Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson's Fashion Evolution: An Iconic Journey


Dec. 2 2023, Published 4:38 p.m. ET

Janet Jackson is a widely respected singer, actor, and fashion icon. Ever since she was thrust into the limelight as part of an exceptional entertainment family, Janet has always made waves with her unique, eye-catching and trendsetting outfits.

To make sure that her look matches her stage in life, Janet is known for changing things up. This has also made it easier for her to remain relevant in the face of shifting trends in fashion and style. In the course of her highly publicized life, Janet has rocked tailored dress suits, oversized blazers, and more.

Continue reading for a quick run-through of the “Damn Baby” star’s fashion evolution over the years.

The Child Superstar

Back in 1977, Janet Jackson was cast in the popular TV show Good Times. The singer played the role of Penny. As her first big Hollywood role, the show would play a major role in defining her image throughout her childhood acting career. In general, her wardrobe was made up of bold colors, characteristic of the prevailing fashion trends in the seventies.

However, it is worth mentioning that this also marked the first time when Janet would encounter criticism about her body. In an interview with Anderson Cooper, the singer mentioned how a producer said she was too heavy. Janet also stated that a wardrobe lady said, “I had to put bandages around [my] chest.”

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The Pop Superstar

Janet began showing off her amazing sense of style when she released her hit album “Control” in 1986. Her simple but alluring outfit for the “Pleasure Principle” music visual set the tone for her new image as a pop star. In the video, the star wore a black pair of jeans cinched at the waist with a belt and a black t-shirt. That look and the video were a big hit at the MTV Video Music Awards held in 1988 – winning the best choreography.

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“Rhythm Nation” Outfit

Janet’s iconic military-style outfit for the song’s music video is still a big hit! In the visual, the popular singer wore black boots to match her black pants. Up top, she rocked a cropped black jacket with silver buckles, eighties-style shoulder pads, and a leather collar. A black cap over her ponytail-styled hair rounded things off.

Over the years, various celebrities have paid homage to the outfit – including Queen Bey and her daughter Blue Ivy, who rocked something similar for Halloween in 2014.

The “Poetic Justice” Era

In the early ‘90s, Janet added box braids to her look. The singer brought this look to the filming of the Poetic Justice. In the movie, the singer/actress wore light-wash jeans cinched with a belt and a long-sleeved black shirt. A black Newsboy hat covered her box braids.

Speaking to HelloBeautiful back in 2019, associate professor of Africana Studies at the University of Delaware, Tanisha Ford, stated that when Janet wore the braids, “It elevated those braids to a certain level of like Black girl glam” when explaining the iconic nature of the look.

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