We are still celebrating the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, who would have turned 59 years old yesterday.
The 13-time Grammy winner first garnered attention as the youngest performer in the family-fronted Jackson 5. Soon after, Jackson came into his own, launching his super-successful solo career in the ’80s that ultimately cemented his genius in pop culture history.
Aside from churning out countless hit songs and coining dance moves all his own, the legend—who passed away in 2009—was also known for his out-of-this-world fashion sense. From his red leather “Thriller” jacket to his moonwalking outfit of thick white socks and penny loafers with a single sequined white glove in “Billie Jean,” today we find ourselves especially nostalgic for the days when Jackson was setting a standard of style.
Though he has passed, the King of Pop’s influence can be seen throughout pop culture still today, from bedazzled military-style jackets to lone white gloves.
In honor of his birthday, take a look back at Jackson’s most memorable outfits.
#1: PSYCHEDELIC PRINTS
#2: SPARKLING SEPARATES
#3: THE RED LEATHER JACKET
The zipper-bedecked red leather jacket that Jackson wore in 1983’s “Beat It” video quickly became iconic and widely copied. Michael himself opted for a similar tomato-colored style in his subsequent “Thriller” clip.
#4: THE SEQUINED GLOVE
Performing at L.A.’s Dodger Stadium in 1984, the King of Pop wore an outfit that combined several of his favorite trends: abundant shine, a military-style jacket (complete with golden epaulets), and most notably, his famous single, sequined white glove.
#5: ZIPPERS, BUCKLES, AND CHAINS
#6: THE CLASSIC SUIT—WITH A TWIST
#7: ATTENTION-GETTING ACCESSORIES
High-water pants—paired with white, often-sparkly socks—were another favorite of Michael’s, and they served a purpose, drawing attention to his fancy footwork (seen here in the groundbreaking 1991 video for “Black or White”). The cast-like brace he often wore functioned the same way: It accentuated his awesome movements. (His wrist was reportedly fine.)
#8: THE SPACE-AGE SUIT
#9: UPSCALE ARMOR
#10: HIGH-FASHION LABELS
Fashion designers had long been influenced by Michael’s aesthetic, but it wasn’t until the last year of his life that the singer began to reciprocate, regularly stepping out in recognizable, straight-from-the-runway styles. Always a rule-breaker, Michael frequently opted for tops, jackets, and even pants that were originally shown on female models. In this picture from 2009, he wears a jacket and vest by Givenchy; Balmain was another favorite.
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