Slip on a Stetson and get in line
Every couple of years "cowgirl chic" crops up in designer collections and you can't walk down the Kings Road without bumping into the latest It girl clad in skin-tight jeans and a pair of cowboy boots. For the rest of the time, though, line dancing and the outfits that go with it are not exactly seen as cool or trendy. Yet since the early Nineties, when Billy Ray Cyrus released "Achy Breaky Heart", line dancing has been massive in the UK - there are now more than 5,000 clubs. You don't need to have a partner to do it, nor do you need to be particularly fit, and there's no dress code. The people I met wore jeans for comfort, but most had customised a simple T-shirt or shirt with fringing, diamante or anything that adds a bit of sparkle. A decent pair of cowboy boots will set you back about pounds 100, and the designer option from Miu Miu, in pink with a snakeskin toe cap, costs pounds 200. Or just wear your normal clothes and don a cowboy hat - Stetsons start from about pounds 35 and can be picked up from country and western shops nationwide. To find out about your nearest clubs and for information on shops contact Line Dancing Magazine (tel: 01704 501235). Give it a go - you'll be surprised at what a good time you'll have.

RACHEL, 7, AND NICOLA, 8

LINE DANCERS

"I go to line dancing events with my parents who have a stall selling country and western clothing," says Rachel (see also main picture, opposite)

"I've been line dancing for two months but I also got to drama classes. My favourite dance is 5678," says Nicola.

VERA FISHER, 41

LINE DANCING INSTRUCTOR

"I'm wearing a normal black denim shirt and Levi's which I've customised - I've sewn fringing down the side seam of the jeans and used iron-on diamante on the shirt. I started line dancing when I split up with my husband and three years on I'm an instructor. I have also helped choreograph a dance which has been No1 in the line dancing chart."

ROGER PHIPPS, "WRONG SIDE OF 50"

BUS DRIVER

"I normally wear jeans, a colourful shirt and cowboy boots - and a hat but not when it's hot. I thought I had two left feet until I tried line dancing, but it's quite easy - you just go with the flow. I now dance three times a week. I prefer country and western music to the disco pop music which seems to be becoming more popular."

CHRISTINE DEDMAN, 40, AND KEVIN DEDMAN, 38

OWN RUNNING BEAR COUNTRY & WESTERN SHOP, ILFORD, ESSEX (TEL: 0181 514 0919)

"Our shirts are by Brooks and Dunn - the Versace of country and western gear. We stock them and they cost around pounds 50. Our straw hats are by Stetson, about pounds 45 (tel: 0171 627 2414). We started line dancing about three years ago and couldn't find any decent clothes so we started selling to friends and at classes and it took off from there."

TERESA LAWRENCE, 31

LINE DANCING TEACHER

"I used to go to aerobics and the instructor decided to take up line dancing, I went with her and haven't looked back. My black felt hat covered in diamante brooches is my trademark. It cost about pounds 30. The brooches I have collected from my travels. I've customised my shirt with crystal buttons and I ironed diamantes onto my rodeo belt."

VERA PHIPPS, 43

HOUSEWIFE

"I bought this outfit from a stall at a country and western club - it cost about pounds 40, plus pounds 40 for the red suede boots. I've jazzed them up with feathers from a duster. My hat is from Ken Western and the badges are from places I've visited. My husband started dancing and I followed, but I dress like this all the time. I like to be different."

CAROL PURTON, 32, LARRY HAYDEN, 32

LINE DANCING INSTRUCTORS

"I've been teaching line dancing for seven years. I usually wear jeans - they're easy to do kicks in. My hat came from Mexico," says Carol.

"My wardrobe's become more country and western. I wear a Stetson, but not when I'm teaching - it's too hot," says Larry.

ROGER STEINBERG, 56, BILL PURTON, 39

BT ENGINEER; PAINTER AND DECORATOR

"I've been line dancing for about five years. Most of the time I help Carol with the promotional side of running the club," says Roger.

"I met Carol at a disco class - we've been married 12 years. I accompany her to classes, carry her equipment and generally help out," says Bill.

SUSIE GURNETT, 48

TEACHES BEGINNERS' LINE DANCING (ABOVE AND BOTTOM)

"I usually wear a T-shirt, trousers and cowboy boots. I bought this pair (below) in Las Vegas for pounds 50 - the leather's soft so they are really comfortable. I like clothes that are easy to wear and anything that has glitter and sparkle. I started dancing because I love the music; now I go to friends' houses in the morning, we dance then go out for lunch."

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