Dolly Parton's Most Memorable Fashion Moments
| LAST UPDATE 10/17/2021
Whether she's sporting neon colors or a bedazzled gown, many believe that the fashion world has singer-songwriter, Dolly Parton, to thank for the invention of country-glamour. Take a look as we unveil her style secrets.
A Bedazzled Beauty
When Dolly took the stage at the Country Music Festival in 1976, she sent U.K. fans swooning. Parton beamed in a bedazzled baby pink outfit. The turtleneck top had bling trailing from the neck and down the sleeves.
The country singer completed her outfit with matching pants, large hoop earrings, and her classic larger-than-life hairstyle. As eight of her hit country singles landed number one spots, it became clear to the world that Dolly Parton was a shining star on the rise.
The country and western singer performed live at the Bottom Line club in New York in 1977. Parton took the stage in an elegant pink gown embellished with sequins and sheer sleeves. With rosy cheeks and a large hairdo, Dolly sang while fans fell more in love with her lyrics and look.
The singer didn't just play the guitar. Many of her musical talents were put on display during most of her performances. Dolly also jammed out on the banjo, saxophone, and a variety of percussion instruments. It's hard to say what was more impressive, her musical abilities or her extensive closet!
A Sunshine Star
If there were a human embodiment of sunshine, it would probably be Dolly Parton. In 1978, the singer won a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for her Here You Come Again album. To celebrate, she commenced in a portrait session in Los Angeles, California, where she hails from.
Dolly's shining smile and bubbly personality, matched with her love for yellow pieces in her wardrobe, helped her stand out from the crowd. Aside from eye-catching outfits, Parton nearly always sported a fresh manicure. Her nails have eternally been adorned in red or pink.
Glitz and Glam
Parton had the honor of being the first woman to host the Country Music Awards in 1988. And, she took over the Nashville stage wearing the epitome of glam! The fashion icon once said, "If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, then you are an excellent leader."
And what a stylish leader Parton became! Covered from head to toe in sparkling diamonds, Dolly wore large dangling earrings that matched her glitzy dress. The dress's cream underlay was covered in an elaborate pattern of gems, rhinestones, and sequins. To top it off, it had shimmering tassels hanging from her shoulders.
Dolly certainly did not shy away from statement pieces. In fact, in 1992, she took to the stage in a brassiere contraption made of two huge cones. Channeling her inner Madonna at the Brady Theater in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Parton sang and shined all night long!
In recent years, other stars have hopped on the bra-over-clothes train. For example, Parton fan Katy Perry sported a cupcake bra in her "California Girls" music video. Dolly once joked, "I was the first woman to burn my bra. It took the fire department four days to put it out." We imagine she was referencing this unique attire!
Rocking the Flag
In 1991, Dolly wore an American flag dress on the Oprah Winfrey Show in Chicago. With a blue sleeve of white stars, the dress's off-the-shoulder neckline donned red and white stripes. Showing fans that she was an American princess even back then, Parton's performance was heightened with a beautiful white guitar.
A simple pencil skirt complimented the dress's patriotic top. Dolly's red nails, lipstick, and earrings were the perfect details to finish off the elegant outfit. Parton showed off her fun personality in her clothing choices, and this one, as intriguing as it was, was nothing compared to the rest of her closet.
The country star had one of the most extravagant closets the world had ever seen. And, Dolly had the personality to match! In 1992, the blonde beauty wore an angelic body-hugging dress for a studio portrait in Lake Tahoe, California. The ensemble had large fluffy shoulders and pearl embellishments.
With light purple eyeshadow and dangling pearl earrings, Parton proved yet again that her closet was full of show stoppers. Parton's style choices are all hers, but when it came to her iconic hair that completed every look, Dolly said: "People always ask me how long it takes to do my hair. I don't know. I'm never there."
Dazzling in Dollywood
Dolly once told People Magazine, "When I first started seeing the Hollywood sign, I kept thinking how cute it would be if I could change the H to a D." The singer had a goal and didn't stop until she accomplished it. Shortly after came the ideation, creation, and eventual grand opening of the Dollywood theme park in Tennessee.
