Celeb Style
Rihanna's style evolution
Rihanna's Style Evolution Will Lift You Up To New Heights

The babe from Barbados stays winning.

by Amber Rambharose and Haylee Thorson
Originally Published: 
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One thing fashion girlies and concert-goers can all agree on is that Rihanna knows how to put on a show. Since the “Lift Me Up” singer began her music career as a bright-eyed teen, she’s been showing up and showing out on stage and on red carpets. Rihanna’s style evolution is one for the history books, and not just because it illustrates the singer’s metamorphosis from a promising young artist to a powerhouse mogul. Simply put, RiRi changed the fashion game for good.

The Anti artist’s love of fashion extends beyond dripping in designer swag. As the founder of Savage x Fenty, Rihanna has been pushing the boundaries of the industry since she launched the intimates brand in May 2018. From the line’s very first campaign, Rihanna made it clear that her brand would make fashion more inclusive while redefining the industry’s outdated rules about what bodies deserve to express sensuality.

Her businesses and her iconic ‘fits speak largely for themselves, but it bears repeating that Rihanna stays winning. From slaying the Met Gala red carpet year after year — RiRi knows how to dress for a theme — to showing the world that maternity outfits can be fearlessly fashion forward, this is one babe from Barbados that will be remembered for her sartorial significance.

May 2023: Rihanna’s Bridal Moment

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Rihanna shut down the 2023 Met Gala red carpet, wearing a custom white gown with Karl Lagerfeld-inspired rosettes that gave major wedding day vibes. When photographers commented on her look during the event, she responded, “It's Valentino, baby. Expensive.”

February 2023: Rihanna’s Super Bowl Halftime Show Style

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Rihanna made her highly anticipated Super Bowl halftime show debut in an all red ‘fit that fans were quick to compare to Britney Spears’ “Oops...I Did It Again” music video. Just like Spears’ iconic latex jumpsuit, Rihanna’s Super Bowl outfit also included a latex bodice and a mock neck design.

2022: Rihanna & A$AP Rocky’s Matching ‘Fits

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A couple that ‘fits together, stays together. Fashion killas Rihanna and A$AP Rocky donned matching outfits for the premiere of Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever. From the cool-toned color palette to the length of the pair’s trains, the new parents stayed in sync.

2022: Rihanna’s Beaded Baby Bump

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Rihanna’s maternity style was all bangers, no skips. The mogul paired an electric green beaded halter top with slate gray beaded pants for a Fenty Beauty event on Feb. 11, 2022. This look was one of the many that proved RiRi wasn’t taking a break from being a fashion icon just because she was pregnant.

2020: Rihanna’s Alt-Girl Era

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For the Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 on Oct. 2, 2020. Rihanna opted for a look that led with leather. The vibe was edgy, a little goth, and very powerful.

2019: Rihanna In Aqua

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Rihanna’s looks can go hard, but they can also whisper softly. From her moss green satin pumps to her tulle overcoat and sheer gloves, the Fenty founder’s vibe at the 2019 Fashion Awards was monochromatic and dreamy.

2018: Rihanna’s Met Gala Pope ‘Fit

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Rihanna’s ‘fit at the 2018 Met Gala was beyond. Dressing for the theme, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion And The Catholic Imagination,” Rihanna went full pope. The ‘fit was Maison Margiela, the heels were Christian Louboutin, and the vibe was immaculate, if a bit heretical.

2017: Rihanna’s Oversized Pantsuit

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Rihanna began taking bigger fashion risks in 2017, including walking the red carpet for the 69th Annual Parsons Benefit in a majorly oversized suede suit. The camel color of the ‘fit made her red lip pop and the peek of white pumps drew the eye to RiRi’s tasteful accessories.

2016: Rihanna’s Heart-Shaped Coat

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Rihanna appeared to have “love on the brain” as she strutted through New York City in September 2016. Is there any look that blends casual style with high fashion more than her heart-shaped Saint Laurent coat, cutoff denim, and baseball cap ensemble?

2015: Rihanna’s Best Met Gala Look

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One of the most iconic Met Gala ensembles of all time was undoubtedly Rihanna’s 2015 outfit. RiRi tapped Chinese designer Guo Pei to design her “China: Through The Looking Glass” ensemble. Pei famously said of the look that “only women who have the confidence of a queen could wear it.” Challenge accepted.

2014: Rihanna’s Balletcore Moment

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By 2015, the world knew Rihanna could give a major look, but some folks didn’t know she could also go full Breakfast At Tiffany’s. For the 2015 Christian Dior Cruise runway show, held on May 7, 2014, the Savage x Fenty founder looked pretty, polished, and just a bit prim in a balletcore pink satin Dior ‘fit.

2014: Rihanna’s Glam Punk Bantu Knots

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Punk rock girls say what? At the 2014 iHeartRadio Music Awards, Rihanna beautifully blended hard and soft vibes in a lace catsuit, leather jacket, and platform sandals. Her forest green lip and sleek Bantu knots were a sign that RiRi was a style force to be reckoned with.

2012: Rihanna With Blond Hair

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Winning Best Short Form Music Video for “We Found Love” at the 2012 Grammy Awards, Rihanna ditched her signature deep hair color and showed up with wheat-colored, shoulder-length waves. Her gold accessories subtly matched her new ‘do.

2011: Rihanna With Red Hair

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Synonymous with her fifth studio album, Loud, Rihanna’s red hair was as iconic as it gets. Rocking a voluminous cherry-colored long bob to the 2011 Grammy Awards, the singer made waves wearing a sheer, tulle-striped Jean Paul Gaultier gown.

2010: Rihanna’s White Grammys Gown

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Rihanna’s 2010 Grammy Awards look was avant-garde. Trading her power tux for a feathery white Elie Saab gown, the “What’s My Name?” singer was the epitome of elegance as she won Best Dance Recording for “Only Girl (In the World).”

2009: Rihanna’s Met Gala Tuxedo

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The power suit to rule all power suits. For her second Met Gala in 2009, Rihanna arrived wearing an eye-catching Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo with puffy sleeves and a bow tie. Paired with black pumps, gloves, and simple earrings, the Grammy-winning artist toed the line between masculine and feminine. Her cropped pixie cut was also emblematic of the singer’s slew of short hairstyles during this era.

2007: Rihanna In Leather & Tulle

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Meet Bad Gal RiRi. At the 2007 MTV Movie Awards, Rihanna performed her hit song “Umbrella” while donning a daring dominatrix-inspired ensemble. Complete with a heavy-duty corset, strappy bra, and latex and tulle skirt, Rihanna traded her sweet Y2K persona for something far edgier.

2007: Rihanna’s Green Grammys Gown

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Winning Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “Umbrella” in 2007, Rihanna’s first Grammy Awards appearance did not disappoint. The “SOS” singer stunned in a glamorous, green one-shoulder Roberto Cavalli gown featuring a bold cutout.

2005: Rihanna In Y2K Low-Rise Denim

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Rihanna’s outfit at Jay-Z’s Teen People Listening Lounge in 2005 was peak Y2K. Sporting beachy waves and frosty makeup, the then-17-year-old Barbadian singer looked fresh and fabulous.

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