Dolly Parton: I should regret most of the things I’ve worn – but I don’t

Dolly Parton has no regrets in life or fashion.

The US country music veteran, 77, has become known for form-fitting, bedazzled outfits and a bold beauty look to match.

The phrase “the higher the hair, the closer to God” is often attributed to the Jolene singer – and she said she’s been asked “a lot of times” if she regrets any of her fashion choices.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Dolly Parton (@dollyparton)

“I should regret most of the things I’ve worn,” Parton said with a laugh. “But I can’t say that I do!

“Just like people are always asking me if I could change one thing, what would it be, I’ve always said to change one thing might change everything.

“I don’t think we can look back and think we regret something, because evidently, everything I’ve ever done I thought at that moment that was what I needed to be doing, or I wouldn’t of done it.”

She carries that ethos into her life more generally, and said she would “hate” to start her career over.

“Even though I’m an older age, I would still rather be as old as I am than to be as young as some of these people are now that are starting in the business, because the business when I started out was so completely different.

“And it’s a different world, I mean I’m not really big in this high-tech world. I’m still very country and very set in my ways, as they say, but I surround myself with great, intelligent people that are very qualified to get out the products that I create.”

Dolly Parton
(Courtesy of Dolly Parton Archive/PA)

Parton looks back at her career and lifelong love for fashion in a new book, Behind The Seams: My Life in Rhinestones.

She’s been performing since she was a child, but said her perspective hasn’t changed.

“My future goals are the same as my past goals were. I just want to do good at what I do,” she said, noting she wants to “help out when I can”.

Parton’s made a name for herself with her philanthropic work – she donated US$1 million to help fund coronavirus vaccine research in 2020, and set up the Imagination Library in the US in 1995 – allowing children under the age of five to be sent a specially chosen book free of charge every month until their fifth birthday.

Dolly Parton
(Courtesy of Dolly Parton Archive/PA)

She said the process of putting together Behind The Seams was “bittersweet”, too.

“Going through all of the pictures, looking at all of the clothes and putting pictures together with the outfits when I wore them, you’d be shocked to think of all the things that went through my mind.

“I am one of those people, I try to remember everything, what I was feeling, what I was thinking, what was going on in my life at that time and so it’s really a jolting kind of thing, it’s a bittersweet kind of thing when you look back on a lot of those things.

“Not always great things were happening for me in my career, maybe I’d lost someone I loved, so it’s really a mixture of things and I think that’s why the book and things like this are so important to me when I put them out there.”

But there are happy memories too.

Dolly Parton
(Courtesy of Dolly Parton Archive/PA)

“If I could pick one favourite look that I’ve worn, it would actually be a particular dress worn at a particular time that was important to me,” Parton said.

“It’s a beaded, beautiful, pearly dress that I wore on a CMA Awards show years ago [in 1990] and I did a song called He’s Alive, which is a spiritual song, and I just felt so, so special in that dress.

“I thought the dress was beautiful, the song was beautiful and the night was great and I just really felt lifted up in the spirit singing that song and that song wound up touching the lives of so many people and I just felt like that whole night, that whole moment of that song was special – so of course was that dress.

“When I lifted my arms, it almost looked like wings underneath, the way that Tony Chase, the designer, had done it, and I just have that in my memory, of a time and a place and a dress.”

She particularly looks up to the American actor and singer Mae West, who died in 1980.

Dolly Parton performing at Glastonbury in 2014
(Yui Mok/PA)

“I always related to Mae West, not just for her look, but for her business sense,” Parton explained. “Mae West was known to be a very smart businesswoman and I try to use that part of my brain as well. But, I did always love her flamboyant look and she’s a little person like me as well, so of course I kind of related to that.”

More recently, if she could “shop around in somebody else’s wardrobe”, it would be drag performer RuPaul, Parton revealed.

With memorable outfits over the years including a pink ruffled gown worn on the album cover of Heartbreaker in 1978 and the white bedazzled ensemble at Glastonbury in 2014, how would Parton categorise her style?

“Dolly, Dolly, Dolly would be my three words that I would describe my look. It’s some of everything, really!”

Behind The Seams: My Life In Rhinestones by Dolly Parton is by Ebury Press. Available now.

What do you think of Dolly’s style? Could you imagine her in anything else? Why not share your opinion in the comments section below?

Also read: 13 of the Queen’s most fashionable moments

- Our Partners -


- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -