Victoria Montalti and Elana Klein
- From album covers to onstage costumes to movie premieres, Dolly Parton has worn many iconic looks.
- Parton once said she modeled her style on "the town trollop" she admired growing up.
- She turns 77 on January 19, and we're celebrating her most daring looks throughout the decades.
To the 19th Annual Grammy Awards, Dolly Parton wore a bright-pink cowgirl-esque look that would define her signature style.
Dolly Parton has been nominated for an impressive 50 Grammys and has won 10. In 1977, she attended the 19th Annual Grammy Awards, where she won the award for best country vocal performance, female, for "All I Can Do."
For the occasion, Parton wore a bright, bubblegum-pink look with white detailing and crystals. The wide-sleeve blouse, vest, and flared pants paid homage to classic country singers.
In a December 3, 2020, interview with Allure, Parton reminisced over her style throughout the decades. Of the '70s, she said, "I didn't actually start getting into the rhinestones and the frills, as far as, uh, as an entertainer, until I started with 'The Porter Wagoner Show.'"
Parton left the show as a cast member in 1974 to pursue a solo career, but the experience continued to inform her signature style.
She wore a romantic and ultra-feminine look for her 20th studio album, "Heartbreaker."
While Parton is known for her often revealing and glittering costumes, the singer-songwriter wore a more refined, unembellished dress for the cover of her "Heartbreaker" album, which was released in 1978. The delicate, flowy sheer fabric is sweet, but the thigh-high slit was a bit raunchy for Parton at the time.
Parton's bouffant hairstyle was classic and elegant, and it differed from her typical teased or "whipped cream curl" hair.
Speaking to Allure about Colleen Owens, her hairdresser in the '70s, Parton said, "She thought that I was larger than life, so she tried to make my hair even bigger."
Parton looked like a ray of sunshine in a sheer yellow gown for a 1978 portrait session.
In a 1978 Los Angeles, California, portrait session for Parton's "Heartbreaker" album, the singer posed in an ultra-bright, yellow gown with a sheer chiffon skirt that showed off her figure.
In the same interview with Allure, Parton jokingly said, "My style back then was gaudy, but flowy."
In 1978, Parton fittingly channeled Mother Nature at the AMAs, where she was nominated for her "New Harvest...First Gathering" album.
At the 1978 American Music Awards, Parton made a dramatic appearance in a serene green pantsuit with a flowing cape embellished with flowers. She even had matching delicate flowers dotted throughout her wig.
Parton presented that night and went on to win the award for favorite country album for "New Harvest...First Gathering."
She posed for the October 1978 issue of "Playboy" in the famous Playboy Bunny garb.
Parton appeared on the October 1978 cover of "Playboy," becoming the first country singer to pose for Hugh Hefner's magazine.
For her photo shoot, Parton wore the form-fitting bodysuit, bunny ears, bow tie collar, and wrist cuffs that Playboy Bunny models and waitresses famously wore.
She went on to recreate the daring look in an Instagram post for her husband's birthday on July 20, 2021.
Parton stood out from her "9 to 5" costars at the New York City premiere in 1980.
Parton was pretty in pink for the "9 to 5" movie premiere in New York City in 1980.
For her first film, the singer knew she had to amp up her fashion game, telling Vogue in 2020 that before the movie, she "never really thought about being fashionable." Parton said she asked the film's costume designer, Ann Roth, to design her premiere look.
Her outfit was "dollyized" — a term the singer used to described her eccentric style — and made her stand out from the more modern looks worn by her costars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.
So nice she wore it twice: Parton stunned in this beaded white dress in 1983 and again in 1986.
In 1983, Parton performed at the Dominion Theatre in London, England. The performance — to which the singer wore a white off-the-shoulder dress with colorful, beaded tassels — was recorded and broadcast as the live HBO TV special "Dolly in Concert."
Parton, who looked angelic on stage, told Vogue in 2020, "When I wear white, I always feel like I'm singing to God."
Parton rewore the dress for a 1986 concert in Rosemont, Illinois.
Parton said she tried to match her costar Sylvester Stallone's elegant style at the "Rhinestone" movie premiere in 1984.
