For pop stars, especially females, it’s been ingrained into society that they must reinvent themselves to stay relevant. And they continue to deliver every single time. Whether it’s a new hairstyle, colour palette, signature item of clothing, or all of the above, this usually signifies a new musical era is on the horizon. And when Billie Eilish said goodbye to her signature black hair and neon green roots a few weeks ago, sure enough an album announcement followed right after.
Over the last few weeks, Billie has broken the internet not once, but twice. Firstly, by debuting her buttery blonde locks, and then again on Monday with her British Vogue cover sporting embellished bodysuits. Billie may have only released one album so far (her second Happier Than Ever is due out in July) but she’s already made her mark on the fashion world with an aesthetic that is uniquely her and one that carries a powerful message. From wearing adrogonyous baggy clothing determined to eliminate any option to be objectified, to figure hugging corsets spreading body positivity, Billie’s aesthetic has always been lightyears ahead.
So there’s no better time to take a look back at her style evolution and how she’s not only made a memorable statement with her music, but also with her wardrobe.
Don’t Smile At Me EP (2017)
Since day one, Billie has been able to control her narrative by giving the world nothing to focus on but her sound – the proof is in the YouTube comments. Everything she wears is a deliberate action to deflect any judgement of her body, “I never want the world to know everything about me,” she said in an ad for Calvin Klein. “I mean, that’s why I wear big, baggy clothes. Nobody can have an opinion because they haven’t seen what’s underneath.” At just fourteen years old, she was in full control of how she introduced herself to the world. In a move just as powerful and body-positive as stripping down, Billie layered up.
Regardless of how she personally felt about her own body, she was determined to eliminate the option for others to criticize, praise or objectify it. She kept the power all to herself by rarely showing skin. Opting to wear monochromatic layers upon layers of oversized jackets, turtle necks and baggy pants, completed with Converse sneakers, dark eye makeup, and hoops. When she dropped her first EP Don’t Smile At Me, Billie was already oozing more coolness in just her pinky finger acrylic alone than any influencer hashtagging OOTD on the reg. And on days where she just wanted to blend in, a camo ensemble would always do the trick.
When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (2019)
Fast forward a few years and an 18-year-old Billie Eilish is still just your average teenager – if every kid her age had seven Grammys, billions of streams, 83 million Instagram followers, three sold out tours and multiple #1 songs. The hitmaker has already achieved more than most artists do in their lifetime. And she’s done it all by throwing the traditional pop star dress code out the window. Captioning one of her Instagram posts, “If only i dressed normal id be so much hotter yeah yeah come up with a better comment im tired of that one”, it’s clear she deals with unwanted criticism on a daily basis. Which is the reason why she chooses to wear oversized items – preventing unwanted commentary on her body, instead shifting it to her clothing.
But just because she isn’t walking red carpets in designer gowns or flame emoji bodysuits, doesn’t mean she can’t create a show-stopping look. She’s been repping the likes of Sailor Moon, and The Powerpuff Girls, as well as her own sustainable clothing label. Designers such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton have also jumped at the chance to be a part of her boujee fashion. Creating head-to-toe custom fits from bucket hats, all the way down to her socks. In her time capsule interview with Vanity Fair, she revealed that everything she was wearing had been gifted to her, a glo-up that’s allowed her to harness her iconic signature style consisting of heavy accessories, chunky shoes, and hair that’s been dyed every colour of the rainbow. She’s also never seen without acrylic nails – so long in fact, that you wonder as a Gen Z how she’s even able to take a selfie.
Happier Than Ever (2021)
Speaking to Vogue Australia back in 2019, Billie said, “If I’m wearing something I don’t feel comfortable in I will turn into a totally different person that I hate… [Fashion has] always been my security blanket. It’s my way of expression without having to use words.” And her music video for ‘Therefore I Am’ perfectly encapsulates that exact sentiment. Almost as if it is a sign-off to her signature neon green hair.
With a brand new era, comes a brand new aesthetic. And if you thought it was just the blonde hair, well you’re in for a treat. Billie is clearly aware of the unwarranted criticism that could come with a shift in her style to something more “sexy”, however, she’s also aware of the fact that no matter what she does there will always be haters.
In her new British Vogue magazine spread, she serves up straight bombshell, pin-up realness – but the words that accompany the shoot are just as important. She didn’t change up her look for people to start objectifying her, “Don’t make me not a role model because you’re turned on by me. Let’s turn it around and be empowered in that… It’s about taking that power back, showing it off and not taking advantage with it.” Making it clear she is in charge of her creative choices, she went on to say, “I’m not letting myself be owned anymore.” While we can’t wait to see more fashion moments spawn from the badass blonde Billie, let’s continue to leave the body beneath the couture out of the conversation.
Listen to Billie Eilish’s new single ‘Your Power’ out now!