Aretha Franklin flaunted fashion fit for a queen

Aretha Franklin performs at the world premiere of "Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives" at Radio City Music Hall, during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
(Charles Sykes/Invision/Associated Press)

Aretha Franklin’s soaring voice and commanding stage presence made her the undisputed Queen of Soul. But her striking style was also befitting for her reign as American pop music royalty.

From the kohl-eyed swagger she exuded in the 1960s to the oversize Swarovski crystal-adorned bow she wore on her hat during Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration, Franklin’s sartorial sense always stood apart. Even in the 1980 film “The Blues Brothers,” Franklin’s energy shone through as she sang and sashayed through a diner in grease-stained apron and crimson vest. The scene showcased the absurdity of trying to put such a radiant soul into an ordinary outfit. Not even everyday clothes could make her seem less elegant. After all, she wasn’t just a musical icon; her fashion was an inextricable part of her diva persona, both onstage and off.

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Check out a selection of the beloved singer’s ensembles in these archival photos below.

Aretha Franklin reviews a copy of her album “Aretha Franklin — Soul ‘69” at Atlantic Records studios on Jan. 9, 1969, in New York City.
(Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Aretha Franklin performs at Barack Obama's inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20, 2009.
(Ron Edmonds / Associated Press)

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Aretha Franklin sings in the Atlantic Records studio during "The Weight" recording session on Jan. 9, 1969, in New York City.
(Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images)
Aretha Franklin performs at the New Orleans Jazz Festival in 1994.
(Leon Morris / Getty Images)

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Aretha Franklin performs during the "VH1 Divas 2001: The One and Only Aretha Franklin" tribute April 10, 2001.
(Suzanne Plunkett/Associated Press)
Aretha Franklin dances for the camera, circa 1968.
(Express Newspapers / Getty Images)
Narada Michael Walden, left, greets Aretha Franklin and Clive Davis at a Grammy eve cocktail party in New York in 1997.
(Joe Tabacca/For The Times)

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Aretha Franklin sings during a kick-off concert for the Democratic National Convention on Aug. 23, 1996, in Chicago's Grant Park.
(Val Mazzenga/Associated Press)
Aretha Franklin is flanked by actors John Belushi, left, and Dan Aykroyd on the set of the 1980 film "The Blues Brothers."
Aretha Franklin is flanked by actors John Belushi, left, and Dan Aykroyd on the set of the 1980 film “The Blues Brothers.”
(Sunset Boulevard / Corbis via Getty Images)
Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin performs at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live on July 25, 2012.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)