Showcasing full hair and a high leg slit, Parton wore a glamorous white gown to the New York premiere of her 1984 movie, "Rhinestone." The daring low-cut neckline and cinched waist accentuated the star's features.
Parton told Vogue, "I tried to look my Dolly best," because she wanted to look as good as her costar Sylvester Stallone.
She looked like she came straight out of "Dynasty" in this promotional photo for her variety show, "Dolly."
Parton hosted "Dolly" from September 27, 1987, to May 7, 1988. In a promotional photo for the show, she wore a sparkling, architectural silver gown created by designer Tony Chase.
Parton spoke of Chase's style choices to Vogue, saying, "He was always trying to put me in all these clothes that had these big 'ol shoulders and all that stuff that was so fashionable. I said, 'Tony, you just gotta tone it down a little. There ain't nothing big about me but my mouth and my boobs.'"
In what she later described as one of her favorite looks, Parton wore a shimmering gold gown alongside Oprah Winfrey for an episode of "Dolly."
On "Dolly," Parton would have special guests, and on one occasion, the singer had talk show host Oprah Winfrey on. Reminiscing over her gold look with Vogue, Parton said she remembered how they'd both fawned over their dresses.
She went on to say that this look was "one of my favorite little dresses." Tony Chase designed every look Parton wore on "Dolly."
She showed off her rocker chick side while performing on "Saturday Night Live" in 1989.
In season 14 of "Saturday Night Live," Parton hosted and performed as the musical guest on April 15, 1989. She sang in a bold black leather jumpsuit embellished with gold studs and paired with cowgirl boots.
This look stood out from her more feminine and flowy ensembles and was more "rock" than "country."
Parton showed out and stood out in a full rhinestone-encrusted gown to the New York "Steel Magnolias" movie premiere in 1989.
Even with other A-list actresses at her side, Parton took the cake with this intricate and shimmering ensemble designed by her creative director Steve Summers.
Parton wore a bedazzled, revealing ensemble at the California premiere of "Steel Magnolias."
If you thought the singer couldn't top her NYC "Steel Magnolias" premiere gown, you'd be wrong. Wearing a powder-blue gown adorned with crystals and tassels, Parton continued to shine at the California premiere. Everything from her voluminous hair to the crystal "collar" to her matching purse made this look iconic.
Later, in a comical 2016 interview on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," Parton told the late-night host that, when she was young, "I patterned my look after the town trollop." She said that tight-fitting clothes and dramatic makeup inspired her.
During a 1990 "Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" appearance, the singer wore a festive red-and-gold combo.
Parton's "Tonight Show" appearance showcased looser hair waves and an elegant dress silhouette, showing how her style continued to evolve into the '90s.
In 2020, she told Allure, "I felt like, during that time, I was probably the most fashionable that I had ever been as far as little more classy with the hair, little more classy with the clothes, and really trying to be a little more refined."
Parton perfectly channeled a Barbie doll for her 2008 "Backwoods Barbie" album cover photo.
Parton put a country spin on Barbie in this bright-pink coat cascading over haystacks on the cover of her 40th studio album, "Backwoods Barbie." The belted coat and leopard-print dress was of course designed by Steve Summers.
While Parton was seen wearing animal prints on other occasions, the singer and her designers were cautious about it because of her petite figure. She told Allure, "You kinda have to be careful how you do a lot of prints or a lot of bold things, cause I'm better not to have a whole bunch of that, cause there's just not a bunch of me."
For her iconic 2014 Glastonbury Festival performance, she wore mesh pants made specifically for her to move around comfortably.
Parton later told Vogue she was nervous to sing at the festival because she didn't know if the crowd would warm to her, but it wound up being an iconic performance. She wore a white embellished vest, a layered chain belt (that became a staple in her wardrobe), and pants with mesh panels.
Parton told Vogue in 2020 that she prefers performing in pants rather than dresses because she moves around a lot and wants something comfortable for when she gets up and down from her stool. She called this Steve Summers design "glamorous but durable."
The star paired a daring polka-dot, stripe, and fringe look for an NBC "Today" performance in 2014.
