Today is Janet “Miss Jackson If Ya Nasty’s” birthday, and we are celebrating the occasion by taking a look back at some of her most iconic looks. A musical legend, Jackson is also a style legend whose revolutionary looks are still the source of inspiration for so many. Jackson’s musical eras are always accompanied by game-changing fits and hairstyles, making each era different from the last. Whether it’s a music video, performance, or an event, Janet Jackson always has her foot on our necks. So without further ado, let’s revisit some of these classic looks.
ONE37pm's Top 13 Janet Jackson Fashion Moments
1. Control Era (1986)
Ah. The Control era. Janet said that she was “taking control of what she was gonna say and do and that she was gonna do it her way.” She was not playing y’all. The Control era was accompanied by a lot of all-black fits that were very simple like the black leather jacket, black jeans, and black top she wore for her 1987 Grammy performance of “What Have You Done For Me Lately,” but still eye-catching.
And, of course, the hair. Our personal favorite is her “Pleasure Principle” look which featured Janet rocking a black t-shirt, black jeans, and bangs. Iconic.
We're gonna throw in this 1987 Grammy Performance just because if you haven't seen it already, you need to. It's a masterpiece.
2. Rhythm Nation Era (1989)
Remember how we said Janet’s musical eras were often accompanied by a new look? The Rhythm Nation era was the first major example of that. Musically there was nothing about Rhythm Nation that was similar to Control, and the same can be said for Janet’s style during that time.
The all-black theme was still very much present, but this time around we primarily saw Jackson in sleek military wear with silver adornments along with a black ball cap which also had some of the same adornments that were clipped onto her outfit. One of these days we’re going to rock this look as a tribute to Janet for Halloween.
And let's put the "Rhythm Nation" video in here while we're at it.
3. Janet Era (Album Cover) 1993
Album-wise, we didn’t see Janet again until the release of her 1993 self-titled album Janet, and ladies and gentlemen, she served so many legendary looks during this era that we are going to have to break them up separately. We’ll start with the cover. Shot by the wonderful Patrick Demarchelier (may he rest in peace), the album cover featured Janet topless with her chest covered by then boyfriend Rene Elizondo.
This. Made. History. Jaw-dropping history. The world had never before seen Janet quite like this, and the cover marked the world’s introduction to a new Janet Jackson.
4. Janet Era (If) 1993
Once again, the theme was simple. For the video (which is one of our favorites), Janet wore a black crop vest, a choker, and black pants, but it was her performance at the 1993 VMA’s that really took the crown. For the performance, Janet rocked….wait for it….a halter black crop top, and jeans. That’s it. And yet, that outfit has withstood the test of time. The black crop and jeans had and still has some serious power. Oh, and once again the hair. Those light brown curls fit perfectly with Janet’s new style.
5. Poetic Justice (1993)
Speaking of Janet Jackson's looks that have withstood the test of time, we’ve gotta take it back to Poetic Justice. In the Black community, if you wear braids and a black hat, you automatically get called Janet Jackson. That’s the name of the game, and that is the power this look holds.
6. 1995 VMAs
It had been a minute since we’d seen Janet with a short haircut, but she brought it back in 1995. For this event, Janet wore a white cropped shirt with black flowy pants which is still etched in our minds to this day. In fact, Teyana Taylor recreated the look at the 2017 VMAs (and killed it by the way).
7. The Velvet Rope Era (1997)
To quote Jackson herself in the song “Free Xone,” the only rule for this era is that there were no rules. Let’s start with the red curls. I would be lying if I said that I haven’t thought about recreating this hairstyle on more than one occasion, and one day I am going to. Everything about The Velvet Rope was iconic. Every. Single. Thing. Did we say every single thing?
The album itself, the theme, the messages, the music videos, the performances, and the gosh darn Velvet Rope tour. The choreography. The nunchucks! In the words of James Brown, “Good God Almighty.”
And here's the "I Get So Lonely" video for good measure.
8. Y2K Janet (2000 MTV Movie Awards)
The early 2000s were a super fun and interesting time. You were either somewhere futuristic, or you looked like you were about to be in the Matrix. This fit was very Matrix-like if you ask us, and of course, Janet looked incredible.
9. 2002 Essence Awards
This look was a slightly more mature version of 1993 Janet. The light brown curls were back, and Janet looked amazing as she took to the stage to accept her award for “Entertainer of the Year.” Winning a prestigious award and slaying everybody fashion-wise? Who else does it like Janet?
10. Why Did I Get Married Premiere 2007
The Red Dress. Nothing more needs to be said.
11. 2015 Bet Awards
Janet donned a white ensemble to accept her Ultimate Icon Award at the 2015 BET Awards. Much deserved.
12. Pregnancy Announcement 2016
Aw! What can top this? Mama Janet was glowing in this People Magazine exclusive where she officially confirmed her pregnancy. The white dress paired with the gray sweater was a cute chic maternity look.
We wish Queen Janet a very Happy Birthday, and we’re sure that there are plenty more legendary style moments ahead for this icon.