Loretta Lynn Still Shopped at the Salvation Army After Her Grand Ole Opry Debut

As one of country music’s most legendary singers, Loretta Lynn has always seemed to march to the beat of her own drum. And she used to prefer shopping at the Salvation Army for affordable clothes for herself and her children. So, how did she respond when the Grand Ole Opry told her it “‘looked bad” on them to have her shopping at the thrift store?

Loretta Lynn singing into a microphone, wearing a red floral dress
Loretta Lynn | Ken Regan /Walt Disney Television/ Getty Images

Loretta Lynn had 4 children before she turned 20 and 6 kids in all

An important thing to note about Lynn is that she had six children. Furthermore, four of them were born before she turned 20. She was married at 13 and pregnant for the first time by 14. So, raising kids was a big part of her life before she became famous — and still after, of course.

In fact, she never even performed on stage until she was 27. Before that, she said she only sang when she rocked the children to sleep. So, ending up in the spotlight was something she was hesitant to even do. In fact, her husband, Oliver Lynn, frequently made her go out in front of a crowd to sing when she really didn’t want to.

Up until then, a thrifty life of homemaking was all she knew. But once she tried performing and found out she was pretty good at it, she turned it into an amazing career. And in 1960, when she was already a mother of four, she made her debut at the Opry.

The Grand Ole Opry didn’t like Loretta Lynn shopping at the Salvation Army

Finding fame and money seemingly didn’t make Lynn want to change her thrifty spending habits. She liked shopping at the Salvation Army and remembered a time when she was reprimanded by the Opry for it.

“When I started at the Opry, I used to do my shoppin’ at the Salvation Army. One time, they caught me comin’ out of there with my arms full,” Lynn recalled per Esquire. “This was the second year I was there, and I had to get clothes for the kids for school.”

“I was getting shirts for ten cents, dresses for [the kids] for ten cents, my clothes for ten cents, and they told me that they couldn’t have me going in and out of the Salvation Army,” the country icon explained. “They said it looked bad on the Grand Ole Opry.”

In the end, Lynn said she didn’t resolve to quit shopping at the Salvation Army but would try harder not to get caught. She concluded, “I said, ‘Well, next time, I’ll look up and down the road before I come out.'”

Loretta Lynn is famous for her fancy gowns


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According to PBS, Lynn was eventually inspired by friend and fellow country star, Patsy Cline, to start wearing ball gowns for her performances. She credited Cline with having an “uptown” style and that was what she chose to emulate in her own fashion choices.

Now, Lynn’s known for her glittery, floor-length gowns. And when she celebrated her 50th anniversary with the Grand Ole Opry at the age of 80, she wore a dress that weighed 75 pounds. Per the designer, she only wore the dress once.

It seems like a long way from the Salvation Army to a 75 pound dress.