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.
Before there was Naomi Campbell, there was Naomi Sims. Sims was the first Black supermodel. The chocolate beauty broke barriers and gained success by appearing on the cover of many high-profile publications such as Life. Sims modeled for the likes of Halston, Fernando Sánchez and Giorgio di Sant’Angelo. Nevertheless, Sims did not simply rest on her looks and lithe body, she became an entrepreneur and launched a multi-million dollar wig line for women of color.
As for her ‘do, Sims wore her hair in her signature tight ballerina bun.A look that inspired Diana Ross’s hairstyle in “Mahogany”.
Naomi Sims wears a long belted dress by Halston in 1972.