Country Singer Who Launched Dolly Parton’s Career Obsessed Over Rhinestone Boots and Nudie Suits

One would expect the person who catapulted Dolly Parton to fame would have spectacular taste. His name: Porter Wagoner. His favorite fashion statement: rhinestones.

The Country Music Hall of Fame singer, who died 10 years ago, hosted a long-running TV program where he introduced Dolly Parton in 1967, and the pair performed as a duo many times thereafter.

Porter Wagoner boots
Country singer Porter Wagoner wears an embellished suit and rhinestone boots in 2007.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock.
Porter Wagoner boots
Detail of country singer Porter Wagoner’s embellished boots.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock.

They were quite an eye-catching act: Parton and her va-va-voom figure and Wagoner, who sparkled from head to toe in embellished cowboy boots that he teamed with ornate suits by Nudie, the brand responsible for Elvis Presley’s most flamboyant costumes.

Speaking to Footwear News at the People’s Choice Awards in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Lonestar’s Dean Sams recalled how the late musician’s striking style influenced him.

Porter Wagoner boots
Country singer Porter Wagoner wears an embellished suit and rhinestone boots in 2000.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock.

“I used to work at a theme park in Nashville called Opryland, and it’s no longer there [having closed in 1997]. I used to impersonate Porter Wagoner, and he was known for his rhinestone boots,” he said of his former gig before hitting it big with his music group.

“My last season there, right before I put the band Lonestar together, he actually presented me with a pair of rhinestone boots that I still have to this day.”

lonestar Dean Sams
Musicians Dean Sams and Michael Britt of country group Lonestar at the 2017 People’s Choice Awards.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock.

On his personal style, Sams shared, “Boots say a lot about a person. What’s great about it is the people who are looking at what you have on — they get to decide what they think: ‘he’s cool, he’s a nerd, he’s tough, he’s not so tough.’ But I don’t care what you decide because I’m comfortable and I’m happy in them.”

Lonestar was nominated in the Favorite Country Group category, but the honor went to Little Big Town.

meg donnelly american housewife
“American Housewife” actress Meg Donnelly wears a House of CB blouse and Steve Madden shoes.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock.

The award show, voted on by the public, attracted stars of film, TV, music and other entertainers, including Meg Donnelly from “American Housewife,” who hit the red carpet in Steve Madden shoes in support of her ABC series’ nomination in the Favorite New Comedy category. (“Man With a Plan” won.)

“We’re from Westport, Conn., so a lot of it is preppy,” she said of her character’s style, which includes Keds and Converse sneakers. “We’re supposed to be a normal family.”

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