Sadie Rucker talks the art of thrifting, the cowgirl aesthetic and her perfect day in KC.

Photography by Brandon Waldrop.

When Sadie Rucker sits down for our interview, she is wearing silver-tipped Western boots, Sasson denim jeans and a cropped quilted jacket, and she’s carrying a handbag in the shape of a chicken. Almost the entire outfit is thrifted, yet every piece fits her body like a glove. She has the look of a modern-day Dolly Parton (partly due to her long shaggy blonde hair), but Rucker’s Western style is not just an aesthetic. Her blue-collar roots and down-to-earth style show when I tell her I’m going to record our conversation.

“I cuss a lot,” she replies. “Hope that’s okay.”

 Rucker was born and raised an hour south of Kansas City in Greeley, Kansas, where pearl-snap shirts, denim and cowboy boots were the norm for her and her hometown peers. Her best friend and father, Leon Lickteig, raised white-tailed deer on their family ranch. In true small-town fashion, there were only forty-two kids in her entire school.

Needless to say, growing up with her brother and being raised by their father in a rural Kansas town, fashion just wasn’t a priority for much of Rucker’s younger years. But she says she always found elegance in the workin’ man’s wardrobe.

“My uncle Steve was a steel worker,” she says. “He would wear dark denim jeans and cowboy boots. I remember being little and loving the way he would cuff his jeans over his boots.” 

Rucker’s style can be described as Western prairie girl with a hint of ’70s glam. Her closet is highly curated, but she ultimately credits her refined style to learning “the art of thrifting.” The best finds are in the men’s and boy’s sections, she says.

Her love for the secondhand clothing hunt was bred out of necessity. Shopping for new clothes was never an option growing up, Rucker says. Nevertheless, it’s a disservice to put Rucker into the “small-town girl” box. 

“Back home, everyone thinks I’m super-city, but people up here think I’m a hillbilly,” says the hairstylist. “So why not be a cake eater? I’ll live in the city, own a salon, but also own cows and a Shetland pony.”

When asked if she ever feels too “done up” returning to her hometown with her faux fur coats, turquoise jewelry and chic style, Rucker maintains a firm “no.” She compares her dedication to fashion to finding one’s faith.

“I am so passionate about it because it took me a long time to find out how to do this,” Rucker says. 

Her journey as a hair stylist opened her up to being “feminine and girly” and helped her experiment and learn how to dress for her body shape, creating balanced day-to-day looks. 

American Honey (6630 Martway St., Mission, KS) is the name of Rucker’s salon she co-opened last month in Mission. You can find it by looking for the massive mural of a cowgirl riding a bronco. If you’re looking through her curated collection of vintage clothing, Lil’ Sadie Vintage, located in her salon, and find a piece you’re not sure if you’re comfortable rocking, let Rucker’s sage advice provide clarity: “Express yourself. Who gives a shit?”  

Perfect Day

Coffee: Urban Prairie is where I go every morning. They’re so nice and take care of me. I call them, they know exactly what I want, and my drink is sitting there waiting for me. They know me by name and always comment on my outfits. I get a dirty chai with oat milk, sometimes a double if I’m fatigued. 

Post-work Drink: I love taking people after work to The Primrose. I love going in there, getting a good cocktail and chatting with someone. It’s so intimate, and the owner, Abby, is so sweet and kind. She loves having me and whoever I’m dragging in there. I love the Aloe Refresher cocktail because of the rosemary.

Consignment Store: Lulu’s Boutique off Johnson Drive. I love popping in there and buying some consignment vintage from the owner, Jenny. Sometimes I go in there just to hang out with her because I love her so much. She also sells local makers there. She’s been such a huge help in my journey of owning a business in Mission.

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