Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Dolly Parton Reveals How She Coined Her Iconic Look at 10

Dolly Parton Reveals How She Coined Her Iconic Look at 10

Dolly Parton has an iconic style that’s all her own. With big hair, heavy makeup, and plenty of sparkle, the singer, actress, chef, and entrepreneur has won our hearts for decades. We love Dolly because she’s so genuinely herself. 

Dolly recently penned a book titled Behind the Seams: My Life in Rhinestones that details how she came upon her signature look. While the story hasn’t hit stores yet, she talked with ET and shared how she started finding her stylish identity when she was a kid growing up in Tennessee’s Smokey Mountains.

Dolly Parton Based Her Look on ‘The Town Tramp’

Dolly Parton grew up in the small town of Locust Ridge. She admitted that a woman labeled “the town tramp,” who also lived in Locust Ridge fascinated her. She loved the way the woman dressed, and Dolly knew she wanted to look like her one day. 

“The men did pay attention to her,” she remembered. “She could have got a reputation she didn’t deserve… but they called her trash. When I was little I thought, ‘That’s what I want to be when I grow up.’”

Dolly Parton said that Marilyn Monrow and Mae West also inspired her. And overall, she came to find that she “wanted anything colorful, anything sparkly.”

“I just wanted to shine,” she added. 

The Oscar nominee started her entertainment career when she was 10. She credits her mom and aunts for making her earliest clothing and costumes. While she had the vision of who she wanted to be from a young age, it took some time for it to come to fruition, but she came into herself rather quickly.

“I felt like if you’re a star, you gotta shine. It just kind of kept going and going into where I just couldn’t get enough sparkle in my life. Still can’t,” she admitted. 

Most importantly, though, Dolly Parton never styled herself to please the public. It was never about creating a stage persona. She always wanted to be true to herself because that’s what made her “feel good.”

“[It was about] how I felt like I wanted to look and how I thought I looked my best. I just wanted to be more flamboyant. I just wanted to dress according to how I felt,” she admitted. “… It was more important that I be comfortable inside of myself… I just felt better in me to look that way. It just gave me a little extra confidence.”

Behind the Seams: My Life in Rhinestones drops on October 17. You can pre-order your copy on Amazon today.