Dress Like Prince

Prince performs at the Ritz Theater on September 9, 1984 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Natkin)

Is it possible to dress like Prince without looking like you stepped off the set of Purple Rain?

I am here to tell you: It is.

In the interest of science, I recently spent hours researching Prince’s style. Despite the hazards involved, which included falling down multiple research rabbit holes where I lost hours of my life scrolling through all kinds of stunningly gorgeous photos of Prince in every era, I have emerged triumphant, clutching in my hot little hands a secret formula. The formula is made up of the wardrobe items that Prince would frequently combine to form an outfit. I’m not saying this was the only outfit formula that I noticed Prince following — far from it! But it is one that he wore frequently through the years and that is easy to copy. By following this formula, you too can dress in a Princely way — without looking like you’re trying to look exactly like Prince, which obviously, none of us can pull off anyway.

Herewith, the Princely Formula for Fabulous Dressing that I deduced by analyzing Prince’s outfits over the years:

Pants (NO DENIM! Pants must be fitted through the thigh and can be either flares or straight legs) + flowy top (can be a tunic or blouse) + dramatic topper (long vest or leather jacket or cropped blazer).

To accessorize, add (your choice): a long pendant necklace (pendant should hit at your belly button) or a statement necklace (the shinier and bolder and more stuff going on, the better) and sunglasses (large — we’re going for rock star drama). Bonus points for adding a hat (beanie or fedora). HUGE BONUS POINTS IF YOU CAN ADD A SPARKLY CANE! Ha!

At the Brit Awards in 2014. Photo by David Fisher/Rex.

For footwear, boots that match the color of your pants are the obvious choice, but let’s face it: Prince had given up on the four-inch heels long ago. Because Prince wore lower wedge heels (bonus if yours light up like his), I’m taking that as a green light to wear lower heels, too. But boots are still the footwear of choice, whatever the heel height.

Faux fur jacket + flowy blouse + black pants + platform wedge boots + ladylike handbag + long pendant necklace = Princely Outfit

Admittedly, this formula does not cover every single era of Prince style, with the Musicology tour and Prince’s very dapper suits and tailored shirts being one exception, and the era during which Steve Parke photographed Prince at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum wearing an oh-so-90s long, chunky black turtleneck sweater being another. But I believe that the formula covers many eras, including the rock-oriented 3rdEyeGirl era of his later years.

Here’s a way to put a slightly differing twist on this formula by substituting a dress for the pants and flowy top.

Moto jacket + flowy dress + purple pendant necklace + over-the-knee boots + mirror ball clutch = Princely Dress Outfit

And I would venture to guess that most of us can wear a formula like this and look perfectly great going about our day. Better yet, I bet that most of us can come up with an outfit from what’s already in our closets.

What do you think of the Princely outfit formula? Do you think you could put together an outfit by following the formula?

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