Friday, September 24, 2021

12 Leaders in Style Independence

Fed up of trends and middle-of-the-road fashion? Want some inspiration in the art of style independence? Us too – because there’s nothing better than finding fashion confidence in those who make their own strides with their wardrobe.

Team SPICE are looking to the stars who are leaps and bounds above the rest with their style, standing out for their individual sense of dress and earning the coveted tag of ‘style leader’ for their wayward sartorial instincts.

From actresses and famed singers, to icons and cool creatives, below is are some of the best dressed individuals who’ve paved their own way in fashion, through the sheer power of putting clothes together.

Take a look and let us know if you agree – of your own independent opinion, of course.

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1. Lupita Nyong’o

So she’s been a little under the radar of late, treading the boards and making her broadway debut as part of the Eclipsed cast, but Lupita Nyong’ohas been in our most stylish thoughts ever since she surfaced in 2013. And we’re not alone in worshipping her, with People Magazine since naming her ‘Most Beautiful’ of the year (2014), Lupita starring in numerous editorials  and being awarded a high profile campaign with cosmetics giant, Lancome.

Lupita wearing Balmain at the opening show of Eclipsed in New York
Lupita wearing Balmain at the opening show of Eclipsed in New York

And it’s not just the Kenyan actress’ gorgeous dark complexion that we love, her trend-setting mini ‘fro, or her famously humble manner – it’s the starlet’s dress sense that we at SPICE can’t get enough of, with Ms Nyong’o walking seamlessly from one great look to the next.

The Oscar-winning star of 12 Years a Slave, Star Wars actress and upcoming star of Americanah, Lupita dresses to overly impress every time she steps out, and somehow seems to keep us guessing, too.

Lupita Nyong'o in custom Prada at the 2014 MET Gala, which was themed on Charles James and channeled nicely by the star
Lupita Nyong’o in custom Prada at the 2014 MET Gala, which was themed on Charles James and channeled nicely by the star

Not one to be afraid of colour or go for something unique when pulling a look together (her 2014 MET Gala look being a prime example, even though it polarised public opinion), Ms Nyong’o is definitely head and shoulders above the rest of her acting colleagues; someone who really stands out for her flawless decision-amking in style.

2. Solange Knowles

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Obviously, and like the world over, we completely adore Solange’s wardrobe, with little to be said about what we wouldn’t do to raid it.

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The fashion star and burgeoning icon just gets it; she knows what works for her body, she understands colour and she can seamlessly rock a print on a print like nobody’s business.

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Bey’s little sister is firmly on beat when it comes to fashion and over shines her big sis with her pop-boho looks and knack for getting dressing so right every time. There’s nothing not to love about this woman’s wardrobe – she’s a complete style leader we’re bound to follow (Not seen her Insta? Where have you been?!) for years to come.

3. Lisa Folawiyo

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Obviously. Because, shoes. And because Nigerian designer of Jewel by Lisa, Lisa Folawiyo is a bit of a style marvel – one we regularly stalk on Instagram.

Lisa rocking the latest: cool cutout-sleeved top and trainers
Lisa rocking the latest: cool cutout-sleeved top and trainers

Wearing her own designs and looking every bit the amazing talent she is
Wearing her own designs and looking a million dollars

Working her own designs with high end wears from fashion’s bestest, the talent just knows how to throw a look together – so well that her Insta is a little like a lookbook, luring us to splurge on things we know we shouldn’t.

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“Off to the Vogue party” in print

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Lisa showing off an amazing pair of heels via side split pants, paired with a cute clutch

The designer knows a thing or two about a print (as to be expected from her beautiful collections) as well as silhouette and standout accessories, regularly snapping selfies in pieces from top names like Olympia Le Tan, Moschino, Gucci and Charlotte Olympia.

Lisa snapping mirror pics at her home, this time showing off metallic pleats, skater shoes and a cap
Lisa snapping mirror pics at her home, this time showing off metallic pleats, skater shoes and a cap

If there is one woman out to prove her good taste, it’s Ms Folawiyo.

4. Oroma Elewa

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Creative genius and social media star, image-maker, Oroma Elewa of zine Pop’Africana is a name to know, not just because her Instagram is popping but because her individual sense of style is a real rich source of inspiration.

