7 Ways to Channel the Legendary Style of Prince

Prince was undoubtedly one of history’s most brilliant musical geniuses, but music was far from his only artistic accomplishment.

In addition to being a wildly talented filmmaker and actor, Prince was always known as a true style icon. Over the span of his nearly 40-year career, he never stopped pushing the boundaries of fashion and finding new ways to reinvent his appearance.

But most remarkable of all was that, despite his fashion evolution and chameleon sensibility, he somehow managed to have a signature style that was always distinctly, unapologetically Prince.

How, you ask, can you tap into that same magic?

As a mere mortal, you must first accept that you will never be as cool as Prince. But you may be able to come close by following a few of the principles that guided his approach to style.

1. Don’t Fear Drama

prince - style(Saint Laurent Ruffled Hem Tube Mini Dress, Prada Suede Sandal with Ayers Leather Trim, Marco De Vincenzo Fringe Dot Tunic)

If there one thing you can bet Prince never did, it was look at himself in the mirror with a sour expression and ask, “Is this too much?”

Though you may not want to roll into the office or cocktail party in a lace bodysuit or a red sparkly suit, you shouldn’t shy away from unexpected pops of drama. After all, as we so tragically learned from Prince, life is simply too short to worry about what other people think. If it makes you feel fabulous, wear it.

2. Go Mono

prince - style(Ryan Roche Cashmere Tank & Oversized Sweater Set, Veronica Beard Chiffon Print Peplum Blouse, Maison Margiela Birdseye Trousers, Gianvito Rossi Ankle-Tie D’Orsay Flats)

Prince was the master of the chic, monochromatic look. Of course it’s lovely to combine complimentary colors together in your outfits, but don’t forget that fully committing to one spectacular color (or even a lovely neutral) can be a powerful style statement to make from time to time.

3. Power in Purple

prince - style(Zac Posen Short-Sleeve Cocktail Dress,Hermès Les Clés Silk Twill Scarf, Dries Van Noten Stan Skirt)

Since as far back as ancient Roman times, purple has been the color of royalty. So, it’s no big surprise that a man whose legal birth name was Prince, was all about this imperial hue. The shade became associated with status early on because it was so rare and difficult a color to conjure up from nature.

Although it’s easy enough to come by purple clothes these days, the color still has regal associations that make it the perfect shade to wear when you need a boost of confidence or when you want to feel like the belle of the ball.

4. Ruffle Some Feathers

prince - style(Philosophy Di Lorenzo Serafini Tulle Lace Blouse, Maje Juppon Leather-Look Ruffled Skirt, Chloe Tie-Up Ruffle Dress)

Even the most casual observer of Prince’s legendary style knows that the man had a certain affinity for ruffles. Of all of his varied looks over the years, his Victorian-inspired outfits of brocade, lace and ruffles were some of the most memorable.

It just so happens that ruffles are having a moment in current fashion, but there’s never a wrong time to add a bit of elegance and drama to your look with a ruffled piece.

5. Embrace Androgyny

prince - style(Haider Ackermann Herringbone Blazer, Acne Studies Martha Oxfords, Armani Tuxedo in Silk Caddy and Clutch in Lamskin)

Thinking of clothes as strictly feminine or masculine is so limiting and, frankly, boring. Prince knew that well and constantly blended the lines between genders in his personal style, which was an important part of his magic. Even the symbol he chose to represent himself for a while was essentially a combination of the symbols for male and female.

The point of blending these two sensibilities is to create something new that takes the best of both worlds – hard and soft, tough and vulnerable, tailored and flowing, etc.  Playing with these traditional polarities is what sets you apart from the masses who stick to one side or the other.

6. Naughty by Nature

prince - style

(Helmut Lang Scarf Tank Tech-Jersey Tube Miniskirt, Tory Burch Embroidered Cotton Tunic, Madewell Denim Courier Shirtdress)

As dramatic and showy as many of Prince’s looks were, he also knew when to scale back and go completely natural with his appearance. Take, for example, the cover of his 1979 self-titled album that featured him with in the buff, no makeup, staring earnestly into the camera. Or consider his more recent embrace of a natural afro.

No one could accuse Prince of being underdressed or underdone at any time, but he obviously understood that natural beauty can have just as much power as glamour, especially for those who usually go all out with their looks. So if you’re often dressed to kill, take a note from Prince’s style book and shock people by going au naturale.

7. There Are No Rules

prince - style
Perhaps the best way to honor Prince’s memory and legacy is to keep in mind that you must dance to beat of your own drum when it comes to fashion. It’s pretty obvious that his outfits weren’t being chosen by image-consultants – in fact, it’s more likely that he purposely flaunted advice from anyone who tried to tell him what he should or shouldn’t wear.

In that same spirit, your sense of style should be personal and uniquely yours. Read fashion articles like this one for inspiration and ideas, but never be confined by rules… it just wouldn’t be Princely.

Do you have a favorite Prince look or style-moment? What are your favorite memories of the legendary performer? Let us know in the comment section below. 

Header image source: Elle 

Liz Kores is a style blogger who has written for a wide variety of online fashion and lifestyle publications. Additionally, she’s a Chicago Fashion Incubator board member and the managing director of Oak Street Chicago, an association of designer boutiques, hotels and spas located in one of the best places to shop in Chicago.
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