Since the early days of the Jackson Five, Michael Jackson has set himself apart from every other musical artist with his tremendous talent, but also utterly unique sense of style. From his bell-bottoms and Afro as a child star to his current military inspired suits, his fashion statements are etched permanently into our memory banks. Regardless of your particular opinion of Michael Jackson, it is undeniable that he has driven fashion and style to a whole new level. In these times of political correctness in unrecognizable styles of celebrities it is popular to bash the fashion sense of Michael Jackson. But, those that look without prejudice were excited to see his unique fashion picks on that famous trial. For those who wish to draw from the Michael Jackson’s ever-changing looks, each decade of his career provides a host of incredibly creative design elements.
Michael Jackson burst upon the pop scene in the early 1970’s wearing fringed shirts, platform heels, and wide bell-bottom pants. With a “Huggy Bear” inspired hat to top off his look, he delighted crowds with his astonishingly polished stage presence. If you are attracted to this era of Michael Jackson, try paisley shirts, and suede vests.
As Jackson reached early adulthood, the album “Off The Wall” introduced a new sleeker look. With tuxedo jackets, pegged pants, black shoes, and stark white socks, his iconoclastic style was beginning to take shape. From all of the different fashion eras in Jackson’s career, this look is probably the most sophisticated and easily emulated. For this retro look, try a simple black suit with an open collared white dress shirt. Add black loafers, and a fedora hat, and you’ll be ready to impress everyone with your “moonwalk”.
What most of us think of as the “Michael Jackson” style came to fruition when the album “Thriller” shot to the top of the billboard charts. His signature red leather jacket with its zippered details, tight fitting parachute pants, and a single white sequined glove encompassed the look of the 1980’s. His hair was styled in collar length, Jerry curls and he was frequently seen in mirrored aviator sunglasses. While most of us would probably avoid wearing all elements of this look these days, a nod to Michael Jackson’s style can be achieved by donning a cool pair of aviator specs and a custom leather jacket. Who doesn’t want to look a little like Michael Jackson when they are belting out Billie Jean at the local karaoke bar?
When thinking of Michael’s fashion in 90s, what usually come to mind are his edgy, theatrical costumes he wore on performances. Forgotten are his fine, sophisticated suits and ensembles he was wearing those years. He always strived to look neat and sophisticated. Michael was never caught by the trends and popular fads of the moment. His fashion sense was composed of classic styles, with addition of his own touches like his trademark armbands and other military inspired accessories.
In the last several years, Jackson’s cutting edge fashion has taken a backseat to his drastic plastic surgery and his controversial lifestyle. While defending himself against charges of child molestation, crowds of reporters and fans gathered at the court house to capture a glimpse of what Michael was wearing each day. And they had what to see. Michael Jackson never wore the same thing twice for his courtroom appearances and clothes were made each day, his designers have revealed. He tended to favor an unusual array of greatly tailored suits with pinned brass medals, and brightly colored vests leaving a very strong impression. Once again he declined to “fit in”. Instead he was sticking to himself – superstar he really is. He even appeared before the judge one day wearing pajamas.
After being acquitted of all charges last year, he is living in Bahrain, planning an anticipated comeback. Michael Jackson now has an opportunity to recreate his image once again. Fashion will certainly play an important role. Who knows if he will remain commercially viable after such a long hiatus? What we know for sure: he won’t fashion what everyone else does. And that’s an important style lesson to be learnt from Michael Jackson.