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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?
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.
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.
Being probably the most recognizable woman 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?
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 how she looks, and you may not be expecting who her fashion idol and muse was.
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 a massive hair and a full face of make-up, paired with heels, who she thought to be beautiful.
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.
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.
“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 about looking the way that made her feel happy and comfortable, rather than looking like everyone else.
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 a blonde and, more importantly, not dumb.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 not always wore 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.”
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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 back combed in order to have all that country-volume.
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.”
“When I’m around 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.”
“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).”
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.
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!