With a career that spans over 60 years, Dolly Parton has become an icon of country music, known not only for her songs but also for her incredible personal style. In a new interview with Vogue, Parton broke down 11 of her most iconic looks over the years, sharing the stories behind some of her album covers, performance outfits and more.
"I have never thought of myself as being fashionable," she noted, later adding, "I know that I always liked to wear a lot of makeup. More than probably I should wear, but I think more is more and whoever made up that 'less is more' is full of it."
Scroll through to learn more about the outfits Parton looked back on.
'Jolene' album cover
Parton's 13th studio album was titled Jolene, named after the song that would go on to become one of her most successful and enduring hits. The cover sees Parton sitting serenely in a blue and white striped jumpsuit with puffy sleeves, her blonde hair teased high.
"We did different poses, on stools and laying in the floor and sitting and squatting and all that," Parton recalled. "This particular little jumpsuit, because it was so movable, was actually really good. I always loved puffy sleeves, I kind of felt comfortable in this whole little outfit."prevnext
'Here You Come Again' abum cover
Released in 1977, Here You Come Again was a successful crossover album for Parton, going on to become her first million-seller. For the cover shoot, she wore a red and white shirt tied at her waist with a pair of wide-leg jeans and sandals, which she described as an outfit she "might've" put together herself. "That big old puffy hair, I would imagine somebody probably said, 'Why don't you do kind of like a little Marilyn [Monroe] look?'" she recalled, joking, "Marilyn Manson, more like it."prevnext
'9 to 5' premiere
In 1980, Parton starred in 9 to 5 with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, and for the film's premiere, she chose a pink lace gown with a matching pink fur jacket, which was created by the film's costume designer, Ann Roth.
"I never really thought about being fashionable, I just always wore things that fit me, but I knew that for something as big as a premiere, I thought that I needed to be fancy and I didn't know how to do that," Parton said. "I thought it was a beautiful dress, I remember feeling really pretty and I felt like that I was well-dressed."prevnext
Parton starred alongside Sylvester Stallone in the 1984 movie Rhinestone, and she said that she remembered thinking, "I have to look good" for the film's premiere since she knew Stallone would "be dressed to the nines." "So I tried to look my Dolly best," she said.prevnext
'Dolly' variety show with Oprah
From 1987-1988, Parton hosted Dolly, her own variety show, and on the day she had Oprah Winfrey as a guest, she wore a sparkling gold sequined gown accented with rhinestones and a matching headband that coordinated with Winfrey's black gown detailed with silver and gold. Designed by Tony Chase, who did the costumes for Dolly, Parton dubbed the look as "one of my favorite little dresses."prevnext
'Christmas at Home' TV special
In 1988, Parton had a Christmas television special, Christmas at Home, and one of her costumes was a white long-sleeved, high-necked gown covered in rhinestones with coordinating drop earrings. Parton, who is fond of performing in white, noted that "When I wear white, I always feel like I'm singing to God."
"I also always loved Christmas," she said. "I always dress in the season. I have all my sweaters with the bells and the holly and the Christmas trees, so every day from Christmas Eve 'til New Year's, I'll wear my Christmas clothes."prevnext
'Saturday Night Live'
Parton served as the host and musical guest on Saturday Night Live in 1989, taking the stage in a black leather ensemble studded with gold beads. She joked about the hectic transition from her performances to her skits, noting, "My look is not easy, I don't just go put on a shirt to do something. I have to totally tear it all down, take the hair off, take the clothes off, get it all on. I mean, I was a nervous wreck and I was worn to a frazzle before that show was over!"prevnext
Parton performed with Elton John at the 2005 CMA Awards in a pair of denim bell bottoms with lace detailing and a gold brocade top, also with white lace. The two performed a cover of The Beatles' "Imagine," and Parton shared that she was "trying to look like Elton John, and he was trying to look like somebody else, I guess, at that time. He was dressing down, and I was dressing up!"prevnext
Kennedy Center Honors
In 2006, Parton was recognized at the Kennedy Center Honors, where she was honored by artists including Kenny Rogers, Carrie Underwood, Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, Jessica Simpson and Shania Twain. For the occasion, Parton chose a streamlined white V-neck gown with crystal detailing and carried a tiny beaded handbag to match.
"I remember loving this dress," Parton said. "My hair looked especially good... but this one was a very special night for me and I wanted to look special and feel special. And I did."prevnext
Parton took the stage at the 2014 Glastonbury Festival in what has become one of her signature looks, white and rhinestones, wearing a pair of flared pants and a long-sleeved shirt with puffy sleeves. After admitting that she was "a little scared to go to the festival," Parton shared that the show became "one of the greatest things I've ever done."
The 74-year-old added that she "loves" performing in pants because they allow her to be easily mobile but appreciated that her outfit had "all the glamour of a dress but all the good ways that I could move about and make it still look glamorous and durable." She said: "This was a wonderful outfit and this was a wonderful day."prevnext
During the 2019 Grammy Awards, Parton performed a medley of her hits with her goddaughter, Miley Cyrus, Little Big Town, Katy Perry, Maren Morris and Kacey Musgraves. "We felt very pretty," Parton recalled of herself and Cyrus, who Parton credits for helping her music reach a younger fanbase.prev