When I think Rihanna, I think style icon. And while Rihanna's style evolution over the past year has made people take notice, she's been breaking fashion rules for years. The first time I really remember Rihanna breaking out of her “Pon de Replay” shell was when she first cut her hair short and asymmetrical during the Good Girl Gone Bad Era and from there, her fashion and beauty sense really started to mirror her album titles in a very good way.
Rihanna is a rule breaker and it's a big reason why I love her so much. Whether it's responding to the haters on social media, being body posi in an Adam Selman sheer rhinestone encrusted dress at the CFDA awards, or taking on Instagram's no nudity policy in her efforts to free the nipple, Rihanna is not here for anyone's shit.
When it comes specifically to fashion, Rihanna ignores both fashion rules and gender norms, which means she's definitely not afraid to wear white after Labor Day, she'll kill a dress with sneakers, and she's certainly not afraid to look un-feminine. Perhaps Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour summed it up best when she presented Rihanna with the 2014 CFDA award and described how Ri-Ri's fashion message translates to her fans: "It's fun to feel a little boyish one day and dress up like a dazzling diva the next... the point is to be audacious even jaw-dropping or button pushing... while remaining true to yourself."
As a plus size woman who found her own empowerment through fashion, there's a lot to admire and learn from Rihanna's fashion message. In that same CFDA acceptance speech, Rihanna noted that fashion was her defense mechanism as a kid and said her thought process was: "She could beat me, but she could not beat my outfit." It's pretty clear that thought process still rings true and inspires women of all sizes to find their own empowerment through fashion.
So I took a long stroll through Rihanna's Instagram to compile a love letter of sorts to her fashion bending ways.
1. Socks With Sandals
Rihanna's flying on a private jet. You think she cares about silly fashion rules? Nope. Not one of them.
2. Lingerie As Outerwear
Whether's she's wearing a bralette with a maxi skirt or thigh high tights with a luxe fur jacket, Rihanna proves that lingerie isn't just for the bedroom.
Speaking of fur, Rihanna wears a lot of it. PETA be damned.
4. Pink Eyebrows
Rihanna rocked pink brows with platinum blonde curls for the "Pour It Up" video. Who says your eyebrows need to match your hair?
5. Denim On Denim
This is the first denim look on this list but certainly not the last. Rih does denim better than anyone and River Island's two-piece number and her statuesque pose remind us why.
6. Matchy Matchy
Rihanna matched her headband to her skirt to her jacket and even to her background in this series of looks while she was in Greece and I'm here for all of it.
7. Print Mixing
Major Rihanna-level side-eye to anyone who still thinks you can't mix stripes with bold patterns.
8. Power To The Pussy
I know all about the profanity police trying to censor language on apparel but Rihanna likes her pussy in pink and won't let you forget it.
9. Drop Crotch Denim
For me, this is one of Rihanna's most iconic looks. It was the first time I remember seeing a drop crotch pant and the double zipper front is just next level fashion at its best.
10. Men's Suit
Rihanna wore this stunning Dolce & Gabbana suit look to the 2009 Met Ball and proved bowties aren't just for boys.
11. Denim Midi Skirt
Rihanna is the only person who I think could sell me on this skirt and the casual styling definitely does it for me.
12. T-Shirt Sans Pants
Rihanna just makes everything she does look so effortless — whether it's wearing a tee without pants or standing next to a cheetah, she's doing it all.
Rihanna's sartorial choices (including these overalls) are a work of art to me.
Rihanna changes her hair so much that it's hard to keep up — but I'm down for every change she makes, including the mullet phase. Because let's face it, she's still street chic.
15. Big Bell Bottoms
I'm tired of hearing magazines sing the praises of skinny jeans. I love a good bell bottom and Rihanna did this look big.
There's this famous quote from Coco Chanel that I love to hate that goes, "Once you've dressed, and before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off," so it brought my gaudy over-accessorizing heart great joy when Rihanna wore a ton of pearl necklaces to a Chanel fashion show.
17. Denim Bikini
I had to go way in the depths of Rihanna's IG for this gem but since I've always wished that a denim bikini existed, I'm glad I found it. The impracticality of a bathing suit made of denim just makes this fashion moment even better. Anything for the look, amirite?
Images: Getty; Giphy; badgalriri/Instagram