Fashion Transformation: Beyoncé

In the Beginning…

The beautiful and utterly fabulous Beyoncé Knowles first landed on our fashion radar as the front woman of Destiny’s Child. And no, we’re not talking about the R&B triumvirate of the 2000s. We’re talking Beyoncé, pre-”No, No, No”. While the leather pants and crop top may read a little passé, there’s no denying that a budding style maven was beginning to take form.

With the Writings on the Wall, Beyoncé continued to play with her style, opting for a less conservative look in videos for Say My Name and Jumpin, Jumpin. Though still opting for the monochromatic, let-me-match-my-groupmates look, Beyonce’s style continued to be fitting of future star status.

The Next Phase

A change in Destiny’s Child lineup wasn’t the only eye catcher by 2001. Despite the group’s internal struggles, Beyoncé’s overall style continued to evolve. One of her fashion milestones: A stunningly vibrant, deep red gown at the 58th annual Golden Globes. Perfectly accentuating the budding starlet’s curves, the floor-length gown with high side split was one of the first glimpses at an ultra glam B.

With her silver screen debut as Foxy Cleopatra in Austin Powers: Goldmember, Beyoncé started to embrace a Bohemian, disco-chic look, complete with tight ringlets and mini dresses. While a decade later the look may leave some to be desired, there was no doubt that Beyoncé’s daringness to experiment with retro styles would influence her later signature looks.

 An Icon in the Making

With the members of Destiny’s Child beginning to pursue solo projects, the need for coordinated outfits fell by the wayside and Beyoncé had the opportunity to explore more noteworthy, daring looks. With the release of her Dangerously In Love album, a new sexified Ms. Knowles took center stage. Whether it was a flapper gone bad look from “Naughty Girl” or an über sexy, sparkly number on the VMA’s red carpet, Beyoncé began to embrace a more glam look that relied less on youthful trends and more on classic styles.

Beyoncé hit the 2004 Grammy’s red carpet in a sweeping gold dress adorned with matching jewels. Reminiscent of old Hollywood glam, Beyoncé’s dress would become one of several signature looks that one of music’s most successful women would rock on the industry’s biggest night.

With a successful solo career making Beyoncé into one of pop music’s biggest stars, the singer would conquer yet another artistic arena: Hollywood. Though not her first foray into acting, Dreamgirls was by far her most successful and Beyoncé’s style certainly was a reflection of her newfound leading lady status. At the New York premiere for the film, Ms. Knowles stunned in a pale Elie Saab gown. It wouldn’t be the first, and certainly not the last time she served as a radiant red carpet vision in designer gowns.

I Am…

Well hello there, Sasha Fierce! Fans would first lay their eyes on Beyoncé’s fabulous alter ego with the release of her third studio album. She would pop up in videos for “Single Ladies” and “Ego,” and would certainly have some sway in Beyoncé’s overall style and her willingness to experiment with harsher lines and more creative prints.

In what is arguably one of Beyoncé’s greatest fashion moments, the singer paid homage to Etta James and celebrated the election of President Barack Obama with a striking performance of “At Last” at the inaugural ball.

Beyoncé’s current style reflects everything she has learned over the past decade of her career. Whether it was her being the sexiest, most stylish mama-to-be on the VMA red carpet or basking in the post labor glow in a form-fitting Alice By Temperley design, the Beyoncé of 2012 is everything and more than fashion pundits could have predicted. She embodies a classic, effortless beauty that continues to make her into one of the preeminent fashion icons of our day.

–Amanda Younger

Amanda Younger is a freelance writer and web producer based in New York City. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications including Time Out New York,, YourTango and Follow her on Twitter @ayounger45.

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