Most Stylish Black Women in History
by Alexandra Phanor-Faury
We doubt Michelle Obama ever fathomed that her personal style would be of such interest to the American public. But one year into being First Lady, it’s undeniable that her affinity for fashion has not only been a boast for American fashion but it has also reaffirmed both the buying power of African-American women and what we’ve always known-that Black women are stylish. Michelle Obama may be one of the very few Black women celebrated for her impeccable taste by mainstream America, but she certainly isn’t the first stylish sista to make an impressive fashion mark. Black women have long demonstrated their styles and personalities through their inventive fashion transformations over the past decades.
From the 40’s church going women who took pride in their elaborate hats to acclaimed author Zora Neal Hurston’s more minimal lady-like chapeau to Josephine Baker’s sensual style to Grace Jones’ strong edge, fashion has always been part of our lives. In honor of Black History Month, we're taking a look back at the most stylish Black women in history and paying tribute to their timeless style.
Zora Neale Hurston was one of the key players in shaping the Harlem Renaissance. An exceptional writer, she celebrated Black life in rural America in her books, short stories and essays. One of her most famous works, “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” was penned when she lived in Haiti doing anthropological work. A defiant and forward thinker, Hurston was almost never without a chic hat or a necklace, preferably a strand of pearls.
Hurston’s love affair with hats started when she was young girl and would continue on into old age. She loved to wear hers tipped to the side to reveal her hairstyle. There was nothing ostentatious about Hurston’s hats. She managed to look both sophisticated and approachable.One look at Hurston and we can’t help but wonder why ladies ever stopped wearing hats.