Dolly Parton first came onto the scene in 1959 with her debut single Puppy Love, starting a career that is still going to this day. Long before she was a chart-topping star, however, Dolly has revealed she was “dirt poor”. Hailing from Tennessee, USA, the 75-year-old is one of 12 siblings and had to make do with what little they had. The star once revealed in an interview: “We’d hear about people who would get rich and you’d have all the food you wanted to eat and fancy clothes and houses. In our minds, there was so many of us, anybody that had a clean house was rich.”
Dolly even revealed that, growing up, she didn’t have a full working lavatory. She said: “My aunt in Knoxville had a toilet in the bathroom and we were so fascinated. We were afraid to use it. I just thought it was going to suck us right down. She also had the first television we ever saw.” In fact, just to get clean, Dolly and her 11 brothers and sisters would simply jump into the nearby river to bathe themselves. She explained: “That was like a big bath, and we’d all go in swimming and we’d wash our hair, wash each other’s hair. Soap was just flowing down the river and we were so dirty we left a ring around the Little Pigeon River.”
Since then, Dolly has sold more than 100 million records and charted 25 number one hits and 41 top-ten albums, making her one of the best-selling female artists of all time. Now, she can afford to be a bit more frivolous with her cash.
Dolly revealed in an interview that she has not spent the most money in her life on cars, houses, jewellery, or even guitars, but something much more obvious. Instead, when she was asked what she has spent the most money on, the 9 to 5 singer has revealed it was her “stage costumes”. These rhinestoned, glitzy, and over-the-top outfits have become a signature piece of Dolly’s persona. She confessed: “I don’t care about style. I don’t care about fashion. I know it costs a lot to have things designed for TV shows, but I’m still going to look cheap in them.” Dolly also revealed she spent so much on clothes because she didn’t like being dressed by other people.
Dolly’s love for her clothes has been extremely obvious for years. She consistently posts photos of her best-loved outfits on her official Instagram account. She captioned one post: “I probably have a hundred dresses from over the years. I just can’t seem to let go of my favourites!”
Dolly’s love for clothing began at the early stages of her life, she revealed in her book Dolly Parton: Songteller, My Life in Lyrics. When she was just a girl, Dolly’s mother (Avie Lee Caroline) made her a coat out of various strips of coloured material. She explained: “In order to make me proud of that little coat, I know now, she told me the story about Joseph from the Bible and his coat of many colours. So I thought: ‘Well, if it’s from the Bible, and Joseph was an important person, it has to be very special and important.'”