In 1993, Parton welcomed beloved fans as she walked onto the stage at the theme park's 8th grand opening. She wore a dazzling red dress with white and black geographic patterns and matching jewelry. Dollywood quickly became known as "The friendliest town in the Smokies," as Parton continued to capture hearts in the red number.
Sparkling in Scotland
Not only has Parton sold-out show after show throughout the years, but she's worn a different colored outfit to nearly every performance! In Scotland, in 2011, Parton danced across the stage in a lime green dress with golden sparkles and tassels. No stranger to standing out from the crowd, many have wondered how she does it.
As it turns out, Dolly is the 4th of twelve children in her family! This meant that growing up, Parton had to fight for the spotlight. And, she must have done something right, because to this day, fans can't get enough of the talented star! The singer has no trouble sharing the stage, as long as her outfits aren't over-shined.
A Vision in Blue
Whether Parton is decked out in a rainbow of color, rhinestones, or eccentric attire, she made sure to express herself as much as possible. At her 2008 show at the O2 Arena in London, Britain, Dolly rocked the stage in a bright blue outfit. Her sweetheart neckline dress was paired with a long-sleeve sheer bedazzled overlay.
And, in true Dolly-style, sequins and sparkle covered the ensemble. No matter the day, the country singer dressed to the nines. "It's a good thing I was born a girl; otherwise, I'd be a drag queen," Parton once said. It's pretty clear that she would glam it up no matter what.
"It's hard to be a diamond in a rhinestone world," Dolly once admitted. But she certainly shined like a jewel in an all-white ensemble at her 2014 performance at Glastonbury Festival in Australia. With her rhinestone-encrusted jumpsuit and embellished fingerless gloves, Parton's sparkle couldn't be missed.
Her guitar even had designs that complemented the look. The bottom half of her jumpsuit was unique. From the thigh down, the material turned sheer and was covered in pinstriped gems. Dolly remembered this performance as "One of my biggest successes," and the outfit as "All the glamour of a dress [with the mobility of pants]."
Charming Country Style
No matter if Dolly is wearing a plaid bedazzled dress or a casual blouse, there's an extremely high chance that she's sporting fingerless gloves beneath her long sleeves. You may not have noticed them before, as she typically wears a nude pair that matches her skin color. But, she isn't using them to make a fashion statement.
In interviews, Parton joked that she wears the gloves when she's cold and because, "They're cute." The star explained to Vanity Fair, "I have a tendency to have keloid scar tissue...So [my tattoos] are all pastels...and they're meant to cover some scars." If it makes Dolly happy, we're in. Tattoos and fingerless gloves it is!
Tonight Show Take Over
After charming Jimmy Fallon into the next century on the Tonight Show, Dolly took over the Rockefeller Center stage in 2016. In New York City, the country star stole hearts in a shimmering striped gold and silver dress. Her unique attire donned a V-neck neckline with a Y-shaped embellishment full of jewels.
If it weren't for her captivating voice, Dolly's beautiful dress would have stolen the show! With her bedazzled guitar in hand, Parton sang her way into the hearts of doting fans. The star sported a french tip manicure this time around, a significant change from her classic red and pink.
A Metallic Music Star
This metallic white number is one of few that have 3/4th sleeves instead of full-length. As mentioned earlier, Parton typically sticks to long sleeves to help cover up her tattoos and keloid scars. "My tattoos are pretty, they're artful, and they usually started out to cover some scar, not to make a big statement," said Dolly.
"Ribbons and bows and butterflies are the things that I have," she shared. Performing live in 2004 at The Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey, there's no denying that Dolly took over the state. With her shining outfit and red lips and nails, she dazzled across the stage in true Parton-style.
Rockin' in Radio City
Parton performed a song from "9 to 5: The Musical" on stage during the 63rd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City. She rocked the scene in 2009, wearing a baby blue dress with a thigh-high slit. The ensemble had many Dolly-approved details such as a V-neck collar, plenty of sparkle, and of course, long sleeves.
Parton explained the importance of her mobility on stage to Vogue. She noted that because she always moves around, gets on and off her stage stool, and loves to dance; dresses are often problematic for her to perform in. So, wherever she can throw in a slit, or flowing top over a pair of pants or long shorts, Dolly's in!
