Dolly Parton: A Timeline Of Her Fashion & Hair

Having been crowned the Queen of Country, Dolly Parton is iconic. Being best known for her amazing songwriting skills and her emotional songs, she is also famous for the persona she created for herself. Dressed in tassels, glitter, revealing necklines, and, more importantly, a wig, Dolly Parton’s style has become a recognizable brand. But what is the story behind it?

Image Credits: Getty Images / Ian Gavan | Dolly Parton performs on the Pyramid Stage during Day 3 of the Glastonbury Festival.


DOLLY PARTON: A LEGEND

Not only is Dolly Parton a very talented artist, but she is also often praised for her honesty and caring nature. Being an individual who has used her voice to bring awareness to many issues and help those in need, Dolly Parton is still, at the age of 74, as relevant as she was in the ‘70s.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Michael Ochs Archives | Country singer Dolly Parton poses for a portrait in 1965 in Nashville, Tennessee.

With a career spanning over five decades, Parton is one of the most-honored woman country performers of all time, counting with dozens of Gold Record, Platinum Record, or Multi-Platinum Record titles, as well as with nine Grammy Awards. As if that wasn’t enough, she was inducted to sixteen different Halls of Fame and was recognized by the Guinness World Records.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Michael Putland | American country singer-songwriter Dolly Parton in London, 1983.


THE COUNTRY QUEEN IS ALSO THE QUEEN OF HER OWN FASHION STYLE

Being probably one of the most recognizable women in the world, Dolly Parton’s style has evolved throughout the years, however, her larger-than-life hair and her bedazzled clothes have remained the two basics she always goes back to. But what made Dolly become a doll herself?

Image Credits: Getty Images / Ron Davis | Dolly Parton.

One of the times she was asked who she looks like, Dolly Parton’s immediate response what “Well, a clown?” However, she did open up about the real story of how she got inspired to look at how she looks, and you may not be expecting who her fashion idol and muse was.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Daily Mirror / Mirrorpix | Dolly Parton.


A STYLE MUSE NOT MANY EXPECT

Parton later explained that there was a lady in her hometown who used to be called “the town tramp”. According to the singer, there was a lady that used to walk up and down the streets with massive hair and a full face of make-up, paired with heels, who she thought to be beautiful.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Michael Ochs Archives | Country singer Dolly Parton performs onstage wearing a yellow dress in circa 1975 in Los Angeles, California.

Dolly realized right there and then that this is who she wanted to be like when she grew up, and according to her that is exactly what she did when she became a singer. She did stick to her guns about this, she still, to this day, shows up looking amazing, with her big hair and her perfect make-up.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection | Musician Dolly Parton and sister Actress Rachel Dennison attend the 1983 Carousel of Hope Ball to Benefit the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes.


A STYLE AS A BRAND AND AS PART OF HERSELF

Unfortunately, not everyone is a fan of Dolly Parton’s dolled-up look, and one of her close friends, Chet Atkins, has even tried to convince her to change the way she presents herself in order for her to be taken more seriously. For those of you who are fans of Parton, you can guess that was a mistake on Atkins’ part.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Keystone | Country music queen Dolly Parton.

“I can’t separate the two. This is who I am,’” Dolly told Atkins. She explained that she didn’t want to water her look down and that what was more important was her work, not her looks. She was candid about her interest in looking the way that made her feel happy and comfortable, rather than looking like everyone else.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Margaret Norton / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal | Musical guest Dolly Parton performs on August 31, 1995.


WHAT HAVE THE CRITICS HAD TO SAY ABOUT DOLLY’S STYLE?

Since the beginning of her career, Dolly Parton had to deal with the comments of people who would call her a “dumb blonde”, however, she would never take it personally. In fact, Parton has once said that she didn't take these comments in an offensive way, especially because she knew she wasn't blonde and, more importantly, not dumb.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection | Musicians Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton attend The RP Foundation Fighting Blindness Humanitarian Award Dinner Honoring Frank Bennack, Jr. on April 19, 1988.

