Dolly Parton has been wearing nude, finger-less gloves for a long time, but the internet has suddenly taken notice thanks to a viral TikTok posted by user hannahbearbraun, which features a clip of the 76-year-old American country star performing at the 37th annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. In the video, Parton appears at the microphone at LA’s Microsoft Theater wearing a gemstone-embellished patent leather pantsuit, which coordinates perfectly with the decoration on her guitar and its strap.
A close look at her hands does, in fact, offer a glimpse of the gloves, which she almost always accessorizes with cocktail rings, if you look back at her outfits through history. Parton doesn’t just wear the gloves onstage, but for interviews, signing autographs, and red carpets. While some TikTok commenters posted that the gloves are either compression for her arthritis or meant to cover her finger tattoos, Parton has never publicly confirmed this to be true.
In 2017, she told Vanity Fair that she tries to hide her keloid scar tissue, explaining, “I have a tendency where if I have any kind of scars anywhere then they kind of have a purple tinge that I can never get rid of.” Parton also said that her butterfly and flower tattoos are pastel-colored to help with covering the scars.
Later, her creative director Steve Summers told InStyle that each pair of gloves is custom-made (many are embellished with rhinestones), and that they are simply part of her wardrobe. “People always ask why she always wears sleeves — well, she’s 73-years-old, and she doesn’t like her elbows. [They ask] ‘what’s wrong with her hands?’ She’s 73, and she doesn’t like them! It’s a normal woman thing,” he stated in a 2019 article.
Regardless of Parton’s intent, we’re shining the light on some of her most memorable looks — all of which stand to represent her signature sense of style — gloves or no gloves.