Stylish but cool with it, Ms Elewa has an effortless way with the classics – denim making a regular feature, along with retro shades and interesting pairs of shoes.

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With the small window her Instagram provides, it looks like Oroma is living the life of an artist with her creative heart worn on her sleeves (legs and feet, too).

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5. Zendaya Coleman

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Teen star, who has just been announced as having landed a role in the upcoming Spiderman movie, Zendaya Coleman is a name to know – especially in terms of style and and being someone to keep you on your toes with her wardrobe.

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The young beauty and current face of Covergirl really gives it to us with her outfits, and ‘goes there’ when committing to a look, too. Such an attitude lead to the star rocking faux dreadlocks on the red carpet, and most recently, the opinion-dividing mullet for the 2016 Grammys.

Zendaya Coleman in DSquared at the 2016 Grammys
Zendaya Coleman in DSquared at the 2016 Grammys

Zendaya Coleman at the 2015 Oscars
Zendaya Coleman at the 2015 Oscars

Clearly in it for the long haul, we’re glad to find Ms Coleman in our feed on Instagram – and as a star Disney star making grown and sexy decisions when it comes to her style? We’re glad to have a fashion leader like her to look up to.

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Zendaya wearing Marchesa at the 2016 Golden Globes

6. Helen Lasichanh

The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards - Red Carpet

Wife of Grammy Award-winning musician and entrepreneur, Pharrell Williams Helen Lasichanh is a surprise name on this list, because while her red carpet looks polarise many, Team SPICE can’t deny she sets her own rules and is certainly in a league (or world) of her own.

Like, her sense of dress is one you can say is ‘out there’ – and wherever ‘there’ is, you’ll find her hubby Pharrell, who joins in with her low-key, casual date night dressing… Just said dates tend to be on the red carpet, at places where the other guests are a little bit more dolled up.

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But, just as Mr Williams is known for his signature sounds, the star and his leading lady have their way with wardrobe as another signature, where sporty ensembles that look well lived-in tend to triumph.

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Love or hate the results, Helen Lasichanh is definitely an independent woman when it comes to styling her self.

7. Rihanna

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It’s needless to explain why Rihanna made our list, but to spell it out for those who haven’t seen Rih (or her nipples) on the red carpet, the girl is a fashion killer.

The singer in Paris this past February for Paris Fashion Week
The singer in Paris at Fashion Week

Slaying on the daily with her riske attire – from mesh tops with no bra, to dresses so sheer they show butt cheeks – the singer’s wardrobe is as high voltage as her fiery personality, but its the star’s ability to switch things up and still remain unmistakably Rihanna that’s the thing to applaud, with Rihanna never missing the mark.

Rihanna sporting a hot pink gown by Helmut Lang over the Summer
Rihanna sporting a hot pink gown by Helmut Lang

RIhanna at the 2014 MET Gala
Rihanna at the 2014 MET Gala

Ri looking classy at the Christian Dior Cruise'15 showcase in NY
Ri looking classy at the Christian Dior Cruise’15 showcase in NY

Think we at SPICE and the world over are agreed the fashion chameleon’s individual style is above that of the rest…

8. Grace Jones

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Mother of all inspiration when it comes to wayward-dressing, model, singer and actress Grace Jones has independence down – carving a niche for herself in all areas of her career.

Grace Jones at Studio 54

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The ’80s icon remains a legend of costumery, with the 67-year-old still touring to this day and slaying with a unique idea of sartorial expression.

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From power shoulders to headgear and colourful makeup, Ms Jones does stage ensembles justice, flaunting every look she pulls together and not without forgetting an element of surprise.

9. Zoe Kravitz

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Daughter of rock star Lenny, Zoe Kravitz has unique, boho-esque, angst-y looks down to a tee, returning to red carpets with low-key, cool yet memorable looks that’d be hard to emulate without her attitude.

There’s something very vintage about her style while at the same time, there’s something free and fresh about her sense of fashion, which combines for a highly individual lineup of looks from this young Hollywood starlet that leave us forever watching.

