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Once upon a time, there was a girl who lived in Barbados named Robyn Rihanna Fenty. One day, she was discovered by a record producer who flew her to New York where she auditioned for hip-hop mogul, Jay-Z.  Jay-Z signed her immediately and she went on to make radio bangers such as “Pon de Replay” and “SOS”.  However, her big break came when she collaborated with Jay-Z to make “Umbrella”.  Suddenly, the Bajan beauty was on the cover of numerous magazines and she was named a style icon due to her massive hair cut.

Rihanna (Good Girl Gone Bad Album Cover)

Sounds simple enough right?! Cut your hair and buy some new clothes and then boom, you’re a style icon. Bloggers blog about you, paparazzi stalks your whereabouts, and fashionistas continuously imitate your style.  All you have to do is cut your hair and revamp your wardrobe.  Oh and make a few Billboard Hot One  hundred hits and you’re all set.  Wait a minute, that sounds too easy.  Are you sure that’s all it takes Pen?

Of course, I’m sure.  After all, millions of people cut their hair and buy new clothes everyday.  But wait, those people aren’t style icons, are they? Nope.  So what’s the difference between them and Rihanna? Press coverage? Being friends with Jay-Z, Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, and Ne-Yo?  Having the whole world singing, “el-la-el-la-eh”? Well, these items certainly can’t hurt your cause but still they aren’t enough.

Personal style is something that one just has.  It doesn’t matter if you have a stylist,  what clothes you wear,  how your hair looks, or if you’re famous or not.  Personal style is simply the ability to make the clothes you wear always look good on you.  You don’t have to follow trends,  magazines, or celebrities. You just wear clothes that you like, when you like.  And when you do this, the end result is confidence, swagger, and a sustainable personal style.

In my opinion, this is exactly what Rihanna has.  She has created a personal style that has molded her career as a musician.  If it weren’t for Rihanna’s drastic hair change, the world may have dismissed her as the “Pon de Replay” girl.  Umbrella was a huge hit but the haircut is how Rihanna caught the world’s eye. Let’s face it, in the world of blogging, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, you need to look as good as you sound. Rihanna’s haircut gave her the look and Umbrella gave her the sound.  In essence, her haircut did make her a style icon.  But not simply because she cut her hair, she became a style icon because the haircut revamped her attitude.

Rihanna (Costume Institute Gala at the Met in 2009)

Rihanna’s new haircut stopped her from looking and sounding like a Beyonce` clone and forced her to make her own path.  Basically, she had to break out and do something different because she looked different.  When she made “Rated R”, I knew that Rihanna had officially found her footing as an artist. That album is amazing and prolific in so many ways.  I believe that the Chris Brown situation did affect the album’s sound but I think she was heading in that direction anyway, the Chris Brown fiasco simply gave her the extra push.

In conclusion, Rihanna’s haircut put her on the path to creating her personal style. Since the drastic cut in 2007, Rihanna has become even more fierce.  She is widely imitated but never duplicated.  Rihanna has created an everlasting personal style that she is always revamping and she seems to be doing the same with her music.  Remember, once a good girl goes bad, she’s done forever.

And there it is. The Fashion and Style of the Pen…de la Pen.