Friday, June 26, 2009


Since the early days of the Jackson Five, Michael Jackson has set himself apart from every other musical artist with his tremendous talent, but also utterly unique sense of style. From his bell-bottoms and Afro as a child star to his current military inspired suits, his fashion statements are etched permanently into our memory banks. Regardless of your particular opinion of Michael Jackson, it is undeniable that he has driven fashion and style to a whole new level. In these times of political correctness in unrecognizable styles of celebrities it is popular to bash the fashion sense of Michael Jackson. But, those that look without prejudice were excited to see his unique fashion picks on that famous trial. For those who wish to draw from the Michael Jackson’s ever-changing looks, each decade of his career provided a host of incredibly creative design elements.
Michael Jackson burst upon the pop scene in the early 1970’s wearing fringed shirts, platform heels, and wide bell-bottom pants. With a “Huggy Bear” inspired hat to top off his look, he delighted crowds with his astonishingly polished stage presence. If you are attracted to this era of Michael Jackson, try paisley shirts, and suede vests.
As Jackson reached early adulthood, the album “Off The Wall” introduced a new sleeker look. With tuxedo jackets, pegged pants, black shoes, and stark white socks, his iconoclastic style was beginning to take shape. From all of the different fashion eras in Jackson’s career, this look is probably the most sophisticated and easily emulated. For this retro look, try a simple black suit with an open collared white dress shirt. Add black loafers, and a fedora hat, and you’ll be ready to impress everyone with your “moonwalk”.
What most of us think of as the “Michael Jackson” style came to fruition when the album “Thriller” shot to the top of the billboard charts. His signature red leather jacket with its zippered details, tight fitting parachute pants, and a single white sequined glove encompassed the look of the 1980’s. His hair was styled in collar length, Jerry curls and he was frequently seen in mirrored aviator sunglasses. While most of us would probably avoid wearing all elements of this look these days, a nod to Michael Jackson’s style can be achieved by donning a cool pair of aviator specs and a custom leather jacket. Who didn’t want to look a little like Michael Jackson when they are belting out Billie Jean at the local karaoke bar?
When thinking of Michael’s fashion in 90s, what usually come to mind are his edgy, theatrical costumes he wore on performances. Forgotten are his fine, sophisticated suits and ensembles he was wearing those years. He always strived to look neat and sophisticated. Michael was never caught by the trends and popular fads of the moment. His fashion sense was composed of classic styles, with addition of his own touches like his trademark armbands and other military inspired accessories.
In the last several years, Jackson’s cutting edge fashion has taken a backseat to his drastic plastic surgery and his controversial lifestyle. While defending himself against charges of child molestation, crowds of reporters and fans gathered at the court house to capture a glimpse of what Michael was wearing each day. Michael Jackson never wore the same thing twice for his courtroom appearances and clothes were made each day, his designers have revealed. He tended to favor an unusual array of greatly tailored suits with pinned brass medals, and brightly colored vests leaving a very strong impression. Once again he declined to “fit in”. Instead he was sticking to himself - the true superstar he really is. He even appeared before the judge one day wearing pajamas.
After being acquitted of all charges, Michael disappeared for a while and now is gone forever from us. Unfortunately, his plans for an anticipated comeback will never get to be experienced. But thanks to the millions of fans, his music & style will live on our childhood memories. We will always be able to recall where we were when we heard "Thriller" or when we tried to emulate the "Moonwalk" for friends & families.

Today's music artists, such as, Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown, just to name a few, all took a note out of Michael's style book. Their wardrobe & fashion choices were definitely a respectful admiration of the King of Pop's style. He didn't just inspire male artists in the Pop genre, the ladies always admired MJ's fierce fashion. From Britney to Rihanna, they all wanted to be the "pretty baby with the high heels on". Michael Jackson will always be remembered for the ability to recreate his image with his personality, charisma, and larger-than life style. As the music industry & the world mourn his passing, the fashion world will never be the same. He was the man that was able to break down stereotypes, create trends, and never sold-out to what was happening in the world. And that’s an important style lesson to be learnt from Michael Jackson.

What are your favorite Michael Jackson ensembles? Feel free to comment below & share your thoughts on the King of Pop's style contributions.
Rest in Peace the King of Pop & Style!