Nevertheless, looking the way she looks, there have been several people throughout the decades calling her out or making less than nice comments about her fashion choices. The good thing is that on top of being a star, Dolly Parton is also very sure of herself and confident about herself, so of course, she always had something to say.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Paul Harris | Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris photographed April 9, 1987 Hollywood , Los Angeles, California.


HER RESPONSE? ICONIC!

During an interview with Billboard, Dolly Parton mentioned that she had to go against the grain and the opinions of others to be able to just be herself, admitting that she truly believes that everyone should be able to enjoy who they are and the way they look, without having to deal with negative comments from others.

Image Credits: Getty Images / David Redfern / Redferns | Singer Dolly Parton.

In another interview with Elle, Parton said that her main characteristics are “flashy” and “flamboyant”, concluding that she was glad she was born a girl but, if she wasn’t, it wouldn’t be a problem as she could have just been a drag queen instead. Parton has always been confident about her artificial look, which complements her real self.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Jerry Fitzgerald / Walt Disney Television | Oprah Winfrey and Dolly Parton on 'Dolly,' in 1987.


THE EVOLUTION OF DOLLY PARTON’S FASHION

While she started her career looking like any other country singer but with a more candid fling to it, Parton’s fashion style kept evolving throughout the years. The hair kept getting bigger, the clothes tighter, and the outfits more bedazzled with rhinestones and tassels.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Richard Martin-Roberts / Redferns | Dolly Parton performs on stage at the Echo Arena on June 8, 2014 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

What never changed was her beautiful personality and outlook on life, love, work, and people in general. Whenever she is asked about the way she looks, Parton always has a funny remark to say, but also always completes it with some type of candid comment about loving the way she looks.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Rick Diamond | Dolly Parton: Pure & Simple Benefiting The Opry Trust Fund at Ryman Auditorium on August 1, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.


1974: THE BEGINNING

In 1974, Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” became a national hit, and she was catapulted to stardom. Along with that, she would become one of the most iconic country singers, not only because of her voice but because of her looks. Here we can see her rocking a bedazzled black outfit with her well-known blond wig.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer | Dolly Parton in 1974.


1975: THE GIRL NEXT DOOR

Embracing her country looks (and hat), Dolly gave us the “girl next door” style for several years, and here we can see a picture of her sporting a polka dot shirt with her cowgirl hat and jeans. We can even bet that she is wearing some cowgirl boots to go along with it!

Image Credits: Getty Images / Silver Screen Collection | Dolly Parton in 1975.


1977: A MORE FEMININE LOOK

Invited for the American Music Awards back in 1977 with her first nomination for Best Country Female in this competition, Dolly Parton was seen with a more feminine and gentle outfit, even though it was still paired with a tassel jacket - you can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl!

Image Credits: Getty Images / Ron Galella | Dolly Parton in 1977.


1978: THE FLOWER QUEEN

Parton kept on trying to have her feminine looks and curves as the centerpiece of her style. With a skintight green jumpsuit with flowy sleeves and filled with colorful flowers, the singer looked like she was just out of a fairy party. This was also the year she appeared on the cover of Playboy magazine!

Image Credits: Getty Images / Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection | Dolly Parton in 1978.


1979: AN UNUSUAL COLOR

For those of you that are big fans of Dolly, you may have noticed that she tends to stick to black or white outfits, however, in 1979 the singer decided to take a leap and pick a bright yellow outfit with Spanish-influences. During this year, the singer received the Proclamation of the city of Los Angeles.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection | Dolly Parton in 1979.


1980: NINE TO FIVE

While she is best known as a singer, Dolly Parton took part in several movies and made a name for herself in the film industry. In 1980, the movie “9 to 5” which counted as one of her most popular songs was released, and Dolly could be seen in a dreamy pink dress covered with white delicate lace.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Tom Wargacki / WireImage | Dolly Parton in 1980.


