10 Style Lessons We Can Learn From Dolly Parton

Photo courtesy of Andrew Lipovsky/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images.

Actually, 11 lessons because one has to be “Bedazzle your guitar”, as evidenced in the image above.

This article was originally published on January 18, 2021. 

During her 77 years on earth, Dolly Parton has proven herself to be an angel-voiced multi-instrumentalist and the patron saint of sparkles. As we honour this philanthropist, performer, author, actress and all-around gem of a human being, let’s reflect on what we can learn from Dolly’s divine style.


While we might not be working in an office at the moment there’s no denying the timeless appeal of a great suit, an idea captured here perfectly by Dolly revelling in the success of her hit song, “9-5”.

Tip: Break up the monotony of a suiting look with combinations of stripes, polka dots and other patterns.

Short story

Of course, there are many ways to wear a suit, and this kicky number comprising an embellished jacket and coordinating knee-length pants is a novel take on the traditional look.

Tip: Surprise ‘em with a shorter trouser length when selecting suiting – from ankle-grazing to pedal pushers, the thigh’s the limit.

True blue

Dolly loves a denim moment, as we all do – but that doesn’t mean her glam factor falls by the wayside. There’s always room for a little razzle dazzle, even during downtime.

Tip: Elevate a simple jean shirt with a few standout accessories like hoop earrings and a chain belt.

Sweet surrender

Ever the rule-breaker, lingerie dressing is a key part of Dolly’s wardrobe repertoire; the more ruffles and peek-a-boo lace, the better.

Tip: If going full boudoir is outside your comfort zone, consider pairing a sheer, long robe with an LBD.

Cover story

A great jacket will never let you down, and Dolly has the toppers to prove this theory. From sequins to floral motifs and more, this wardrobe staple doesn’t need to be dowdy to look dapper.

Tip: Vintage and thrift shops are a wonderful resource for unusual blazers and jackets, with price points that encourage experimentation.

Party on

Sure, shindigs seem like a distant memory right now, but we can always dream of when we’ll dance together again. Take an inspo cue from Dolly’s closet stuffed with mega-bedecked dresses meant for happier times.

Tip: If you find a dress that doesn’t have the exact silhouette you want but possesses other redeeming qualities, take it to a local tailor for a tune-up.

Monochromatic mood

Maybe the only head-to-toe dressing you’ve dabbled in is #allblackeverything, but wouldn’t it be thrilling to go full-tilt with an outfit that plays with multiple shades of red, blue or pink? Do as Dolly does and try matching your makeup, too.

Tip: Wearing pieces in a monochromatic scheme is most effective when you play with proportion and shape; layering also adds oomph.

In range

When Dolly embraces her country roots she really goes for it, donning western-style accessories without appearing costume-y. And to that, we tip our hat.

Tip: Consider accessories with horseshoe designs and tops with bandana-like details to achieve a subtler cowpoke effect.

Fringe benefits

No self-respecting country star would dare forgo fringed pieces as part of their regular wardrobe rotation. And when you’re Dolly Parton, that swish is *obviously* crystal-encrusted.

Tip: If you find fringe intimidating as part of a garment, try wearing a bag or necklace with such adornment instead.

Number onesie

Known for their comfort and lack of complication while getting dressed, jumpsuits are understandably a staple in Dolly’s stage attire.

Tip: Break up the silhouette of a jumpsuit with a loose belt, either complimentary or contrasting in style.

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