December 1st, 2011
Celebrity Style, Fashion Discussion
Fashion Discussion: Is it Time for Janelle Monae to Switch Up Her Style?
By The Fashion Bomb Staff

Last night I came upon this shot of Janelle Monae at a party honoring Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo in her signature tux and pompadour:

*Sigh* Black and white tux again, Ms. Monàe? I understand how important a signature look is to one’s brand. Karl Lagerfeld is never seen without his suit, Alexander Wang lives in loose-fitting t-shirts and jeans, and Nicki Minaj holds down the Harajuku Barbie look anytime she hits the red carpet or performs. But how many tuxes can one woman wear?

With the myriad of clothing options women have (dresses, skirts, jumpsuits, rompers!), what’s keeping Janelle Monàe from throwing on a cute dress or, if she must wear suits, why not change things up with a velvet smoking jacket, or a pop of color?

Can’t front, she’s killin it in them Mary Jane Louboutins!

Besides that, the success of many artists can be attributed to the versatility of their look and how often they reinvent their style. Rihanna is a great example. She went from a spiked and studded tough girl, to an ultrafeminine scarlet haired siren, to a combat boot-stomping tomboy with gritty glamour. Every time we see Janelle, it seems as if she’s wearing the same thing. There are only so many versions of a black and white tux!

She’s still totally adorable, though. Look at that grin! Precious! What do you think? Is it time for Janelle Monàe to switch up the swag?

Take a look at her style throughout the years here:



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67 Responses to “Fashion Discussion: Is it Time for Janelle Monae to Switch Up Her Style?”

  1. FashionDiva1 says:

    Yes! It is time for a new look!!! It has been great, but now it’s time for a pop of color or something new!

  2. AD says:

    i bet even she wants a change.

  3. sun.kissed says:

    YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES it is time for a new look! She has worn me out with the black and white. The signature hair can stay, but the tux’s are too much. She’s a beautiful woman with a hot lil’ body—it’s time for a new look. I love her music, but her personal style is very boring. I would love to see her do an editorial like Ms. Shala Monroque recently did for Vogue Japan. Honey needs some color in her life! I hope she somehow sees this.

  4. Tia says:

    yes it’s time for a new look. she can have a new look and still keep her “brand” if she plays around with the black and white color scheme AND the structured tuxedo/suit look. she could just choose one of those options each time she dresses and then she can do things like were a colorful suit or a black and white dress. but yes it’s time for a change

  5. Flyy Mee says:


  6. JR says:

    I can’t believe you compared JM to Rhianna. R is a hot mess and she switched her style so much because she was craving attention and not knowing who she is. There is no need for JM to switch anything up; her style if perfected to a T. And why would she wear color when her style is monochromatic. Get it together.

  7. FashionDiva1 says:

    Is it really “style” when you’re wearing the same thing over and over? Just saying!

  8. let's eat cake says:

    If she wants to keep up the basic ass suit act it’s up to her.

  9. sun.kissed says:

    SN: I was going to post this link to her facebook page, but today’s her birthday–Maybe not! LOL.

  10. Libby says:

    Yep because it went from fashion to a uniform.

  11. Savage says:

    I think JM should either keep her black and white theme or pull a Puffy a la’ 90′s and do a all black. That way she can enjoy different silhouettes but still have a dominate theme.

  12. Kay says:

    If Janelle Monàe changes up her style, it won’t be the first time. I’ve been a fan of hers, since she was signed to Ruff Ryders with DMX.Her style before she left that label was very natural, similar to India Irie. I would love to see her switch things up again, she is an incredibly talented artist.Make it work Janelle! *in Tim Dunn voice*

  13. Jazz says:

    Yess gawwwd it is. I’m becoming so bored with her, it’s so predictable. She could still keep the classic, tailored look but just add a splash of color somewhere.

  14. Nia says:

    Lawwwd yes! At least get in some colour like you said. But I guess she said if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. She does always look nice.

  15. AnnaBri08 says:

    Yes, she definitely needs to try something new. It would be great to see her in a different more couture style. Her beautiful face and hair make her fab, but a new style would enhance her look.

  16. Brittany says:

    She has been needing to change her look. Just a mess.

  17. Indigo says:

    She could her tailored suit look,but change the color(s).. She could make it fun!

  18. perrinelaine says:

    YES! Its been time….there’s color all around you girl…live it up!

