Prince and His Fashion Revolution - Rolling Stone
Home Culture Culture Lists

Prince and His Fashion Revolution

Music legend inspired generations to push boundaries and live free of gender stereotypes


Prince in "Under the Cherry Moon" in 1986.

Warner Brothers/courtesy Everett Collection

Prince was forever reinventing himself. Whether he was called the Purple One, “the artist formerly known as Prince,” his Royal Badness, his many monikers tracked his multiple facets as he pushed boundaries when it came to gender, sexuality and personal freedom. “I find freedom sexy. I find freedom so sexy I can’t even explain it to you,” he told NME in 1996. “You wake up every day and feel like you can do anything.” And what he wore certainly mirrored that feeling.

Like David Bowie, another music icon who died this year, Prince will be remembered for his music, but he will also forever inspire people because of his fashion and style choices. From ruffled collars, to booty-baring pants and, of course, countless purple outfits and high heels, the pop, rock and R&B icon had a wardrobe that inspired many to take risks and find their inner freak. Here, we look at a few of the audacious choices he made over the decades.


Prince during The 61st Annual Golden Globe Awards - InStyle/ Warner Bros Golden Globe After Party - Inside at Palm Court at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by M. Caulfield/WireImage)

M. Caulfield/WireImage

Tailored Suits

After year's of ostentatious designs, Prince went through a phase of classic tailored suiting, such as this bright blue one he wore during the 61st Annual Golden Globe in 2004.


LONDON - SEPTEMBER 19: Singer Prince performs before the Matthew Williamson LFW Spring Summer 2008 show at London Fashion Week 2007 on September 19, 2007 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Black Jumpsuit and Top Hat

Fashion designer Matthew Williamson was thrilled to find out that Prince would perform at his London Fashion Week show in 2008 since his girlfriend at the time, Chelsea Rodgers, was a fan of the designer's work. The performance took place on the catwalk and Prince's all-black outfit (with silver accessories) popped against the pink backdrop.


Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

White Hood at 2005 People’s Choice Awards

His silky white outfit for the awards ceremony seemed to evoke a spiritual advisor from some serene planet.


INDIO, CA - APRIL 26: Prince performs during day 2 of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival held at the Empire Polo Field on April 26, 2008 in Indio, California. (Photo by John Shearer/WireImage)

John Shearer/WireImage

White Tunic at Coachella 2008

For his hits-filled set at the California concert, Prince chose a very desert-friendly white tunic with metal studding. The most jaw-dropping moment of the night came near the end of the main set when he broke out Radiohead's "Creep."


Chris Graythen/Getty

Goatee and Asymmetrical Shades

Tired of being the center of attention, Prince tried to "disguise" himself at the 2004 at Essence Music Festival with a goatee, straightened hair, a red-and-black-sleeved flowing ensemble and funky Eighties sunglasses. But the Purple One cannot be contained.


LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 22: Singer Mary J. Blige (L) and recording artist Prince perform onstage during the 2012 iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 22, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Clear Channel)

Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Clear Channel

Afro and Gold Eyewear in 2012

At the 2012 iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas, Prince joined Mary J. Blige on stage for a duet of "Nothing Compares 2 U," which was a hit for Sinead O'Connor. The multi-colored psychedelic top and gold face mask were a new look, as was the natural afro that he first debuted a month earlier to much fanfare.


LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 19: Recording artist Prince performs during the 2013 Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 19, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Turquoise and Fringe

Prince received the Icon Award at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards. And his turquoise outfit was matched with a black jacket with some serious fringe.


Kevin Winter/Getty Images

‘3rd Eye’ Glasses at 2015 American Music Awards

What began as an illustration from his Art Official Age album in September 2014 inspired a real pair of "3rd Eye" glasses. He debuted them on an episode of Saturday Night Live in October 2015 and later work them to accept an award at the American Music Awards that year, while sporting an all-gold ensemble.

Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.