse to sing along to your favourite country songs, hang out with friends and dance to traditional folk music. However, if you’ve never been to one before, it can be quite difficult to know what to wear to a barn dance. Planning the perfect country-inspired outfit to dance the night away can be stressful. Don’t worry, we have you covered with our guide to what to wear to a barn dance. 

The Classic Barn Dance Outfit 

The classic barn dance outfit usually tends to consist of plaid. Plaid is a chequered or tartan pattern twill cloth material that epitomises the classic country barn dance. If you’re trying to recreate the traditional barn dance style, then a men’s or women’s plaid shirt should be your go-to. You can opt for a classic country colour combination, such as an olive green or brown shade, to stick to the usual style. Alternatively, if you want to add a contemporary twist to your traditional barn dance outfit, then why not select a bright red check or a navy blue pattern. 

Equally symbolic of the classic barn dance is a pair of denim jeans or shorts. If the weather is warm, then it is a good idea to opt for a pair of denim shorts so that you can dance without overheating. For women, high-waisted, roughly cut denim shorts are the standard for that traditional rugged barn dance look, but don’t be afraid to stray from that norm. For a more comfortable option, you could opt for a slightly longer pair of denim shorts, or to add a touch of colour, why not choose a pair of chino style twill shorts in a pink or khaki shade? For men, the best option is a pair of comfortable and lightweight chino shorts. The soft cotton material of chino shorts make them much easier to move around in and will keep you much cooler than a stiff, heavy denim pair. Make sure you match the colour of your shorts with the checked design in your plaid shirt. 

Alternatively, for colder weather, swap out the shorts for a pair of dark wash denim jeans. Ladies can opt for a pair of classic skinny denim jeans with country animal embroidery for a real barn dance feel. Or, for a more colourful, eye-catching style, why not choose a pale pink or khaki green pair. Men can opt for a pair of classic straight leg dark wash denim jeans for a simple but effective barn dance outfit. 

Finish off your classic barn dance attire with a pair of traditional leather boots. To create a really authentic barn dance look, women should go for some genuine leather knee-high boots. You could select some suede knee length boots or a more traditional smooth leather pair. For men, a pair of classic leather market boots would make the perfect addition to a traditional barn dance outfit. 

The Modern Barn Dance Outfit

If you’re looking for something a little more stylish and on-trend, then you might want to create a slightly more contemporary barn dance look. Ladies might want to opt for something a little more fun and flirty, selecting a flowy dress or a flattering skirt. A tweed skirt is ideal for sticking with the country barn dance theme but ensuring you look stylish and sophisticated too. Pair your skirt with a lightweight and flowy animal print blouse to pull the look together. For colder weather, you could even add a matching tweed blazer to make your barn dance outfit slightly more formal. Finish off with a pair of leather Chelsea boots or even some deck shoes for a more summery look.  

Men could make their modern barn dance look slightly smarter by swapping the denim for a pair of high-quality moleskin trousers. The cotton moleskin material is ideal for keeping with the country style, but provides a more formal option to the classic jean choice. Add a shooting-inspired knitted jumper, or a tweed waistcoat and blazer for the ultimate formal barn dance attire. Top off your contemporary barn dance outfit with a pair of men’s Chelsea boots or some leather brogue shoes. 

Accessorising Your Barn Dance Outfit 

No barn dance outfit is complete without some classic country accessories. A traditional hat is a must-have to create an authentic look. A men’s or women’s traditional leather cowboy hat would be perfect to add a traditional touch. Alternatively, you could go for a ladies wool felt hat with feather or a men’s baker boy style cap. 

You could even add a country leather belt to pull together your barn dance attire. Opt for a classic brown leather belt to match your boots and hat, or choose a polo-inspired belt for a pop of colour. Men could also add a country shooting tie to add a touch of sophistication, while women can complete their outfit with an equestrian-inspired saddle bag. 

So, now you know what to wear to a barn dance, you can effortlessly create a stylish traditional or modern outfit fit for any country occasion.




What to Wear to a Barn Dance (WITH PICTURES)

Barn dancing has a long history dating back to the 1860’s, where traditional steps were danced to folk music, usually in a barn. nowadays, it’s just as popular, but more likely in a building! If you’ve never been to one before, you may be wondering what to wear to a barn dance?

We’ve got you covered, we’ll run through everything that you should expect and what to wear to your first barn dance.. We cover the 3 most popular barn dance looks, so you can choose the look the will be in bogue and reflect your style, mood, and unique personality.

In a nutshell, a barn dance is a social event which caters for all ages, the main focus is about having a good time and listening to some music! Don’t worry if you don’t think dancing is for you, at a barn dance it’s for everyone.

What to Wear to a Barn Dance?

Compared to other styles of dancing, a barn dance is considered quite casual. Comfort is key, so jeans and trainers will work if you’re on a budget.

If you’re wanting a more ‘classic’ barn dance look; we’ll walk you through some ideas.

We’re going to start by looking at barn dancing clothes for women followed by barn dancing clothes for men. 

What to Wear to a Barn Dance - Ideas for Women

Women’s Barn Dance - look 1

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This country look is perfect for a barn dance, it’s casual and comfortable.

Wearing a vest top will keep you cool while you’re line dancing away. You can always layer it up at first, maybe with a denim jacket which can be removed when you’re warm.

We suggest pairing this with a distressed pair of denim shorts. 

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We’ve paired the vest top with shorts, this is a great outfit for the summer months when the weather is hot and you need to stay cool.

These will look good at any length, so don’t worry about them having to be short, shorts! Wear whatever you’re comfortable dancing in. 

Pair these with some boots (we’ll look at those at the end of the women’s section).


Women’s Barn Dance - look 2

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Here we have more of a ‘classic’ barn dance outfit. Plaid is extremely popular and this particular shirt is available in 3 different colours.

We’re also giving another shirt option with this white cowboy themed shirt. It has embroidered roses for a classic edge.

Shirts are great for those wanting to cover up a little more, but these are fitted, so they have a feminine edge.  

We’ve paired these with some jeans. 



Jeans are great for a barn dance in the winter. Both these jeans have a country vibe when paired with a shirt, they’re also stretchy so you can move freely. 

Black jeans would also work well, these particular pairs are available in black. 

Women’s Barn Dance - look 3



For those of you looking for something really feminine, this outfit is perfect. 

Florals are a staple for women at a barn dance, these two dresses are a perfect example. 

Pair them with a plain bandana around your neck and a denim jacket to keep you warm.

And of course, some cute cowboy boots!


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These are great additions to the feminine, country chic look. Try to buy a bandana that matches the rest of your outfit, avoid clashing colours.

That’s it for the barn dancing outfits for women, now let’s look at the best shoes for a barn dance.

What Shoes to Wear to a Barn Dance?

When dressing for a barn dance, the most important thing is that you’re comfortable. We’ll be taking you through classic barn dancing shoes, if that’s what you prefer. But some will be more comfortable in dance trainers or  jazz shoes.

Ariat Women's Darlin Work Boot

These ankle boots by Ariat are great for your first barn dance. 

They’re made from 100% leather and have a synthetic sole. They’re made with the comforts of modern design, with the elegance of vintage style.

The heel is 2.5 inches, which is a great height, you can feel confident when dancing.  

These will look great with jeans, shorts or a dress.