A Look Back At Mariah Carey’s Visionary ‘90s Style

The diva’s style is a masterclass in simplicity.


Mariah Carey is a vocal powerhouse and a musical legend. Sometimes called the “Songbird Supreme,” she has been successfully exercising her five-octave range since her debut with 1990’s “Vision of Love.” Just as influential as Carey’s many hit records is her unique taste in fashion. Citing Marilyn Monroe as inspiration, Carey’s style has the glamour of Old Hollywood, yet with minimalistic elements. This is seen best in Carey’s debut era, where she proved that simplicity and dressing for your body can go a long way. Here’s a retrospective of the diva’s best ‘90s looks.

33rd Annual Grammy Awards, 1991

The year after her debut, Mariah Carey won two Grammys while wearing a chic little black dress with crystalized detailing on the sweetheart neckline and straps. 


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Chanel Benefit Show, 1994

Carey pared back her pastel pink tweed set with a simple white t-shirt and black shades. 

All I Want for Christmas Is You Alternative Video, 1994

Singing her legendary Christmas song, Carey modernized ’60s Gogo and paid homage to the girl group looks of the Ronettes.

MTV Video Music Awards, 1997

Carey’s appearance at the 1997 VMAs marked a liberation for her style, as she traded in the girl-next-door fashion of her pre-divorce career for more skin-baring ensembles. 

MTV Video Music Awards, 1998

In an iconic moment recently recreated by Dua Lipa, Megan Thee Stallion, and Donatella Versace, Carey and Whitney Houston wear the same dress to poke fun at their alleged feud. 


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New York, 1999

Many of Carey’s early outfits could blend easily into modern-day fashion, like this tank top and low-waist jeans, which Carey claims to have originated. 

VH1’s Divas Live, 2000

Carey’s Emanuel Ungaro butterfly top has resurged as celebrity fashion inspiration over twenty years later, seen on stars like Saweetie, Olivia Rodrigo, and Dua Lipa.


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