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It Took Everyone a Long Time to Notice That Dolly Parton Wears Gloves

Photo Credit: Shirlaine Forrest/ WireImage/ Getty Images/ Cropped
Photo Credit: Shirlaine Forrest/ WireImage/ Getty Images/ Cropped

Dolly Parton, the beloved singer-songwriter and queen of country music, caught the attention of her fans for a bizarre reason. Videos have arisen online showing her wearing what appear to be skin-colored gloves with stuck-on nails, leading people to question why she’s making such a unique fashion statement. Soon, they came up with numerous theories as to why the singer might be wearing them.

Dolly’s gloves

The idea that Dolly wears nude gloves had circulated around TikTok, but became viral after user @hannahbearbraun posted her video which quickly amassed millions of views. It showed Dolly walking up on stage during a segment of her performance at the 37th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The TikTok user highlights Dolly’s hands holding the guitar to make her point.

Dolly Parton in all black with her arms in the air, with black fingerless gloves.
Dolly Parton, wearing her signature fingerless gloves, leaving the Late Show With David Letterman, January 11, 2012. (Photo Credit: James Devaney/ WireImage/ Getty Images)

In the video it appears as though Dolly’s wearing nude gloves with brightly painted nails stuck on the end that are visible as she rests her hand on the instrument. It’s no secret that Dolly has long been a fan of wearing gloves, but they’ve always been fingerless gloves coordinated with whatever outfit she was wearing. These gloves noticed during the Hall of Fame performance seem to be a new addition.

Fan speculations

As with most viral videos, the comment section was soon filled with people proposing their own justifications for the skin-colored gloves theory – including both fashion and medical reasons. Some users point out that she’s always worn different gloves simply as part of her wardrobe, while others believe that they’re actually stylish compression gloves to help with arthritis.

Dolly Parton in a grey and black sparkling dress and her hands on her hips.
Dolly Parton arriving at the 57th Academy of Country Music awards, wearing what fans assume are clear gloves, March 7, 2022. (Photo Credit: Bridget Bennett/ AFP/ Getty Images)

Other users thought that Dolly’s choice was made for cosmetic reasons, namely to cover up signs of aging or other dark spots on her hands. The final popular theory seems to be that the gloves are used to hide scars, tattoos, or both. This latter theory might be closest to the truth as Dolly has commented on hiding both types of marks before when she was asked about why she wears long-sleeved dresses and shirts so often.

Covering scar tissue

In a 2017 interview with Vanity FairDolly said, “I have a tendency to have keloid scar tissue, and 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. So [my tattoos] are all pastels and they’re meant to cover some scars. I’m not trying to make some big, bold statement.”

Dolly Parton posing with her hands on her hips in a white, long sleeved dress.
Dolly Parton arrives at the Joyful Noise Premiere in Los Angeles, featuring pearl see-through gloves, January 9, 2012. (Photo Credit: Gregg DeGuire/ FilmMagic/ Getty Images)

In a separate interview with InStyle, the singer’s creative director, Steve Summers, addressed questions about Dolly’s gloves. He said when people ask “what’s wrong with her hands?” he replies that “She’s 73, and she doesn’t like them! It’s a normal woman thing.” However, one of her superfans insists that her gloves, at least the finger-less ones from earlier years, were worn to cover a scar from corrective cosmetic hand surgery.

More from us: Dolly Parton’s Beauty Routine: The Queen Of Country Shared Her Secrets

So although it isn’t new information that Dolly wears gloves, nor that she likes to cover up certain marks, it hasn’t been confirmed whether the singer has indeed started regularly wearing nude gloves. She also hasn’t given fans any indication of the reason why she’d want to do so, although it does seem to stem from wanting to cover either age marks or scars.

Rosemary Giles

Rosemary Giles is a history content writer with Hive Media. She received both her bachelor of arts degree in history, and her master of arts degree in history from Western University. Her research focused on military, environmental, and Canadian history with a specific focus on the Second World War. As a student, she worked in a variety of research positions, including as an archivist. She also worked as a teaching assistant in the History Department.

Since completing her degrees, she has decided to take a step back from academia to focus her career on writing and sharing history in a more accessible way. With a passion for historical learning and historical education, her writing interests include social history, and war history, especially researching obscure facts about the Second World War. In her spare time, Rosemary enjoys spending time with her partner, her cats, and her horse, or sitting down to read a good book.