Zoe with her dad Lenny on the red carpet, doing classy-chic with her LBD
Zoe with her dad Lenny on the red carpet, doing classy-chic with her LBD

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The young star channelling the ’20s with her fur stole and velvet floor-length gown

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Zoe also does under-dressed and casual really well for events (layers, light fabrics in loose fits), keeping ‘dressy’ vibes with key accessories like interesting jewellery

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Often though, Zoe scrubs up to perfection in sleek looks, but keeps her dramatic youthful looks with smudgy makeup and rock-chic accessories

 Ms Kravitz is definitely an independent thinker when it comes to getting dressed and we’d just love to delve into her wardrobe.

10. Erykah Badu

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Ms Erykah Badu has been in the game for a while now, lending her hip hop and neo soul-loving vibes to create a highly unique wardrobe that is both full of quirks and class, always.

Ms Badu sporting Pharrell Williams' famous "mountain" hat to the Essence Journey to Beautiful event earlier this year, contrasted with a metallic jumper and heavy jewels
Ms Badu sporting Pharrell Williams’ famous “mountain” hat to the Essence Journey to Beautiful event

The style chameleon on the red carpet with statement accessories, as per usual
The style chameleon on the red carpet with unusual statement accessories – a key element to Erykah’s ensembles

The singer, who is Ricardo Tisci’s muse and bestir – who graced Givenchy’s Spring/Summer’14 campaign to the world’s delight, and recently styled a show at New York Fashion Week – is often spied in masculine silhouettes of all shades of the rainbow, making headpieces like wraps and hats her signature, as well as ethnic accents found in chunky accessories and print.

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Erykah and her statement-making afro

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The star in a unique braided look on stage

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Ms Badu hiding her sleek locks with an oversized hat

Also key to Badu’s style is her brilliant, chameleon head of hair which goes from braids to bold ‘fro weekly and completes whatever fit she’s rocking with ease.

11. Kerry Washington

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Keeping it fresh every time she is seen in the spotlight, actress Kerry Washington has made our list for her abilities in leading the way in style. Independent from trends or rules, in fact, the starlet is regularly spied in great ensembles, which range from the demure to the daring.

Kerry wearing a beautiful canary yellow lace dress on the 2012 AMA red carpet
Kerry wearing a beautiful canary yellow lace dress on the 2012 AMA red carpet

The actress looking on point in pink and orange for the Lucille Lortel Awards red carpet
The actress looking on point in pink and orange for the Lucille Lortel Awards red carpet

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Kerry rocking prints like no other, with this clashing floral print number

Never shying away from print, colour or interesting shapes, the Scandal star is known to bring it on the red carpet, and even while heavily pregnant, managed to keep us guessing with her style.

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On the press circuit for the 2013 hit, Django, Kerry was spied in this playful, printed piece and scored major style points

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When going demure, Ms Washington never fails to turn up the heat

Kerry glowing at the 2014 SAG Awards, hugging her baby bump in a high-wasted skirt and crop top ensemble
Kerry glowing at the 2014 SAG Awards, hugging her baby bump in a high-wasted skirt and crop top ensemble

A total joy when it comes to seeing her on the red carpet, Kerry Washington can single-handlely serve us all the wardrobe inspiration we’d ever need.

12. Dencia

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Ok, so she’s a little like Marmite – you either support or suspect her stylist of foul play – but love or hate her red carpet appearances, there’s no denying Dencia is completely independent of trends or critics’ opinions.

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Like, how much sleep do you think she lost over the backlash from her 2015 iHeartMusic Radio Awards red carpet appearance, wearing a pink and diamond-studded bodysuit? We’d guess none, because she stepped out for the 2015 Bilboard Awards a few months later, wearing a multicoloured ensemble complete with visor, again polarising opinions.

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The internet was also on fire commenting on her 2016 Grammys look, consisting of another crystal embellished, pink jumpsuit, that also included stuffed toy appliqués.

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Doesn’t look like she’s too attached to praise or what social media seems to think – her sense of style is clearly in a lane of its own, with Dencia out to please herself.

But who do you think are the stars doing their own thing in fashion? Tell us your most stylish independent women below in the comments box or online @SPICETVAFRICA.

Image source:  Dailymail.co.uk, Fashionbombdaily.com, Vogue.com, Fashion.fix-daily.com,@Lisafolawiyo, Naturalhairnaturalbeauty.tumblr.com, africanprintstoday.com, @Oroma.elewa, Pinterest.com, Bellanaija.com

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