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Though Dolly Parton does not consider herself fashionable, she embraces a particular, over-the-top style. She shared that she doesn’t value expensive clothing when looking for new clothing items. Instead, Parton would rather find thriftier ways to dress well. She gave her thoughts on expensive clothing and building a signature style.

Dolly Parton wears a white rhinestoned dress and sings into a microphone. She holds a guitar.
Dolly Parton | Pete Still/Redferns

Dolly Parton based her style on a woman in her hometown

Parton knew exactly how she wanted to dress from a young age. She based her look on a woman in her hometown.

“My own overexaggerated look came from a serious place I’ve often spoken about: the town tramp in our little country hometown,” she told WSJ Magazine. “They called her trash, but to me she was absolutely beautiful. She wore colorful patchwork skirts and pretty blouses and showed a little cleavage and had red nails and piled-up blond hair and red lipstick and high heels. She was the prettiest thing I’d ever seen. When everybody would say, ‘Oh, she’s just trash,’ I’d say, ‘Well, trash is what I’m going to grow up to be.’ And I guess my look is glamorous trash!”

Parton has demonstrated this style for years, embracing rhinestones and bright colors. 

She doesn’t like to spend too much money on clothing

Parton’s style may be over-the-top, but she doesn’t go for items with a high price tag.

“I think people should do what’s best for them and not try to be fashionable and not try to dress like this one or that one,” she told Glamour. “I’m too stingy to be fashionable. Ain’t no way I’m going to spend the kind of money some people do, to spend $2,000 on one coat when I could buy 14 for the same money and in different colors! I don’t care because I like them, no matter what the cost.”

She says that she likes to find clothing she likes rather than the most fashionable, exorbitantly priced items.

“I just think everybody should base how they live in this world with what they’re comfortable with,” she said. “I may make some people uncomfortable with the way I look because of their ideas about fashion and beauty. But if I’m comfortable in myself, not only in my own skin but in my own clothes, then something’s going to radiate from me that’s going to make other people feel comfortable with me.”

Dolly Parton said that being kind is the best way to be more like her

Parton also shared how people can be more like her outside of her personal style.

“Try to be a little kinder to one another,” she said. “Live by the golden rules and certain Scriptures that say to treat people the way you’d like to be treated and to love one another and know that every single person is exactly like you.”


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Parton believes that people can “bring a little Dolly” into their lives by practicing kindness.

“I hope that through my movies or my songs or my words and my presence, somehow, I can touch somebody and make the world a little better than it might have been a minute ago.”