Monthly Muse: Dearly Devoted to Dolly Parton

Dolly _ Kitten

Image via Rare Dolly.

When I was three years old, I insisted that my name be changed to “Dolly.” To my young self, there was nothing more glamorous than the big hair, big smile, and larger-than-life attire of Dolly Parton. In the face of all that sparkle, I felt my name could use some sprucing up, much to the amusement of my parents. Thankfully, a three-year-old doesn’t hold much sway when it comes to big decisions, and my name remained Julie, but I never lost my love and appreciation for Dolly Parton and her music.

While the record player in my childhood home was usually spinning the likes of The Pretenders or Annie Lennox, I’ve always appreciated the classic country twang of Ms. Parton. In this current era of larger-than-life pop-music acts, Parton’s persona could be perceived almost as kitsch, a quaint throw-back to Oprey-era bluegrass, but at the time of her debut in the 1960s, she was a ground-breaking act: a multi-instrumentalist, a talented songwriter (to date, she has composed over 3,000 songs), and an outspoken individual, penning feminist-leaning songs — “Just Because I’m a Woman” — that often upset her early, more traditional audience. What’s more, as an advocate for many up-and-coming acts (Emmylou Harris was one of them) Dolly didn’t just blaze a trail, she circled back and helped other female musicians navigate that trail.

With her big hair, shining smile, and seemingly endless supply of sequins and inspirational quotes, Dolly Parton, to me, is positivity incarnate. While I no longer wish to take on her moniker, she still stands as my muse for what work ethic, kindness, and a whole lot of hairspray can bring you.

Vintage Dolly Parton

Image via Papermag.

Vintage Dolly Parton

Image via Rare Dolly.

Vintage Dolly Parton

Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, and Emmylou Harris via Gateway Instrument.

Vintage Dolly Parton

Image via Rare Dolly.

About Julie O.

A lover of all things vintage and vintage-inspired, Julie bought her first 1950s frock in the fifth grade. Since then, Julie has become a self-described connoisseur of vintage and thrift shopping, which she shares on her blog, Orchid Grey. When she’s not scouring the racks for the perfect vintage skirt, this native New Englander can be found deftly navigating the slopes of a ski mountain, taking road-trips to the beach, and exploring new places with a vintage camera in her hand.

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  1. Fox & Doll 09/13/2013 at 12:37 pm #

    Love it! ModCloth should sell this:

  2. crystalzakrison 02/07/2014 at 7:23 am #

    Great Article! I lover her and she inspires as well. Check out my blog and read a similar article I wrote about Dolly Parton! Have a great day!

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