Dolly Parton is one of the most outstanding country icons of all time, but it’s not just her voice that people love. Dolly is known for her genuine, sweet nature and kindness as well as her unique fashion sense. For years she’s worn nothing but long sleeves, which has led to more than a little speculation about what she might have to hide. The platinum blonde, big-haired country singer with a heart of gold, may have a few things she keeps private, but there’s no big secret under her sleeves. In fact, Dolly is very open about her life. When asked, she readily explained, and this is the reason why Dolly Parton wears long sleeves.
Rags to Riches
To understand Dolly’s fashion motivation, it helps to have a little background first. She was born on January 19, 1946, in a one-room cabin, in a small town in Tennessee. The fourth of twelve siblings, ten of which are still alive, Dolly grew up, in her own words, “dirt poor.” Her father was an illiterate but very bright manual laborer, and her mother was a homemaker. They paid the doctor who helped deliver her with a sack of cornmeal. Going from that life to a woman famed for her glamorous sparkling gowns and equally sparkling personality wasn’t an easy road. However, Dolly had something going for her beyond simple motivation; she was (and still is) incredibly talented.
Though many people would call her story rags to riches triumph, Dolly herself might say that there were riches aplenty at home, even when there wasn’t much money. Her family was close and loving. They played together and listened to her mother tell stories. They went to church regularly because Avie Lee Caroline, her mother, was the daughter of Jake Owens, a Pentecostal preacher. Oddly Dolly describes her fashion sense as ” a blend of Mother Goose, Cinderella, and the local hooker,” according to Today. Surprisingly, it’s even rumored that she was inspired by a beautiful prostitute who had big blonde hair and red lips. Dolly’s self-assurance and confident insistence on being herself has undoubtedly led to success. It just goes to show that wherever you come from, and whatever inspires you, you should always be yourself.
Though she’d performed in the church as a child by the age of ten, she had also worked on local radio and television shows. Then she became a part of The Cas Walker Show both on the radio and television. However, it was at the tender age of thirteen that she got the career advice that would lead her to superstardom. She recorded a single called Puppy Love on a small label in Louisiana that year and ended up performing at The Grand Ole Opry alongside her uncle Bill Owens. The pair received three encores, and Dolly had the chance to meet Johnny Cash. Though performing at the Grand Ole Opry is unquestionably a memorable experience, and she couldn’t have hoped for a better reception, it was Mr. Cash who changed her life more than that performance. He told the young singer to always trust her own instincts about her career. The advice would stick with her through record companies trying to convince her to be a bubblegum pop singer, and every time someone attempted to persuade her to change her style or direction.
So What’s With the Sleeves?
Because she covers her arms all the time, people have indeed speculated unkindly about her reasons. While some folks maintain it’s because she must be tattooed, others have made less kind assertions like speculations about scars or even drug use. Nothing could be further from the truth. Dolly does have tattoos, but they don’t sleeve her arms. She told Vanity fair that she mostly hides them because “I don’t really like to make a big to-do of [the tattoos] because people make such a big damn deal over every little thing.”
Dolly confessed that she tends to have keloid scar tissue, and her early tattoos were always to cover over the excessive scaring. Her fair skin leaves scars highly visible with a violet hue, so she’s covered them with a little ink to make them pretty again. Dolly doesn’t exactly hide her tattoos, but she doesn’t show them off either. However, the sleeves are a fashion choice. Preferring to cover her arms is just part of Dolly Parton’s signature style. She may rock her incredible cleavage, but she shows off her modest roots with long sleeves. It may seem a little oxymoronic to you, but Dolly doesn’t care. She loves who she is and how she looks. We dig her empowered stance on the issue and have always admired the star for her glamour, talent, and philanthropy.
Are You Sure That’s All?
Though we understand if you’re still feeling skeptical after reading that, it’s not as though she’s never shown her arms in public. Dolly prefers a full sleeve, but there are plenty of images of her wearing half sleeves, tops without shoulders and even a few incredible photos of a time when she chose a short-sleeved, drop shoulder gown for the evening. Dolly has even worn see-through sleeves more than a few times. If you’re looking, you can find pictures with her arms in them.
Hopefully, that will lay to rest the rumors once and for all. Dolly has nothing up her sleeves except her arms. She just likes the way her incredible, decorative, long sleeves look, and we agree. Dolly is one woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to flaunt it. When you work as hard as she has to create and maintain an amazing and iconic image, you don’t just throw it out because people start a rumor about your fashion sense, hiding some dark secret. Were you surprised that she’s doesn’t have any secret tattoos on her arms as some stars do? Let us know what you think about this strange revelation in the comments section.