Mary J. Blige has spent three decades in the spotlight, and since the release of her first album, 1992’s What’s the 411?,she’s racked up a plethora of accolades and iconic performances, including nine Grammy awards and an epic, career-spanning medley at the BET Awards in 2019. In her most recent act, the 51-year-old “Queen of Hip Hop Soul” performed during the Super Bowl Halftime Show on Feb. 13, alongside fellow all-stars Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, and Dr. Dre.
Blige stepped onto the stage wearing a
fully sequined outfit custom-designed by Peter Dundas, complete with matching hot pants, a corset-style top, and thigh-high boots — adding yet another head-turning hit to her long-time status as a fashion icon.
The star is often donning sleek, coordinated looks on red carpets and leaning into her affinity for bold color and sparkle. Her style’s had unique staying power over the years, whether in the form of fur-trimmed suits and hats, glittering ball gowns, or form-fitting bodysuits. But while she’s maintained her general aesthetic, she’s updated some of her favorite outfits, too. That memorable leopard print she wore to the Grammys in 1996? Blige has gone on to do different variations of the look, like at the
Billboard Music Awards in 2011 and as recently as this past December, for an event in Miami.
To reminisce on the musician’s most memorable fashion moments, enjoy 42 of Mary J. Blige’s best outfits of all time.
1 Trenched Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images
Blige made her affection for all-white-everything outfits known early, like with this white dress and trench combo at the Soul Train Music Awards in 1995.
2 Fabulous In Fendi David Corio/Redferns/Getty Images
1995 or 2022? It’s hard to tell based on this photo of Blige performing at a charity concert in a pair of Fendi pants with a cropped jacket — in 1995.
3 Leopard Lady Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images
Mic. Drop. Blige took home a Grammy Award in 1996, as well as our personal award for best dressed at that year’s award show, à la this head-to-toe leopard look.
4 Gold Excellence Michael Ochs Archives/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Her monochromatic ensembles continued at the Soul Train Awards in 1997 with this gold and sheer number.
5 Stage Ready picture alliance/picture alliance/Getty Images
How great is this sequin, chainmail-esque outfit Blige wore to perform in Germany in 1997? The metallic boots are an amazing touch.
6 Pretty In Pink Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images
Having fun with mixed textures and prints, Blige looked gorgeous in this pink outfit at the Soul Train “Lady of Soul” Awards in 1998.
7 Purple! Purple! Purple! Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images
Purple > everything. Blige matched the jacket to the sweater to the sunglasses in this glorious look from the Soul Train Music Awards in 1996.
8 Amazing Accessories Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images
Blige loves a fur accessory, as displayed here with a white fur vest and hat at a pre-Grammys party in 1999.
9 Zipped Up Michael Ochs Archives/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
How chic is this black, belted, zip-up leather look from the Billboard Music Awards in 1999?
10 Neon Moment Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images
More color! More fur! Blige rang in the new millennium in this hot pink gown and matching stole at the 2000 Grammys.
11 Hats Off Michael Caulfield Archive/WireImage/Getty Images
Opting again for an all-white look, the tailoring on this suit, from the My VH1 Music Awards in 2001, is perfection.
12 All Black Everything Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images
On the red carpet that same night, Blige opted for a black jacket over a revealing, peekaboo top. And of course, sunglasses.
13 Mellow Yellow Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images
Another monochromatic look, this time in butter yellow — bra, shoes, and all — for a Rock the Vote event in 2001.
14 Major In A Mini Scott Gries/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Who doesn’t love a mini dress and thigh-high boot? This beige set was worn by Blige to perform at VH1 Divas: Live in 2001.
15 Prints On Prints Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Getty Images
At the Essence Awards in 2003, Blige donned a patterned, off-the-shoulder, belted ensemble — with color-matched accessories, of course.
16 So Clutch Steve Azzara/Corbis Entertainment/Getty Images
Carrying the ubiquitous early-aughts wristlet, Blige wore an amazing white vest and pants look with animal-print stilettos to the VMAs in 2003.
17 Power Clashing Gregg DeGuire/WireImage/Getty Images
Yellow fur + sequins + metallic heels, oh my. This was a power play by Blige at the 2004 Grammys.
18 Attention To Detail Jemal Countess/WireImage/Getty Images
Even her more casual outfits feature a little something special, like this tan, belted suit with matching boots and a fur collar from an event in New York City in 2005.