  19. Sticky-n-Sweet says:

    In those pics it looks like she has managed to keep it versatile and uniform, but “Tightrope”…can we stop singing that same song at every awards show? THAT is the real question here…

  20. Dom says:

    I haven’t seen anyone mention WHY she wears the tux’s all the time. I heard that she dons the tux in honor of her parents, one of who was a janitor. Something to do with the tux being a uniform that symbolizes the progress she’s made.

    I like that she’s not hootchied out like most singers nowadays. It’s about her voice instead. Sure, maybe she could stilll do the tux with a bit of color, but I think it works for her either way.

  21. Martinique_Fr says:

    Although her style totally suits her, I think she does need to throw in a splash of color here and there. Keep the tux look, but add color… PLEASE, JM.

  22. Yes she does need a change should would look great in many other styles.

  23. Char says:

    seriously, its BEEN time for a new look. literally i can’t even appreciate her performances anymore because i’m so bored with the looks. never knew that could even happen, that looks could effect how you feel about a person’s talent. so you KNOW its BEEEEEEEN WAYYYYYY PAST TIME!

  24. Dominique says:

    My Goodness, Yes! add color or something, she has too much talent to fade into the background because of her style.

  25. Poppy says:

    NO. I don’t think she needs to switch it up. Black & White tux is her thing, she doesn’t need to be fashion forward or have ugly gimick outfits to have great music. Adele is the same way, she wears dark dresses & she said something like *I’m not trying to be remembered for my outfits, I want to be remembered for my voice* which is how most singers should feel. I love JM’s “style” no need for other colors or dresses or anything…love her the way she is.

  26. Marsha D says:

    She switched the shoes so that’s a plus…but yes she can keep it for now…maybe until her next album u know the whole look for the album thing….it’s inevitable…she will change don’t see Erykah rockin turban’s no more right??

  27. Myssdee says:

    Janelle has stated that this style is her uniform when it comes to her music
    The moment she switches up her style, loyal fans will be asking “What happened to the old Janelle Monae??” (Which is the same thing they are doing with Nicki Minaj)
    As Poppy stated about Adele, Janelle is the same way…she wants people to pay attention to her music…not her style

  28. SideEye Mimi says:

    Why would it matter? thats her thing, she isn’t like a ton of artist that go through a phase every year, and then we are on here saying they have identity issues. She is cute, she knows what works for her.

  29. Miss Moon says:

    I’m in the minority here, but I too feel that Janelle’s tuxedo variations are just fine. In NY Mag she said that the tuxedo look was tribute to Marlene Dietrich as well as her parents (her quote from the article) “my mother, who was a janitor, and my father, who drove trash trucks. It pays homage to how they put on a uniform every day and turned something into nothing.” The hair is the result of experimentation. “Some people call it a pompadour or a wompadour, but it’s a Monae.”

  30. Miss Moon says:

    Her trademark skinny tuxedo is inspired by Marlene Dietrich and is a tribute to “my mother, who was a janitor, and my father, who drove trash trucks. It pays homage to how they put on a uniform every day and turned something into nothing.” The hair is the result of experimentation. “Some people call it a pompadour or a wompadour, but it’s a Monae.”
    - NY Mag

    #teamtuxedo All the way! :)

  31. Afrikka! says:

    She’s in the “Morris Brown” video by Outkast and has in lots of color… I think I would like to see her stick to the tux but color here and there….

  32. katie says:

    JM’s clothing option make me want to blow my brains out, she really just that boring! She really is due for a change.

  33. katie says:

    *clothing options

  34. Afrikka! says:

    @ FashionDiva1 I agree with u… but her styling of the tux makes it work. Cuz there have been ppl who have messed up a tux.

  35. Joslyn says:

    I think she will move on eventually. Even Brandy and Alicia Keys moved on from their signature braids and Pink moved from her pink hair. Despite how much I love JM this ‘signature look’ started when she signed with Bad Boy. I’ve been a fan of hers a long time and when she was with Outcast she wore her hair out more and wore more color and feminine pieces. She wasn’t in black and white all the time. Look up her old songs on YouTube and they show old pictures too. She looks like a different person.

