Say what you will about Michael Jackson, but the influence he had on the fashion industry is just as notable as his mark in music. The King of Pop understood the power of the costume, both on and off the stage. There are several looks that upon first glance will always remind us of MJ. Here, on the 1-year anniversary of his death, we honor him by reviewing his inimitable, legendary style.
10. Cropped Pants
Leave it to Michael Jackson to make highwater pants something other than the go-to gear for nerds (Remember, Urkel?). He was unapologetic in hiking them up, and made sure to give them the attention they deserved by doing a pelvic thrust every now and then.
9. White Socks
Prior to MJ, the rule for showing your socks was simple: Don’t do it. He knew better than to keep them as an undergarment though, and instead brought them to the light. Starting yet another trend, he wore them white, woolly, thick, and glittered.
8. Red Leather Jackets
The video for 1982’s “Beat It” featured a young Mike donned in a zipper-accented, crimson-colored jacket. Just a year later, Jackson appeared in “Thriller,” and debuted a single red peak-shouldered motorcycle jacket. The two items defined the decade, spawning a national craze for leather bombers. Watch below:
Regardless of the reason, MJ was rarely seen without sunglasses. He rocked aviator specs for years, and whether it was to hide his latest plastic surgery or not, it helped him epitomize “cool.”
6. Military-style Jackets
Broad shoulders, a short cut, and a whole lot of embellishments gave way to the revamping of the simple blazer. Michael made sure to wear his military-style jackets with glitter, gold, tassels, and sashes. Most memorably, he rocked one – navy blue, baby blue, and glittered all over – to his visit to the White House with President Reagan in 1984.
Michael wore the popular felt hat often – creased down the crown and pinched on the sides – and he wore it well. Usually cocked slightly to the right or the left, the hat remained a simple black. But the King of Pop made sure to make a bold statement in 1988’s “Smooth Criminal” video with an all-white replacement that matched an all-white suit. Watch below:
4. Gold Lamé
Nothing draws more attention to a crotch grab, then when said crotch is adorned in gold lamé. During the 1996 – 1997 HIStory tour, audiences saw Michael in the form-fitting metallic fabric – pants, shin guards, leotards and all, we couldn’t ignore it, but we loved him regardless.
3. Black Loafers
The classic low-top penny loafer was once representative of the preppy culture. But MJ turned that idea on it’s head when he donned the shoe in a patent sheen or a wingtip hybrid, and drew our attention to them by using all the fancy footwork he could fathom.
Whether it was styled in an afro, a jheri curl, or a straightened blow-out, we watched Mike’s hair like we did his moves. His hair evolved with his music and sense of fashion, and though at times his choices were questionable, they were always memorable.
1. White Glove
When Michael performed “Billie Jean” on 1983’s television special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, he not only premiered the moonwalk, but a little white glove that would go down history. The bejewelled outerwear embodied a bit of magic and a bit of mystery. It was auctioned off in Australia in September of last year and was expected to fetch $200,000. Watch below:
We miss you, Michael!