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.
There’s always been an air of mystery around Sade. She doesn’t need bells and whistles to get our attention and in this gimmicky music landscape, that’s rare. No new makeover with every new album or promotional tour with outfit changes for Sade, since the 80’s the Nigerian-British songstress’s atmospheric, soulful voice has been all that she’s needed to win a loyal following. She’s also manage to win new generations of fans over the years.
When it comes to Sade’s style, the first thing that pops to mind is her long-time signature tight, low ponytail or chignon, those strong brows, her large hoop earrings and that fire-engine,enviable pout. We loved her look in the 80’s, she was so chic. Recently, M.I.A. was quoted as saying that her current pared-down look is inspired by Sade.
Her style was a mix of minimalist sexy with long, body-hugging dresses with long sleeves that revealed an open back from behind (similar to what she wore in the video for “Smooth Operator”) and menswear elegance with oversized men’s shirts tucked into jeans and driving gloves. Sade has a knack for looking feminine, elegant and sexy.