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Rihanna Style Breakdown: What’s Right, What’s Wrong, and How to Fix It

Rihanna
Stuart Wilson, Getty Images

Rihanna is a style lightning rod. On one hand, she plays by her own rules, creating and breaking fashion prescriptions with little regard to how everyone else does things, and sometimes she wows us. Other times, though, she completely misses the mark. We noticed that happens usually when she wears pants.

Now, we’re not suggesting she go pantsless anymore — she does that enough on social media. But her dresses tend to be style grand slams, while her pants are pure strikeouts.

The simple, slinky black satin dress with a halter-style top that she wore while performing ‘Stay’ at the 2013 Grammys was vintage “good” Rihanna: It showed skin, it was sexy and it was wearable.

RIhanna 2013 Grammys Performance
Kevork Djansezia, Getty Images

The golden Acne PJs she wore to an event were vintage “bad” Rihanna. While it’s rare that she covers up so much, it’s a sloppy choice. There’s a sexy way to look like you just rolled out of bed. This wasn’t one of them.

Rihanna Acne PJs
Allison Joyce, Getty Images

What’s Right:

RiRi is red hot. She favors the color in her dresses and on her lips. This Calvin Klein micro mini, worn to a GQ event, allowed the singer to drip sexiness.

Rihanna Red Calvin Klein Mini
Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images

On the complete opposite end of the scarlet spectrum was her custom Alaia dress for the 2013 Grammys. It showed skin in the slightest of ways and she looked like a princess.

Rihanna Alaia 2013 Grammys
Jason Merritt, Getty Images

While we know Rihanna likes to post topless (and bottomless, much to her mom’s dismay) photos on Instagram every eight seconds, she’s made red carpet choices were she covers up yet still oozes sex.

Case in point: the form-fitting black croc-skin look Tom Ford dress she wore to the 2012 Met Gala. It had that whole BDSM energy to it, but she barely showed any skin from the front …

Rihanna 2012 Metal Gala Tom Ford Croc Black
Larry Busacca, Getty Images

… ah, there it is. She flashed some back flesh, upping this gown’s overall scorch. And did you get a look at that bootay? Oh, that thing rivals J. Lo’s.

Rihanna 2012 Metal Gala Tom Ford Croc Black
Larry Busacca, Getty Images

Ri can do white as beautifully as she does black. Her snowy Adam Selman gown from the 2012 VMAs had cutouts in just the right places. It wasn’t trashy or “too much.”

RIhanna 2012 VMAs AdamSelman
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

It was even better from the back. Flawlessly paired with her signature pixie and crimson pucker, the end-of-summer crisp white fabric gave it a natural feel.

RIhanna 2012 VMAs AdamSelman
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

What’s Wrong:

The sexy plunging neckline of this Alexendre Vauthier ensemble from 2010 is totally ruined by those power bitch shoulders and winged legs. This is total runway — not real way. And? It’s fug.

Rihanna Alexandre Vauthier 2010
Florian Seefried, Getty Images

We’re noticing a trend that pantsuits tend to be Rihanna’s biggest missteps. Case in point: This polka dot one looks clownish.

Rihanna Polkadot Jumpsuit
Christopher Polk, Getty Images

Another pantsuit flop. Leather is a sexy, liquid fabric, but this looks like a sack she would wear to a kegger.

Rihanna Polkadot Jumpsuit
Rob Kim, Getty Images

Rihanna went literal with the menswear trend, donning Raf Simons and Acne in this striped suit. It’s too big and there’s nothing femme about it — she could wear 20-inch stilettos and it would still be devoid of femininity.

Rihanna Raf Simons Acne Menswear
Tim Whitby, Getty Images

How to Fix It:

Rihanna’s sexpot nature can be tempered with femininity. A perfect example is this white custom Nini Nguyen party dress she wore to her fragrance launch in December 2012. It gets a powerful punch from the thick, gold choker.

Rihanna White Nini Nguyen Fragrance Launch
Jason Merritt, Getty Images

She can even be girlish in a hot pink dress, too.

Rihanna Pink Party
Fernando Leon, Getty Images

When she goes casual, she usually nails it. She also knows how to wear leather the right away, despite that leather trash bag-like mistake that looked borrowed from a rapper’s closet.

Rihanna Leather Mini
Pacific Coast News

Sexy details, like the slit and the clingy fabric, are also smart choices for her. And … always bet on black. Even when she wears the basic hue, she usually gives it a different, outrageous and unexpected air.

Rihanna River Island
Stuart Wilson, Getty Images

See the Carrie Underwood Style Breakdown

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