Although Dolly was performing in Sydney, with this bright number, she certainly brought sunshine to Australia! Parton performed at Allphones Arena in 2011, wearing what many believed to be a very fitting outfit for the show's location. Adorned in sparkling tassels and a skirt of sparkle, Dolly sang her heart out.
Looking like the sun itself, this bright yellow outfit was just one of many in Parton's large closet. It seemed that the color not only helped fans spot her from a mile away but brought her immense happiness according to her beaming smile! And, what's better than a performer who truly looks like they love their craft?
Smiling in Sequins
Dolly shined in a sunset-colored suit at the Songwriter's Hall of Fame. Covered from head to toe in sequins, Parton took over the red carpet. Not only was her fitted sport coat dazzled in sparkle, but the buttons, collar, and pockets surely stood out from the crowd. But that wasn't the only thing fans were looking at.
Dolly has come under fire for the amount of cosmetic surgery she's received over the years, but she doesn't seem to mind. In fact, Parton once said, "If I see something saggin', baggin', or draggin', I'm gone have it nipped, tucked, or sucked!" The self-loving singer has proved that the opinions of others do not affect her.
Tassels and Talents
Wearing a head-turning orange jumpsuit covered in trailing diamond tassels, Parton performed at an event that she planned herself. Parton put on the show to benefit Dolly's Imagination Library and the Dr. Robert F. Thomas Foundation in 2014. From the looks of it, the star seemed thrilled to be serenading her Tennessee fans.
The jaw-dropping performance was heightened to the max as Dolly showed off yet another one of her many talents: Playing the saxophone! And, her outfit wasn't the only thing enchanted in sparkle. The sax was also decked out in rhinestones — A very Dolly addition to the performance.
Rhinestones and Rainbows
Here, Parton's colorful dress paid homage to one of her most beloved songs, "Coat of Many Colors." The beaded rhinestone rainbow overlay can be seen as Dolly's fashion all wrapped up into one! "I love all that sparkle, and shine, and color," Dolly declared to Elle. And with this number, it's easy to see just what she meant.
The queen of color looked stunning in this rainbow criss-cross V-neck dress. "The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain!" Dolly once said. Whether the rain is a heel that's not high enough or a lost gem here or there, from the looks of it, Parton has made it a mission to weather any storm.
Reserved on the Red Carpet
For the 2018 premiere of Netflix's Dumplin in Hollywood, Dolly opted for a more reserved look. As she graced the red carpet, Parton wore a turtleneck geographic-patterned dress. But, don't think for a moment that this was any ordinary dress, because every inch of the black detail was, of course, covered in sequins!
The ensemble hugged the singer's curves and fit her like a glove. The premiere was one of the very few times Dolly sported a different hairstyle than her typical look. This time around, she opted for a ponytail, a rare sight! Nonetheless, Parton continued to yet again, capture the hearts of her fans.
The Greatest Showwoman
Parton was awarded the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award at the 51st Country Music Awards. She followed her acceptance with a memorable performance that left many fans in complete awe. She took over the MGM Grand Garden Arena in a color-blocked sparkle-filled sport coat.
"I'm old-school," Parton has said. "If you're going on stage, you should look like a star!" Dolly wore an outfit that reminded onlookers of something familiar. Before the end of her performance, fans viewed her in all of her glory. She channeled her inner greatest showwoman and had the entire arena on its feet.
Parton's Peach Sensation
Parton delighted the audience at the 23rd Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2017. Her country-glamour style was perfectly displayed with this beaded, lacy peach ensemble. A possibly more reserved glam look for the singer, Dolly accessorized her outfit with a simple and elegant diamond necklace and bold statement rings.
The dress's bottom had a sheer cut-out ranging from mid-thigh to the floor, showing off the star's toned legs. The fabric's diamond-studded detail continued down the dress's skirt, giving an optical illusion of longer legs. With her bright smile and perfectly curled hair, Parton addressed her audience in style.
Shimmering on Stage
Many of Parton's performance attire included some variant of a statement piece vest. Dolly completed many of her looks with this iconic style, whether it was neon-colored or decked out in shimmering glitter. At "A Night In Nashville With Dolly Parton" in 2014, the star opted for a white and black outfit.