1983: THE LONDON PERFORMANCE

Is there anything that screams “Dolly Parton” more than golden tassels? What about a full gown covered in glistening golden trinkets? That is what the singer decided to wear to a performance at The Dominion Theatre in London, where she enchanted whoever gazed upon her. 

Image Credits: Getty Images / Pete Still / Redferns | Dolly Parton in 1983.


1987: THE LEOPARD

Being unafraid of following the trends in her own way, Dolly Parton stunned the viewers of the television series “Dolly” when she walked into the scene with a leopard outfit and matching headband. With a wig that followed the hair trend in the ‘80s, she looked incredible!

Image Credits: Getty Images / Walt Disney Television | Paul Reubens (as Pee Wee Herman) and Dolly Parton.


1988: CASUAL DOLLY

While she has spent decades giving us fancy and intricate outfits, Dolly Parton can also be casual. Over the years she has shown that while she doesn’t need to be in her show-girl outfits all the time, she will still keep true to her country fashion.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Kevin Winter / DMI / The LIFE Picture Collection | Dolly Parton in 1988.


1989: GIVING A BREAK TO THE TASSELS

During a certain period of her career, especially in the late 80s, Dolly Parton started using more casual and comfortable clothes, as opposed to the skintight dresses she had gotten the fans used to. Here we can see a portrait where the centerpiece is her incredible wig, paired with a simple jumper.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Aaron Rapoport / Corbis | Dolly Parton in 1989.


1990: THE COMEBACK OF THE TASSELS

Nevertheless, the casual looks didn’t last long, and soon enough the 90s brought us the shinning Dolly that we love so much. During an appearance at the Tonight Show, Dolly wore once again her beautifully worked outfits, covered in shiny materials, and paired with her long red nails and bigger-than-life wig.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Paul DrinkwaterNBC / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal | Dolly Parton in 1990.


1992: CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND

Throughout the years we have been blessed with several Christmas albums where Dolly sings songs of joy that warm up our homes. In 1992, she decided to do a photoshoot where she used Christmas as her inspiration, with a white outfit covered in silver tassels that remind us of snow, along with the puff shoulders.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Ron Davis | Dolly Parton in 1992.


1995: THE ‘60S NEVER ENDED

While the “9 to 5” singer has admitted herself she would never stoop as low as being fashionable, she does enjoy some thematic clothes, as seen above. During a performance in 1995, Dolly showed up with a full-on 60s look, complete with the floral patterns, the teased hair, and the matching headband!

Image Credits: Getty Images / Ron Davis | Dolly Parton in 1995.


1998: KEEPING UP WITH THE TIMES

With the millennium coming to an end, fashion across the world started to look more galactic and many clothes were made to resemble something extraterrestrials would wear. That is precisely what Dolly Parton was wearing at an episode of the Tonight Show in 1998. 

Image Credits: Getty Images / Margaret Norton / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal | Dolly Parton in 1998.


1999: A CHANGE IN THE HAIR

Known for her curly blond wigs that she has been using for decades, there was a time in the late 90s that Dolly Parton started changing her hairdo. While she has admitted that she has dozens of curly wigs and that those are her favorite, sometimes she would be seen with straight hair.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Margaret Norton / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal | Dolly Parton in 1999.


2001: BACK TO BASICS

While Dolly Parton is not afraid of experimenting with new types of clothing, as long as they still represent who she is as an artist, she does tend to return to the outfits she feels comfortable with. The tight small dresses that showcase her curves with some rhinestones and flowing fabric details are some of her go-to looks.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Paul Drinkwater / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal | Jay Leno and Dolly Parton in 2001.


2002: BRITNEY SPEARS GOES TO OKTOBERFEST

At the beginning of the 2000s, it was common to see different types of styles emerging among celebrities, some of them were great, some not so much. In this picture from 2002, we can see Dolly wearing a wig that resembles the hair of early video clips from Britney Spears, along with a dress following German traditional style.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Albert L. Ortega / WireImage | Dolly Parton in 2002.