  36. omgfantastic says:

    “Besides that, the success of many artists can be attributed to the versatility of their look and how often they reinvent their style.”

    really? billie holiday, roberta flack, et al never really “changed” their style.

    why? because they actually have talent. you know it’s that thing they we are really supposed to be thinking about when listening to a “singer.”

    it’s such a shame that women visit this reinvention idea on other women. men do not need to do this and we don’t care if they change their look. somehow, just being who they are is enough, talent or no talent. but women have to continually posture, clown, or undergo some sort of unveiling to show they are worth even being noticed or in janelle’s case, listened to.

    while i like rihanna, i consider janelle to be in a completely different league. janelle is not the sort of pop person that rihanna is and her talent, imo, is greater than rihanna. rihanna has to do all that stuff to make up for her obvious weaknesses – uh singing and songwriting.

    ask yourself why it is so important a woman with talent do this? why does she bore you? why isn’t her talent enough to dazzle you?

    i like fashion, but i also understand style and i prefer substance over the former two.

    i understand though that, unfortunately, us folks 40 and under feel like we need to be dazzled to constantly maintain our interest in anything. we need to rethink our values.

    that is all…

  37. stacy says:

    YESSSS please Jesus whisper in her ears & tell her IT’S TIME!!! I even started to dislike her because she started fading into the “black & white” cloud of boredom, hopefully you guys will pass on the feed backs to her or stylist (if she has one) hahahahaaaaa

  38. FWM Earrings says:

    she wears the “uniform” for a reason, something in paying honor…i forget. but before she got big during the “letting go” and purple ribbon label stages, she had some very cute retro looks.

  39. Jihan says:

    @omgfantastic et al: I see what you mean, but when you are an entertainer, part of your “act” is your look. You can have all the talent in the world, but it’s about a package these days. Perhaps in Billie Holiday’s day when they didn’t really have television, internet, the media exposure we have today, it was a different story.

    Take for instance Michael Jackson. There is NO denying his incredible talent, but a part of the MJ experience was his look. Granted, he had a particular style, but I think it was more flexible than Ms. Monae. Everyone was rocking the thriller jacket, people were fascinated with the single glove. It just buttressed his talent, and was contributed to his success.

    Madonna, Lady Gaga, The Spice girls… all had distinct looks which were part of what made/ makes them so popular and iconic.

    anyhoo, this is not to say I don’t love her becuase I do!

  40. Madpet says:

    Ya’ll go leave my girl alone!! If she wants to wear black n white into the end of time, then so be it. However, as Jihan stated, I think its important to somewhat reinvent your self every few years. Not only as a recording artist, but also as a human being. I can’t imagine rocking the same hairstyle for five years.

  41. Jinx Moneypenny says:

    I would love a pop of colour sometimes. Keep the hair, and the black and white theme, but some colour in your clothing please. Red lips and nails aren’t enough.

  42. Stace Boogs says:

    I would love to see her add some versatility to her wardrobe. It would bring more attention her way and put her music in the spotlight it deserves. Whatever the change it would compliment her personality so it would not have to be extreme to where she loses her identity.

  43. Carla says:

    It’s her style, not everyone else’s desire for the changing whims of fashion. That’s what style is–what you like, without regard for what everyone else is doing.

  44. Jaida says:

    Janelle Monae is a musician first and foremost and maybe that’s just what she likes to wear! Rihanna is famous for her fashion first and her music second. Not to mention, Rihanna releases an album every year, therefore she changes her look every year. If you notice, nobody was really checking for Rihanna until 2007 during the ‘Good Girl Gone Bad’ era when she changed up her entire look. Rihanna’s fashion is one of the reasons she gains so much media attention. I don’t think that’s Miss Monae’s thing. What if she doesn’t like crazy colors, funky patterns and fabrics? I personally think her signature tuxedos are just fine. That’s what distinguishes her from everyone else because you won’t see anybody else rocking that look because that’s her ‘thing’.

  45. Vonmiwi says:

    Thanks Carla, I couldn’t have said it better. Janelle looks fine to me and I love whatever she rocks. Style means you define what moves you sans the opinion of others.

  46. LS says:

    Janelle does not give a damn what any of you think which is why I heart her.

    Black and white tux ain’t no need for no other colors
    T-t-t-talkin about, why don’t she change her clothes
    They ain’t seem to mind the last three times I posed in Vogue

    -JM, Tightrope remix

  47. NikkiBellaRay says:

    It doesn’t have to be a drastic change, but she could add a little pizzazz, something extra, hence a pop of color from time to time would be nice, she is way to cute and unique to be limiting herself.

  48. ashleyv says:

    Yes. Style is an aspect of being a recording ARTIST. ARTISTS can be creative in more aspects than one unless the tuxedo is just a gimmick she’s relying on.

  49. Yes! I think she should definitely change up her style, after all most artists do switch their style up like Madonna, she constantly reinvents herself.

  50. Yakini says:

    Seeing her in these tuxes time after time again seriously makes me ill. I just can’t.

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