how beyoncé found her style in her 30s
Once known for only wearing mum Tina’s stage creations (and House of Deréon casuals), Beyoncé has finally burst out the box and is having fun with her fashion.
There was a time long ago when you could go to Madame Tussaud's museum and see a wax figure of Beyoncé and legitimately ponder if it was a figurine or Bey in the flesh since both were just so perfect and stoic.
That time is over.
Earlier this year, we dissected Beyoncé's rise as a "rapper", marked by a series of life changes that included removing her father as her manager and releasing her Beyoncé album at the close of 2013 much to the chagrin of her record label. The music has been increasingly cautionless and edgy (punctuated with bold sentiments that scream "I don't give a f**k anymore") and her videos are more lo-fi and house party-esque. Now it's her body that's stitched in equally reckless fabrics - Yoncé has taken a dip into the hip pool and it looks like she's staying.
In September, Beyoncé will turn 34. Ironically, this transformation happened around the time she turned 30 when she was pregnant with Blue Ivy and had just released her fourth studio album 4. We knew she had it in her before that though. In 2008, with the I Am… Sasha Fierce project, she proved that there was a secret superhero buried deep within her that she could unleash wherever applicable. She showed it in Lady Gaga's Telephone video in 2009, and even during singles like Diva and Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It). Hell, we could even travel further back to 2002 when she played Foxxy Cleopatra in Austin Powers In Goldmember. They all felt like costumes, though, reserved for special occasions as to assume that any other time of exposure would be for shame. Plus, men's shirts and seductive onesies seemed to be her only sartorial diversion from her typical uniform, and her music videos were still so glammed-out and unattainable. While most experience a stylistic evolution in their 20s and it balances out in their 30s, Bey took a little longer to find herself. But now that she's arrived, she's really arrived.
We got our life with that Beyoncé album and the individual visuals attached to each track. That's where the real transformation began.
Beyoncé cut off her hair (or simply took out her weave), started rocking mismatched garb and somehow it all worked. The sentiment continued into her 7/11 video and all the way up to the release of the Feeling Myself video with Nicki Minaj (shot in 20s hipster playground, Coachella). Sure, we can chalk it up to frequent jaunts to Brooklyn with her sister Solange and (dare we say) an entry into Hipsterville that dates all the way back to her appearance at a Grizzly Bear show. But this is just an empress who has found her new clothes. Real ones for a real boss.
New designers like DemestiksNewYork mastermind Reuben Reul have been keeping her dipped. Reul, known for his eccentric prints, has been influential in her day-to-day and Instagram realness over the last several months. During her On The Run Tour with hubby Jay Z, she remained loyal to iconic fashion houses like Givenchy, Versace, and Alexander Wang, but even those outfits erred on the side of streetwear-inspired.
At times the change was gradual. There was the addition of gold lower grills to her teeth that she would pop in and out. The ski mask she'd wear in her On The Run ads and the Superpower video (along with an army jacket). The wife beater and ripped jeans in XO, the buttoned up flannel, cut-off denim shorts and Fall 2013 Chanel boots in Flawless, the Maxime Simoens fluttering dress in Mine. Then by 7/11 she was rocking a giant Versace lock necklace, Playboy Bunny checkered crew neck sweatshirt by Joyrich with Forever 21 leggings and a leather upside down visor by WXYZ. Her now infamous Suburban Riot Kale sweatshirt also made a guest appearance.
For Feeling Myself it was Doc Martens and American Apparel tube socks with a Warrior jersey from Philipp Plein's 2015 collection. Then there was the Crooks & Castles bucket hat and a hockey jersey with Ol' Dirty Bastard's iconic Return To The 36 Chambers album cover. She had on a flower crown with a shirt that says "Go Burn Your Flower Crown," and the O-Ray bodysuit from Rita Ora's Adidas collection. Let's not forget the Timothy White Chicago Bulls bodysuit that now has every woman thinking she can wear one.
Hair wild. Lips often red. Always sexy. Bey now resides at the intersection of cool and chic; put together, but gangster.
And it's honestly not about the designers, really. It's how the clothes lay on Bey and in what chaotic order they'll arrive that day. When she's casual, she's eccentric. When she's dressy, she's luminous. Look no further than her Met Gala dress for that realness.
This isn't a fad; it's a swag. It's Beyoncé finding her fashion footing (finally) in her 30s. And it's positively fabulous. Maybe she'll flip the script on us and change her whole style up, but right now feels like this is visually the closest to Beyoncé that we've ever come. This is Bey everyday, no compromise.
Text Kathy Iandoli