The always-humble Parton said she “never thought of herself as being fashionable” when she was starting out in the music industry.
In the early days of her career, she asked a woman who often sewed clothes for her in Nashville to make her outfit for the cover of her “Jolene” album in 1974.
“We did different poses on stools and laying on the floor and sitting and squatting and all that, so this particular little jumpsuit, because it was so moveable, was actually really good,” she said.
She also shared the story behind the pink, fairy-tale dress she wore to the premiere of “9 to 5” in 1980.
“I got to dress up like I was a city girl in this, and I never even thought about being fashionable. I just always wore things that fit me. But I knew that something as big as a premiere, I thought that I needed to be fancy, and I didn’t know how to do that,” she said. “I thought it was a beautiful dress. I remember feeling really pretty.”
She wore another stunning outfit, a sleek white dress with embellishments, to the 1984 premiere of her movie "Rhinestone" with Sylvester Stallone.
“I remember thinking I have to look good because Stallone was hotter than Dooley at that time...so I tried to look my Dolly best!” she said.
Fast forward to 1989, and Parton rocked a slinky, black leather catsuit with metallic embellishments when she hosted “Saturday Night Live.” She remembered how stressed out she was that night with all the quick costume changes.
“I was hosting the show and I was also the musical guest, and my look is not easy,” she said. “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. And I mean, I was a nervous wreck and I was worn to a frazzle before that show was over.”
The singer also looked back on the outfit she wore at the 2005 CMAs when she performed with Elton John. She laughed as she remembered how John dressed simply in a conservative suit while she went all out in embellished bell bottoms and a sparkly jacket.
“I was trying to look like Elton John and he was trying to look like somebody else, I guess, at that time,” she said. “He was dressing down and I was dressing up!”
And Parton looked as glittering and gorgeous as always when she performed with her god-daughter, Miley Cyrus, at the 2019 Grammys.
Looking back on her fabulous looks over the years, from her glittery ensembles to her signature full makeup and big hair, Parton summed up her style philosophy.
“I know that I always like to wear a lot of makeup. More than probably I should wear,” she said, “but I think more is more, and whoever made up that ‘less is more’ is full of it!”