Janelle Monáe developed her signature androgynous style as an act of rebellion against stylists who insisted she needed to dress more feminine to succeed.
The I Like That hitmaker became known for her penchant for black-and-white tuxedos early in her career, and has only recently been pushing boundaries with more experimental looks. And speaking with InStyle, she opened up about the defiant message behind her wardrobe.
“When I began touring, stylists would tell me to dress more feminine. And that’s the reason I stayed in my tuxedo so long – out of rebellion,” she shared. “I wanted to prove that I could make it by being my authentic self. It was about proving that, as women, we can wear tuxedos, we can wear dresses, we can show skin, or not show skin. But we need to be in control of that.”
The star, 33, went on to urge fans to make their own stylistic decisions, and wear whatever they feel most comfortable in.
“I look back to when I was wearing black and white tuxedos every day and people were saying that I dressed like a man and that I should look more feminine if I want to get ahead,” the Moonlight star added. “But ultimately, I chose to express myself in what made me most comfortable.”