When Queen Latifah first exploded onto the hip-hop music scene, she tended to dress pretty casually. But as the famous MC diversified into other areas and her star grew and grew, she started to rock the fashion scene as well. And now the multiple-award-winning actress and singer dresses to impress pretty much wherever she goes. Here’s a look at how the Queen’s style has changed over all the years we’ve known her.
20. 8 Mile premiere, November 2002
In the early ’00s, Queen Latifah was making her mark as a rapper with social justice interests, so it’s not surprising she attended the premiere of 8 Mile. And she stepped out in what was considered trendy for rappers at the time: a single bright color and a baseball cap.
19. Soul Train Awards afterparty, March 2002
Come 2003, Latifah was still rocking a sweet street style, but she was putting her own unique twist on it too. When she attended the Soul Train Awards afterparty in March of that year, for example, she accessorized her outfit with a belt bedazzled with her name.
18. MTV Movie Awards, June 2004
By the following year, Latifah was starting to promote herself as an actress. But even though she was nominated for Best Female Performance for her role in Bringing Down the House, she dressed down for the 2004 MTV Movie Awards in a blue tunic.
17. Beauty Shop premiere, March 2005
For the 2005 premiere of her movie Beauty Shop, Latifah chose an all-white fitted suit. It was fairly simple, but everyone was impressed. Designer to the stars DeBora Rachelle told The Freelance Star at the time that Latifah’s outfit “looked great on her body type.”
16. Hairspray premiere, July 2007
Queen Latifah went all out for the Hairspray premiere in 2007. Not only did she dress up in a bright yellow Carmen Marc Valvo dress, she changed her hair into a cute new ’do. In fact, just like he sang in the movie, she was big, blonde and beautiful.
15. American Music Awards, November 2008
The Queen favored a sleek black look for the 2008 American Music Awards – a metallic one-shoulder dress combined with bold jewelry and Jimmy Choo sandals. Some fashion bloggers said the dress looked too small for her, but others labeled her one of the best-dressed women of the night.
14. Academy Awards, February 2009
You’re not doing the Academy Awards right if you don’t wear something show-stopping on the red carpet. And Queen Latifah did just that for the 2009 ceremony, choosing a navy-blue Georges Chakra dress with floaty fabrics and tiny crystal decorations.
13. American Idol Season 8 Grand Finale, May 2009
She’s more than proved to the world that she looks fantastic in a dress, but Queen Latifah still likes to wear pants every now and again. For the American Idol finale in May 2009, for example, she wore a custom-made black jumpsuit which she had created herself together with her designer and her stylist.
12. Covergirl Cosmetics 50th Anniversary Party, January 2011
Latifah was wearing pants once more for the 50th Anniversary Covergirl Cosmetics party in 2011. (She was, in fact, a spokeswoman for their brand.) It was a slightly edgier look than normal for the star – a lace corset was just about visible underneath the tomboyish suit.
11. Dolce and Gabbana party, July 2011
The suits were getting even snappier as the years went on. When Latifah attended a Dolce and Gabbana party in London in July 2011, she chose an androgynous black-and-white look, jazzed up with gold jewelry. What designer was she wearing? Why Dolce and Gabbana, of course.
10. Joyful Noise premiere, January 2012
For the premiere of her movie Joyful Noise in January 2012, Latifah tried something a bit different and wore a blue David Meister dress that showed off her legs. “We love the look and give her credit for taking a fashion risk,” the Huffington Post declared that month.
9. Academy Awards, February 2013
Solid white looks very good indeed on Queen Latifah, and that was the color she chose for the Academy Awards in February 2013. And the simplicity of the Badgley Mischka dress – it only had a little bit of beading around the straps – made her stunning Covergirl makeup stand out all the more.
8. Grammy Awards, 2014
At the 2014 Grammys, Queen Latifah’s slimmed down body looked fantastic in a sequinned black gown. But the most talked-about thing at the ceremony was what she did rather than what she wore: she officiated the marriages of 33 different couples on stage. While looking great!
7. Annual Hollywood Film Awards, November 2014
Queen Latifah wasn’t just in attendance at the 18th Annual Hollywood Film Awards, she was the host. And so she pulled a really spectacular-looking embellished dress out of her closet. It was another creation by her old favorites, Badgley Mischka, and it looked simultaneously luxurious and classy.
6. Critics’ Choice Television Awards, May 2015
Queen Latifah was back in bright, eye-catching colors for the May 2015 Annual Critics’ Choice Television Awards, but she was a long way away from her MC outfit days. And she had opted for Badgley Mischka again – once Latifah finds a designer she likes, she clearly sticks with them.
5. Screen Actors Guild Awards, January 2016
Latifah got back in black for the January 2016 SAG Awards and wore a gorgeous Michael Costello sequinned gown. She was one of the best-dressed celebs at the event, but her glamorous outfit wasn’t even the best thing about her evening – she took home an award for her performance in Bessie.
4. Fox Upfront, May 2016
For the 2016 Fox Upfront presentation (in which she introduced her new show, Star) Latifah wore another suit. But this one was perhaps the most stylish one she’d shown off yet. The coordinated, simple colors and form-hugging cut made it a hit.
3. New York Fashion Week Kick-Off Event, September 2016
Latifah stepped out in something very elegant and appropriately fashionable for the September 2016 opening of New York Fashion Week. She wore a white top, a pair of sensible black pants, and a black sleeveless vest with just a hint of shimmer to it.
2. Princess Grace Awards Gala, October 2016
Although Latifah had already demonstrated many a time that white was a good color on her, she still surprised everyone with her beautiful gown at the October 2016 Princess Grace Awards. The custom Christain Siriano creation, decorated with silver jewels around the shoulders, fitted her perfectly.
1. BET American Black Film Festival Honors, February 2017
At the February 2017 American Black Film Festival Honors, Queen Latifah picked up an Entertainment Icon Award, and she was more than dressed for the occasion. She turned heads when she stepped out in a stunning red gown custom made by Randi Rahm – a far cry from her old tracksuits.