When she hit the scene in 2004, Austin-born Ciara was quickly hailed the “First Lady of Crunk&B”, a talented singer and dancer with a bit of an edge. Though her early looks were at times a little questionable, there is no doubt that with age has come fashion wisdom for this knockout. With model good looks and a killer body to match, Ciara has embraced styles that show off her curves and stay true to her tomboy demeanor, while highlighting her inherent femininity. So it comes as no surprise that she is the perfect subject for SoulTrain.com’s latest edition of Fashion Transformation.
With the arrival of her debut album Goodies, Ciara instantly became hip-hop’s freshest young face. Silky, flowing locks coupled with a natural, undeniable glow, Ciara instantly captured our imagination. And when we were treated to our first glimpse of the “Goodies” video, we got a taste of Ciara’s penchant for straddling the line between sexy and sassy. In a look reminiscent of Aaliyah’s, Ciara opted for a cutout bodysuit, dark denim jeans and fly military-esque boots, along with a pair of hoop earrings and a conservative number of bangles. This encapsulated Ciara’s early style preferences: She was never overly feminine in her choices, but certainly knew what she was working with in terms of her sex appeal, flashing her toned and taut abs whenever given the chance. But despite her interesting fashion preferences, Ciara often hit the same style note, not venturing out of her comfort zone. However, it wasn’t before long that she would take cues from some of hip-hop’s modern style mavens to add a little something extra to her look.
When she dropped her sophomore album, Ciara: The Evolution, the songstress embraced a new approach to her music and her fashion sense. Epitomized in the video for “Promise,” Ciara doesn’t cast away the tomboy-ish style that became her trademark, but instead infuses a more mature, feminine approach to it. The video features clips of the singer in full-out sweats, but spotlights her in tight-fitting jeans, crop tops, sexy stilettos and much more. Her hair is as full as ever and her makeup choices, while subtle, play up a smokier eye and nude lip. Even on the red carpet, Ciara continued to evolve from a style standpoint, dressing in more couture fashions, such as in her appearance at the 2008 BET awards. Decked out in a backless, gray below-the-knee number, Ciara donned sexy gladiator style heels and a decorative belt to ratchet up her look. Though she certainly had a ways to go to becoming the style icon she is now, it was these early forays into previously uncharted fashion territory that she gave fans the sense that she would become one of hip-hop’s premier fashionistas.
By 2011, Ciara’s fashion transformation was nearly complete. The “Love Sex and Magic” singer wore a jaw-dropping blue Emilio Pucci creation at the Grammy Awards. Accented with a jeweled neckline and bodice, the dress showed off Ciara’s amazing physique with a sky-high thigh slit and cutouts along her waistline. She continued to do work on the red carpet, but it wasn’t until her phenomenal choice for the Met Gala that she really came into her own. Stunning in a Prabal Gurung floor-length blue and silver gown, Ciara kept her makeup, hair and accessories to a minimum, allowing the dress to take centerstage.
Ciara has continued to thrive on the fashion front well into 2012. She has changed up her look, jumping on the ombre train and has continued to explore the best that some of the world’s top designers have to offer. Though she will always be the lovely lady who taught us to 1, 2, step, she has expanded her reach far beyond just the world of music. She has become a fashion icon for hip-hop and mainstream audiences. For that, Ciara, we salute you.
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, SI.com, YourTango and FHM.com. Follow her on Twitter @ayounger45.