Over a white blouse, Dolly sported a black vest that was completely covered in gems and jewels. Many fans have wondered if the star will ever get tired of shining this brightly, but from the looks of it, we surely don't think so! But why only wear a vest covered in glitter when she could wear an entire decked-out dress?
Gleaming in Glitter
"I feel glamorous on the inside, so I want to look like it on the outside," Dolly exclaimed. At the O2 Arena, she performed in a gleaming gold dress that was donned in glitter at every stitch. With a gold-jeweled neckline and sleeves, Dolly fully embraced the shining attire.
Parton wanted fans to remember that despite her legacies, she was just like any other gal. "I look just like the girls next door…if you happen to live next door to an amusement park," she joked. Although her closet is full of more embellished options than a typical person, Dolly's shining personality and values take the cake.
Parton's Patchwork Suit
At a press conference in Sydney, Australia, Dolly sported a different kind of outfit than her typical glitz and glam. This time around, she wore a unique patchwork suit. The jacket closed, not with buttons, but with a corset-style tie. And on the bottom half? The fanciest patchwork shorts we have ever seen!
With a belt detail of several trains of pearls and adorable bows on the sides of her legs, Parton wowed fans yet again. This time, she was tapping into more of the country-side of country-glam. And many of her Australian fans adored the look! Was this a new style direction for the star?
Rocking the Red Carpet
When it came time to walk the red carpet at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards, Dolly's fashion — bust-baring and unapologetically tight — served as her secret weapon. "I look like a woman, but I think like a man," said Parton. "And in this world of business, that has helped me a lot," she continued.
How? Might you be wondering? Well, Dolly got right to the point, saying: "By the time they think that I don't know what's goin' on, I got the money, and I'm gone!" Her rockin' red number was decked out in ruffles and stones, but was it all for show or worn in the name of great fashion?
A Statement Piece Vest
In 2014, Dolly took over the stage in Auckland, New Zealand, wearing a bright pink dress with a diamond-filled hem. She completed her outfit with a vest that possibly had more gems on it than we've seen in one place before! Paired with one of her favorite necklaces, Parton captured the hearts of many.
"It takes a lot of time and money to look this cheap…I would never stoop so low as to be fashionable," said Dolly. We don't exactly know what she was talking about because Parton has repeatedly proven that she's a priceless star! Whether she's decked out in glam or reeled back, many believe she remains chic yet spunky.
Texture and Tassles
Wearing a fabulously textured suit, Dolly performed on stage and live on TV on NBC's Today. The 2014 show displayed Parton's ability to mix and match stripes, polka-dots, and trailing tassels, all while looking fabulous. Completed with bell sleeves and a statement tie, the singer rocked Rockefeller Plaza.
As a star with one of the most eccentric stage presences in history, Dolly expressed her excitement with every lyric. She sang, played banjo, and had the entire audience dancing on their feet. When it comes to keeping her audience happy, Parton taps into her southern charm, showing fans that she's a born natural.
A Country Classic
Dolly wore a showstopper to the 51st Country Music Awards in 2016. This time, the country singer-songwriter opted for a glamorous gown with a sweetheart neckline and sheer overlay. Many onlookers immediately noticed that Parton showed way more arm than usual, despite the full dress being covered in lace and rhinestone detail.
But, fans still couldn't spot the musician's tattoos as her fingerless gloves spanned from her hands to her shoulders. So, the only thing the sheer overlay showed off was the nude color of her favorite staple accessory. But, most onlookers weren't disappointed, as her undeniable beauty became the talk of the town.
Coat Of Many Colors
At the premiere of her song-turned movie, Dolly Parton's Coat Of Many Colors, Parton wore, you guessed it, a coat of many (many) colors! Per IMDb, the film showed Dolly "Overcoming devastating tragedy and discovering the healing power of love, faith, and a raggedy patchwork coat that helped make [her] who she is today."
Whether she's wearing ten different colors or a bedazzled gown, many believe that the best accessory in Dolly's closet is her contagious smile. Parton's tried and true opinion? Simply, "Smile! It increases your face value!" And that it does, especially when attached to a talented and accomplished icon like Dolly Parton.