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How the Trend-Setting R&B Queen Aaliyah Influenced the Fashion of Today

In 1994, Aaliyah Haughton released her debut album, Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number changing the world of contemporary R&B and hip-hop forever. Throughout her career, she continued to demonstrate her vocal range and became a musical powerhouse.

 

The singer was known not only for her musical accolades but for her effortlessly cool style. Aaliyah had the ability to make ‘dressed down’ look ‘dressed up’ by mixing combinations of masculine pieces with feminine accessories. Aaliyah popularized the ‘tomboy’ look with her on and off-stage ensembles. Her go-to look was usually baggy bottoms with a crop top or sports bra, sometimes adding an oversized jacket or basketball jersey to the mix. The artist wore every look with confidence and never looked sloppy.

 

As Aaliyah matured, she was seen wearing more feminine and sultry looks but kept true to her roots with minimal jewelry and accessories. Aaliyah was all about making comfort look cool and the trends she created still resonate with celebrities, fashionistas and designers of today.

 

Nearly two decades later, Aaliyah’s iconic looks are still turning heads. Here are some trends made famous by the singer that we still rock today… 

#1 Baggy bottoms and crop top

Aaliyah was all about baggy bottoms paired with a crop top.  Most of us would not be able to rock this on the red carpet – unless you were Aaliyah. She made the combo look feminine and created an iconic 90s look that is still worn today.

#2 Oversized jackets

The songstress was also well known for donning oversized jackets. This look was popularized by Aaliyah and has become a major streetwear trend. The oversized jacket and puffer has proven to be popular among celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Jourdan Dunn.

#3 Basketball jersey

Aaliyah loved the basketball jersey and really pioneered the trend of sportswear and athleisure – off the court. Nowadays, models and celebrities can be seen wearing this popular trend during performances or just on a day to day basis. 

#4 LBD

In 2001 when she released her self-titled album, Aaliyah’s fashion had matured on the red carpet. She was frequently seen wearing black, mid-long length, fitted dresses with a slit. This demonstrated Aaliyah’s growth as well as created a simple, yet sultry red carpet look that celebrities continue to follow.

#5 Translucent Shades

Aaliyah loved her sunglasses. The songstress wore them on the red carpet, photoshoots and even on her album covers. Her translucent shades added a pop of 90s glam to her dark, sultry looks. No one looked better in bold, translucent sunnies than Aaliyah and the look lives on today. Celebrities like Rihanna, Gigi Hadid and Nicki Minaj can all be seen sporting Aaliyah’s iconic shades trend.

#6 Matching Sets

Another trend that Aaliyah famously mastered was the matching set. Not everyone was a fan of this uniformed look but the singer definitely honed this outfit craft. Aaliyah wore matching sets that were fitted to her body and accessorized them with simple jewelry and glam makeup. This 90s trend continued thanks to Aaliyah’s impeccable styling and is worn today by celebrities like Selena Gomez and Yara Shahidi.

#7 Cut Out Tops

Aaliyah always liked to show off some midriff and with her abs, who wouldn’t have? The singer was a huge fan of cut out tops that showed off her body and although it may have been a risky choice for the new artist, the trend certainly carried on. Nowadays we can see stars like Kim Kardashian rocking the cutout styles that Aaliyah famously wore.

Aaliyah’s career not only proved her to be a standout artist but a fashion trailblazer. The singer is responsible for many of these iconic styles we see today. She made way for women wearing streetwear without being deemed as ‘masculine.’ Her movement in fashion allowed designers and celebrities to embrace sportswear and streetwear, allowing these trends to still be relevant almost 20 years later. The staying power of her bold fashion choices is truly a testament to how great of an artist she was and how people gravitated towards her for her creativity.

By Lindsay Selliah