2003: THE STARS AND TASSELS

Returning to her original looks is something that Dolly tends to do, but always with a modern twist. We have seen her before with white dresses and silver rhinestones and tassels, however, in this picture we can see the use of different fabrics that complement the overall look.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Jean-Paul Aussenard / WireImage | Dolly Parton in 2003.


2006: A CLASSY LADY

Even though many people don’t understand the fashion sense of Dolly Parton, she is someone who is versatile while remaining true to her brand. In this picture, we can see her in the wonderful gown she wore for the 78th Annual Academy Awards, where she was a nominee.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Chris Polk / FilmMagic | Dolly Parton in 2006.


2007: THE YELLOW MAKES A COMEBACK

Looking as stunning as ever at the 38th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Ceremony, Dolly Parton is seen once again wearing a yellow outfit. This time covered in her signature rhinestones and giving her the country-singer look she tends to follow more recently.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Stephen Lovekin / WireImage | Dolly Parton in 2007.


2009: PINK TENDS TO BE THE CHOICE FOR BIG EVENTS

As seen before, Dolly Parton is quite a fan of light pink gowns for formal events and, while in the past she would probably have opted for a more extravagant look, at the 63rd Annual Tony Awards, Dolly opted for a flowy and delicate dress. Her wig is also following the trend of the 2000s.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Kevin Mazur / WireImage | Dolly Parton in 2009.


2011: A ROCK STAR ARISES

It isn’t unlike Dolly to make some bold fashion choices, and that is exactly what happened when she attended the VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul in 2011. Wearing a black and white ensemble, complete with the flame designs and rhinestones, Dolly looked incredible!

Image Credits: Getty Images / Larry Busacca | Dolly Parton in 2011.


2012: A CLASS ACT

Being the queen of versatility, Dolly can look like a rebel, a country star, and even a First Lady if she wishes to. At the premiere of “Joyful Noise” in 2012, she could be seen with a two-piece suit, complete with rhinestone transparent gloves. 

Image Credits: Getty Images / Alberto E. Rodriguez | Dolly Parton in 2012.


2014: CLASHING PATTERNS

Many people are completely against clashing patterns, be it in interior decoration, or in fashion. Dolly Parton has shown time and again that you can wear at least four different patterns (and textures) and still look amazing, as we can see below!

Image Credits: Getty Images / Larry Busacca | Dolly Parton in 2014.


2015: A COAT OF MANY COLORS

Being one of her most popular songs, “A Coat Of Many Colors” tells the story of how her mother would make do and allow her children to live life without the constraints of poverty. Below we can see Dolly and her sister Stella at the premiere of the movie with the same name.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Jason LaVeris / FilmMagic | Dolly Parton and sister Stella in 2015.


2018: THE MODERN DOLLY

Throughout the years we have seen Dolly showing that you can wear whatever you want and still be a star. From tassels and rhinestones to classy outfits, the queen of the country has changed her style over the decades. Something that always remained was her blond wig(s)!

Image Credits: Getty Images / Kevin Winter | Dolly Parton in 2018.


FROM NATURAL HAIR TO A WIG: WHAT HAPPENED?

The image we have today of Dolly Parton’s hair is not the same it has always been. In fact, she has since admitted that she did not always wear wigs, saying that “I used to try to keep my own hair teased as big as I like it, and having the bleach and all of that, it just broke off.”

Image Credits: Getty Images / Jason Merritt | Actress Dolly Parton arrives at the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' "Joyful Noise" held at Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

She continued that, “I thought, ‘Why am I going through all that? Why don’t I just wear wigs? That way, I never have a bad hair day! I have a big hair day, but not a bad hair day.” And so she did! For the past decades, Parton has been wearing the big blonde wigs we all know her for.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Kevin Mazur | Dolly Parton performs onstage MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Dolly Parton at Los Angeles Convention Center.


