The year was 1990, the year of the smash-hit debut from a little-known woman: 'Mariah Carey.' A kid from Long Island with the ability to captivate audiences with a voice spanning octaves, she looked very much the simple girl here. Naturally curly hair and tawny skin give a hint of her multi-cultural heritage. Mariah's tank dress indicates her unvarnished sense of style.
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After the release of Mariah's follow-up opus 'Emotions' (1991), Carey kept it safe on the fashion front. This red carpet-ready frock shows off her petite frame to perfection, but makes her look more the child-woman than the growing star. She experimented with her hair just a touch, throwing up her mane into a simple updo. Otherwise Carey's style remained unchanged by fame.
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After her marriage to label head Tommy Mottola ended in divorce in 1997, Mariah Carey moved rapidly from little woman to sexy siren. She began with a total revamp of that hair, rocking straight looks with aplomb.
Here is another straight look experiment, unfortunately gone wrong. Thankfully, this puffy bouffant embellishment will not appear again. But there goes that tank dress again!
After leaving Tommy Mottola, Mariah revolutionized her look and her music. Carey's 1997 album 'Butterfly' saw the international pop sensation move with confidence into urban music. She also began a trend of belly-bearing outfits. Did her hip-hop collaborators, including the then-named Puff Daddy, inspire her to bear all?
The early 2000s saw Carey working fleshy exposure to the max. At the Divas 2000 Tribute to Diana Ross in New York City, she kept it casual and sultry in jeans and a skin-revealing butterfly top.
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Perhaps in a moment of fashion confusion, Mariah lets it all hang out in a bra and men's jacket for the 2001 VH1 Vogue Fashion Awards. Only Madonna can bend genders well. The failure of this outfit proves that Mariah is clearly a girly girl. She will engage in a struggle to find a non-childish version of her shimmering style.
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In an attempt to balance girly/feminine with mature/stylish, Mariah gives us this all-white couture ensemble. While this is an improvement over Mariah's earlier attempts at working the red carpet, she is reveling too much in sequins, satin, spangles and fur. Her hair is almost devoid of life. She has come a long way. But does she look good?
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More spangles. More sparkle. More flash. Loose and feminine waves frame Mariah's face, with her bosom on display for maximum exposure. A matronly Lolita who has bedazzled her mom's evening clothes, Carey comes off as a teen-MILF. Her décolletage has become her favorite fashion accessory.
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Carey's Halloween costume one year demonstrated that she was still too much in touch with her inner girl. Her wild hair spreading from her head like fire is a relapse to her early 'dos. This make-up must have come from the Wet-n-Wild counter at the convenience store. Only a twelve-year-old can pull this off.