You don’t have to research too extensively to find out that Rihanna is a modern-day style icon. The CFDA has already officiated it. And still, there’s a special reason the title is bestowed upon her: The singer/designer is straight-up fearless when it comes to what she wears.
Rihanna is the kind of fashion lover who dresses for herself, eschewing what’s so-called flattering, expected, or on trend for what feels good. She’s championed cool, under-the-radar designers at major red carpet events and is the first to wear the (sometimes polarizing) items we see on the runways of fashion week, and don’t even get us started on her dedication to adhering to the Met Gala dress code.
But, as always, it’s the streets where Rihanna’s fashion know-how shines, where she doesn’t hesitate to wear everything from skinny jeans to lace-up boot leggings to sweatsuits to naked heels. Ahead, take a look at the ensembles that will solidify her place in fashion history and inspire so many re-creations of her timeless looks.
On Rihanna: Off-White sweatpants; Dior tote; Fenty x Puma slides
Style Notes: T minus three days until the Met Gala. Rihanna just touched down in New York ahead of the event, which she is co-hosting with Amal Clooney and Donatella Versace, wearing a super-casual outfit. Her extra-large denim jacket, slouchy sweatpants, and slippers-and-socks combo make basically the most comfortable airport look we’ve seen in a while. Now, we’ll be waiting with bated breath to see what she has up her sleeve for the red carpet on Monday. Something tells us it will be a bit more over-the-top than this.
Belt Your LBDs
On Rihanna: Versace dress; Chopard jewelry
Style Notes: While a little black dress can certainly stand alone as a hero piece, adding something extra special—in this case, a statement belt—takes a going-out look to the next level.
Streamline Your Sweats
On Rihanna: Simone Rocha coat; Palace sweatpants; Dior bag; Ugg Classic II Genuine Shearling Lined Short Boots ($160); Off-White x Warby Parker sunglasses
Style Notes: Choosing a classic, all-black (or at least mostly black) outfit is a shortcut to making any look a little more polished and sophisticated—yes, even sweats.
Pair Uggs With Anything (Even Gucci)
On Rihanna: Roc Nation hat; Off-White x Warby Parker sunglasses; Gucci Hooded Nylon Caban Down Jacket ($7900); Fenty Puma by Rihanna tote; Dior bag; Ugg Classic II Genuine Shearling Lined Short Boot ($160)
Style Notes: As Rihanna just showed us at JFK airport, if you’re going to wear Uggs, you might as well make it fashion and pair them with forward yet comfortable pieces.
Style Notes: The songstress and style icon really went 100% into metallics with a look that featured a reflective sheen from head (or earrings) to toe.
Double Up on Leather
On Rihanna: Dior jacket and dress
Style Notes: Leather on leather doesn’t have to look like it’s straight out of The Matrix. A minidress with a bustier-style top and a draped trench looks ultra cool with strappy sandals, a slicked-back ponytail, and a red lip.
Know When to Break the Rules
On Rihanna: Puma x Fenty top and pants
Style Notes: A general rule of thumb is choosing one voluminous piece to be the hero of your look. Here, Rihanna casts aside the rules in favor of two billowy pieces—and it totally worked, thanks to a figure-hugging, corset-like detail at the waist that grounds the look.
Play the Matching Game
Style Notes: Coordinate your lip color to your shirt? Why not? Here, Rihanna demonstrates her version of matchy-matchy—which is very subtle and totally cool.
Rethink Head-to-Toe Denim
On Rihanna: Tom Ford S/S 18 top, skirt, and boots
Style Notes: Denim is an obvious choice for pants and jackets—but what about boots? Rihanna puts her own spin on the jean-queen look, opting for knee-high, slouchy stiletto boots that totally make the outfit.
Don’t Shy Away From Head-to-Toe White
On Rihanna: Oliver Peoples The Row Empire Suite sunglasses; Off-White x Jimmy Choo boots
Style Notes: Rihanna is the master of working a monochrome ensemble—even in daring bright white. Elevate your airport look like the style star by finishing off laid-back pieces with a leather shoe and statement sunglasses.
Abide the “Pants Optional” Rule
On Rihanna: Erika Cavallini jacket; Balenciaga Leather Pointed-Toe Mules ($735); Christian Dior bag
Style Notes: The style star is known for playing with proportions—and that means sometimes the top half is enough to carry the whole look. Here, her oversize blazer works as a minidress of sorts, accessorized with razor-sharp mules, a gilded bag, and of-the-moment oval sunnies.
Go for a Slinky Boudoir Vibe
Style Notes: To avoid a rolled-out-of-bed look that’s too literal, style with a silky overcoat and tonal heels—and make sure your glam is on point.
On Rihanna: Juun.j shirt; Giuseppe Zanotti shoes; Maison Margiela belt
Style Notes: Shimmy down the shoulders of your button-down shirt (or dress) to instantly fake a V-neck shape.
Play With Proportions
On Rihanna: Matthew Adams Dolan suit
Style Notes: Don’t stick to traditional body shapes (like an hourglass)—use exaggerated proportions to dictate your own silhouette.
On Rihanna: Prada pajamas; The Row bag
Style Notes: Before you leave the house, throw on one more statement piece… instead of the old Coco Chanel advice.
When in Doubt, Add Statement Shoes
On Rihanna: Christian Dior So Real Pop 59mm Sunglasses ($395)
Style Notes: Even a casual look can benefit from a bit of footwear bling.
Mix Classics With a Polarizing Piece
On Rihanna: Unravel boots
Style Notes: Rihanna’s lace-up boot leggings take center stage against a classic trench coat.
Supersize Your Denim
On Rihanna: Off-White shirt; Dior bag and beret
Style Notes: Don’t shy away from oversize denim pieces. Pair them with more slim-fit basics or a cropped top to balance the proportions of the bold look.
Get Creative With Color Combinations
On Rihanna: Burberry jacket
Style Notes: Who’s to say green doesn’t pair well with pink (or orange or red, for that matter)? Style two contrasting colors, and you might be pleasantly surprised by the result.
Next up: Take a look at the Gigi Hadid outfits we all want to copy.