HOW MANY WIGS DOES SHE HAVE?

If you look at her videos, concerts, and even pictures, you will notice that her hair is not always the same, which indicates that Dolly has several wigs to pick and chose from on a daily basis. She was once asked about the real number of wigs she owns and, just like she always does, Parton cracked a joke.

Image Credits: Getty Images / John Shearer | Dolly Parton attends the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

"Well, I wear one about every day," Dolly Parton said, "so I must have at least 365." While we may never know how many wigs Dolly hides in her home, we do know what type of hair she likes. “I like the curls. I like the different ones,” the singer-songwriter once admitted.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Timothy Norris / WireImage | Dolly Parton attends Dolly Parton Town Hall Program at The GRAMMY Museum on February 06, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.


BUT, WHAT DOES HER REAL HAIR LOOK LIKE?

As mentioned before, Dolly has not always worn wigs, however, due to the constant dying and back brushing, she had to find another method to not damage her hair any further. This means that, if we have a look at old pictures of Parton, we might actually be able to see what her hair looked like.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Mark Seliger / ABC | Singer Dolly Parton.

The Jolene-singer has shared a throwback picture on her Instagram account where it seems that she is sporting her real hair. While it could also be a wig, back in the day there were no lace front wigs, so it is probable that this is just her natural hair backcombed in order to have all that country-volume.


DID YOU KNOW THAT DOLLY DOESN’T ALWAYS WEAR WIGS?

Yes, that’s true! Even though there are many people who are close to her that have never seen her without one, Dolly has admitted that “I don’t always wear [wigs] in my daily life, but I always still poof up my hair. I still like to have that flashy hair.”

Image Credits: Getty Images / Jason Kempin | Dolly Parton attends the Netflix Premiere of Dolly Parton's "Heartstrings" on October 29, 2019 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

“When I’m around the home, I wear my little scrunchies,” the singer explained in an interview. “I always put on some makeup and fix my own hair as cute as I can fix it. Wigs are just so handy. I’m so busy, and I have so many choices. I never have a bad hair day, and that’s a good thing.” 

Image Credits: Getty Images / Lloyd Bishop / NBC / NBCU Photo Bank | Singer Dolly Parton during an interview with host Seth Meyers on November 21, 2019.


WHAT DOES DOLLY HAVE TO SAY ABOUT HER STYLE?

“I have never thought of myself as being fashionable,” the singer once said. However, she did indeed become a fashion icon. In fact, back in 2014 Vogue released an article titled “Why Dolly Parton Doesn't Need Fashion (And Why Fashion Desperately Needs Dolly).”

Image Credits: Getty Images / Taylor Hill | Dolly Parton attends the 53nd annual CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena on November 13, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee.

One of Dolly’s most popular quotes about her fashion sense is “It costs a lot of money to look this cheap,” and we believe that she was saying the truth. The singer also admitted once that she used Elton John as her fashion inspiration, so we all know what these two singers have in common: the love for flashiness.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Nathan Congleton / NBC / NBCU Photo Bank | Dolly Parton on Wednesday, November 20, 2019.


DOLLY PARTON’S STYLE, BUT AVAILABLE FOR EVERYONE

The singer has shared that she has made a deal with IMG in order to create and develop a fashion and jewelry collection. Not only that, but Dolly has admitted that she might also launch a line for home wear. Who wouldn’t want a mug with Dolly’s face on it?

Image Credits: Getty Images / Harry Langdon | Dolly Parton.

While there still aren’t many details about when the collections will be available, there have been some rumors that Dolly and her partners will be able to launch over 300 outfits per year. We can only wait and see what type of clothes will be available, and hopefully be able to bring out the Dolly in us!

Image Credits: Getty Images / CBS Photo Archive | Dolly Parton.

What do you think about Dolly Parton’s style? Is it too much? Or is it not enough? Let us know in the comments below which was your favorite outfit from the singer and make sure to share this story with your friends!

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