ENTERTAINMENT

Heels, clothes and hair: Prince explored sexuality and fashion on his own terms

Wearing a ruffled shirt and shiny purple jacket, Prince performs at the Forum on Feb. 19, 1985, in Inglewood. (Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images)
Wearing a ruffled shirt and shiny purple jacket, Prince performs at the Forum on Feb. 19, 1985, in Inglewood. (Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images)

Much like his adventurous, over-the-top life, music icon Prince Rogers Nelson, simply known as Prince, had an adventurous sense of fashion. By being himself, Prince pushed gender boundaries, caused wonder and awe among observers and fans, became a sex symbol, and, particularly during the 1980s and ’90s, helped liberate teenagers and young adults considered to be outsiders – artists, misfits, members of the LGBTQ community and others – who often had to repress their identities, sexuality and behavior.

Despite his Midwest upbringing, Prince’s fashion tastes weren’t conservative. His style was more in line with the looks of David Bowie, Little Richard and Liberace than they were with more traditional pop, rock and R&B acts of the 1970s and ’80s. Prince didn’t stick to the confines of a masculine versus feminine wardrobe. Instead he blended the two as he did with musical genres such as rock, soul and pop, creating a sartorial spectacle by wearing high heels, ruffles and colorful suits and often having permed hair – all while sporting facial hair such as a goatee, beard or mustache.


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