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.
Never has there been a performer in pop music with such an unapologetic, in-your-face style like Grace Jones. The Jamaican stunner made a name for herself as a singer, but she will always be remembered for her avant-garde, androgynous ensembles. With impossibly long legs, killer cheekbones and a striking, classically, beautiful face, the fashion world fell head-over-heels for her.
Grace could have easily been content with just being a pretty face, but she had the guts to stray from the conventional definition of beauty. What other female could rock a flat top with such panache in the 70’s? Years later, her unique hairstyle would become a trend among Black men in the 1980’s. Right now in fashion, we have been experiencing a huge Grace Jones revival. Strong shoulders, studs, harem pants, slinky separates, bustiers, fetish inspired clothes, and lots of leather were all Grace Jones trademarks.