19 Ultimate Goddess Frank Trapper/Corbis Entertainment/Getty Images
Blige looked ethereal at the 2006 American Music Awards in a cream, one shoulder gown.
20 Add Some Sparkle 2007 KMazur/WireImage/Getty Images
She wore a similar color to the 2007 Grammy Awards, but this time paired with some sparkle and a belt.
21 One-Shoulder Elegance 2007 Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Getty Images
In 2007, she made a floor-dusting black gown anything but boring, thanks to the one-shoulder detail and elegant accessories
22 Fur Forever Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images
Blige reiterated her love of fur in a cozy coat and branded Louis Vuitton scarf in 2008. Plus, wearing LV to a Gucci event? Iconic.
23 Hot! Pink! Lester Cohen/WireImage/Getty Images
In another welcome pop of color on the red carpet, Blige wore a pink gown with ruffled sleeves to a 2013 Emmys after-party.
24 Bold & Beautiful Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images
The following year, she adhered to the pink family with a beautiful, strapless gown with ruffled layering at the 2010 Met Gala, whose theme was “American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity.”
25 Camo Perfection Gus Stewart/Redferns/Getty Images
Behold: the camo, corseted, sparkly, turtleneck bodysuit dreams are made of. Blige wore it for a 2010 concert in London.
26 Killer Catsuit Tim Mosenfelder/Corbis Entertainment/Getty Images
The performance hits just keep coming, like this white catsuit with a brown corset and matching brown boots in 2011.
27 Leopard, Revisited 2011 Michael Tran/FilmMagic/Getty Images
There’s that leopard print again, this time via a floor-length gown, paired with a high pony at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards.
28 Fun Feathers 2012 Jason Merritt/TERM/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Blige paired sequins with feathers for this glamorous Golden Globes look in 2012.
29 Suited Up 2013 Allen Berezovsky/WireImage/Getty Images
In 2013, Blige wore a velvet, black suit with a white collar for a Christmas tree lighting.
30 So Sparkly Jeff Kravitz/AMA2014/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images
She donned a glamorous black, sequined gown at the American Music Awards in 2014.
31 Belted Babe Gallo Images/Gallo Images/Getty Images
This sheer top with high-waisted, belted trousers and gold accessories brought down the house at a 2015 concert in Johannesburg.
32 Sleek & Chic Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage/Getty Images
Blige arrived to Vanity Fair’s 2016 Oscar Party as the picture of elegance in this long-sleeve gown with crystal embellishments, elevated with a black and crystal evening bag.
33 Lovely Lace Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
This sexy ensemble, featuring a corset-style black lace gown with thin straps and a high slit, comes courtesy of the 2017 Met Gala, where the theme was “Comme des Garçons’s Rei Kawakubo.”
34 Going For Gold JEAN-BAPTISTE LACROIX/AFP/Getty Images
For Vanity Fair’s 2018 Oscar Party, Blige looked gorgeous in a gold, sequin gown with beaded detailing.
35 Bow Down Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images
Blige went full Palm Springs for a 2018 film festival there, courtesy of a light blue gown with puff shoulders and a bow.
36 Two Sided Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
To the EE British Academy Film Awards in 2019, she wore this half white, half gold suit with a train and matching pumps.
37 It’s Gucci James Devaney/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
While sitting courtside at a 2019 basketball game, she rocked this epic hat-sweater-Gucci boot combo.
38 Pop Of Fur Johnny Nunez/WireImage/Getty Images
Blige brought back the fur — this time in yellow, and worn over a Balmain top and jeans — for a 2020 concert in New York.
39 Golden Girl Kevin Mazur/MG21/Getty Images
This gown from 2021’s Met Gala has everything: A plunging neck line, a high slit, and so many sequins. (Last year’s theme? “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.”
) 40 The Last Leopard Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
And here it is again, Blige’s beloved leopard print, seen here in a one-shoulder variation with black boots for a 2021 event in Miami.
41 Super Bowl Ready Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
In perhaps the best indicator of how she’ll dress on Sunday, Blige wore a white shorts suit with matching white sunglasses and tan boots to a Super Bowl press conference.
42 Super Bowl Halftime Show Kevin C. Cox / Staff/Getty
Blige performed classic hits at the 2022 Super Bowl halftime show wearing head-to-toe sequins designed by Dundas along with lengthy blonde waves and a bedazzled manicure.
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This article was originally published on
Feb. 11, 2022