Revisiting Aaliyah's Influence on 90s Fashion and 15 of Her Most Iconic Outfits

We're celebrating the life and legacy of Babygirl

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Aaliyah. The LIYAH. The streetwear gangsta R&B princess that could grab your attention whether she was wearing a tracksuit, bandanna, and a pair of Nike’s, or a dress and heels (which she only really began wearing semi-regularly the last year of her life).

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Sure Aaliyah wasn’t the first to ditch girly-girl fashion of the 1980s and early 1990s. TLC made their debut wearing oversized baggy clothes and have never strayed away from that. Mary J. Blige, Salt-N-Pepa, and a few others were rocking urban streetwear heavily as well, but like with everything else, Aaliyah aka “Babygirl” put her own spin on it.

Liyah’s fashion sense and personality was commonly referred to as “street but sweet,” and despite only living 22 years (only seven of which were a part of her professional career), her style is still heavily referenced and copied today. As we reflect on her life today, here are some of her best looks and most influential outfits.

1. 1994 Record Store Event

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This is how we were introduced to Aaliyah in 1994. The then 15-year-old was known for wearing hardly any makeup, and baggy clothes which oftentimes included football and basketball jerseys.

2. 1995 Apollo Performance

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And when she wasn’t wearing jerseys, she would wear overalls with a bralette underneath. Like we said before, “street but sweet.”

3. Urban Aid 1995

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Oversized jackets and crop tops were also a part of the singer’s regular wardrobe during that time period.

4. One In A Million Era (1996)

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1996 saw the release of Aaliyah’s sophomore album One In A Million, where she debuted a new look and sound. This era sparked the beginning of Aaliyah famously wearing her hair over her eye (which added to her appeal and mystery), while introducing the leather motorcycle looks she would become later associated with.

If You’re Girl Only Knew

One In A Million

Hot Like Fire

5. Summer Jam 1997

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We can’t think of anyone else that was wearing a bikini top underneath a tracksuit before Aaliyah. The trend bathing suit tops with jeans, skirts, etc., would become popular at the start of the new millennium, by like a true trendsetter, by then Aaliyah had already ditched it.

6. Tommy Hilfiger

7. 1997 Nickelodeon Big-Help-A-Thon

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We also have to appreciate simple looks like these where she would pair a cami with some joggers and pull up to the red carpet.

8. 1997 Gift of Song Event

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And while streetwear was her thing, she also showed us that she could wear a blazer with fitted pants while still capturing a signature Aaliyah outfit.

10. 1998 Academy Awards

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In 1998, Aaliyah became one of the youngest people to ever perform at the Oscars, and she did so in an elegant black dress with the slightest slit on the side. That was Aaliyah, simple but sexy.

11. 1998 Soul Train Awards

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And she was also really cool too.

12. Try Again Video (2000)

13. 2000 MTV VMAs

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The year 2000 is where we saw Aaliyah’s style change again. Though she never left her street looks, she did begin wearing dresses more often. The 2000 VMAs is one of her best red carpet outfits.

14. Self-Titled era, aka “The Red Album”

15. Rock The Boat (2001)

We will always remember Aaliyah, and what she brought to the world of music, movies, and fashion. 

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