Promoting her 42nd studio album, "Blue Smoke," Parton performed for NBC's" Today" show in a striking outfit. The daring pattern and texture combination included a polka-dot button up, rhinestone tie, striped vest, and pair of fringe Capri pants.
Parton told "Today" cohost Savannah Guthrie, "It's wonderful that I'm still here. I say I'm as old as yesterday but hopefully as new as tomorrow."
The singer's fun outfit displayed her young-at-heart persona.
Parton dazzled in a highlighter-bright look for a 2014 benefit concert.
When she's not wearing white, the singer often stands out in bright, monochromatic outfits. She opted for a highlighter-orange Capri jumpsuit drenched in silver rhinestones and tassels for a 2014 benefit concert.
The proceeds from the concert went to her own Imagination Library national book program and to the Dr. Robert F. Thompson Foundation, which aims to improve healthcare in Parton's home county of Sevier County, Tennessee.
She wore the rainbow to promote her NBC movie "Coat of Many Colors."
NBC's Upfront Presentation in 2015 promoted the network's new programming for the year ahead. Parton performed some of her classic songs including "Coat of Many Colors" to perfectly promote NBC's TV movie "Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors," according to the Los Angeles Times.
Parton played the part of The Painted Lady in the movie based on her own life, and she fittingly wore a dress to the event that looked like colors were dripping down her body. The rainbow-hued dress glistened in front of a matching rainbow-lit stage.
In a literal coat of many colors, Parton celebrated her TV movie at the 51st Academy of Country Music Awards in 2016.
According to the Grand Ole Opry, "Dolly grew up in a one-room cabin that she called home alongside her parents and 10 of her siblings. Money was tight, so her mother sewed a coat for Dolly using scraps of fabric, which inspired one of Dolly's best-known and most personal songs: 'Coat of Many Colors'."
At the 51st Academy of Country Music Awards, Parton accepted the Tex Ritter Award, which is given to a movie that celebrates country music, for the movie inspired by her song. Parton dressed in a shimmering jewel-tone, color-blocked blazer for her acceptance speech.
She jazzed up Santa Claus' uniform for a promotional photo for "Dolly Parton's Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love" movie in 2016.
If we've learned anything, it's that Parton loves her fringe. She also notably loves Christmas. So she combined them in a festive look to promote "Dolly Parton's Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love," the sequel to "Coat of Many Colors."
Parton "dollyized" Santa's uniform in this vibrant red look with sparkle, fringe, and silver platform heels.
Parton wore a hypnotizing black-and-white gown ahead of the 53rd Annual CMA Awards in 2019.
In promo photos for the awards, Parton wore an eye-catching black-and-white floor-length gown with stripe and floral patterns throughout.
Parton cohosted the ceremony with Carrie Underwood and Reba McEntire, and she also performed live with other women in country music stars.
At the Kiss Breast Cancer Goodbye Concert in 2021, Dolly dressed on-theme in a bedazzled pink suit.
Parton headlined the first annual Kiss Breast Cancer Goodbye concert, which took place in Nashville in October 2021.
"Breast cancer has touched every single one of us in some capacity," she said prior to the concert, "so I am thankful for [organizer] Donna Wells asking me to be part of this event. I hope we can raise some good money and help fight this horrible disease, so bring your checkbooks."
To the 37th Annual Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony, she wore a detailed, shiny, black leather jumpsuit.
In November 2022, Dolly Parton was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Upon receiving the honor, she announced to the bustling crowd, "I'm a rock star now!"
In a tight leather suit, Parton played an electric guitar and sang "Rock Song," a new, original song that she debuted for the occasion. She began the performance by saying, "I figure, if I'm gonna be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, I'm gonna have to earn it."
At the premiere of her most recent Christmas movie, Parton rocked a reindeer suit and completed the look with a pair of antlers.
In December 2022, Dolly Parton attended the premiere of her most recent Christmas movie, "Mountain Magic Christmas," which aired on NBC and featured stars like Billy Ray Cyrus and Willie Nelson.
"I just feel like that it was time for me to do another special like this, with good music, with comedy, with meaningful things," she told People, "and to kind of make you feel entertained for a couple hours just to get away from everything else."