VIDEO VIXEN, 1985
The technicolor eyeshadow, a hair bow and arm warmers may have been fads, but the video for “How Will I Know” would become an early MTV classic and moonman winner at the MTV Video Music Awards.
EARNING HER STRIPES, 1986
Her first album, the self-titled Whitney Houston, was an out-of-the-gate success, landing her two American Music Awards and a chance to stand out: The singer selected a sparkling striped blazer and wild curls to collect her first trophies.
BLAZING UP THE CHARTS, 1987
Though the shoulder pads and hairstyles changed throughout the years, Houston remained partial to menswear-inspired jackets, paired with everything from jeans to fancy skirts – sometimes even wearing full suits for formal events.
GOING BIG, 1988
More than a billion people watched Houston perform at Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday concert in London, where her big voice matched an even bigger look: a beaded, double-breasted blazer, layered over a turtleneck, plus black gloves and a half-up hairdo.
SUPERBOWL STUNNER, 1991
Houston’s rendition of the national anthem at the 1991 Super Bowl is still considered one of the best of all time – though her performance was also notable for the patriotic striped and checked jumpsuit she paired with a wide white headband.
HIGH DRAMA, 1992
For her first film role, in The Bodyguard, the star donned a number of jaw-dropping ensembles, including the dramatic black satin cloak seen on the cover of the original soundtrack – which would feature one of her biggest hits, a cover of I Will Always Love You.
STRIKING SENSATION, 1994
She already had two Grammys to her name, but the success of The Bodyguard soundtrack nabbed her three more, including album of the year. To pick up her trophies (with songwriter/producer David Foster) she looked the part of a winner in an ivory sequined gown, a loose, curly updo and sparkling gems.
FASHION FACEOFF, 1998
Even divas have a sense of humor! After teaming with Mariah Carey for “When You Believe” (The Prince of Egypt), the two powerhouses poked fun at their reputations by showing up to the 1998 Video Music Awards in matching chocolate brown dresses.
THE RISK-TAKER, 2001
Though her weight caused a stir at a tribute to pop legend Michael Jackson, Houston proved she still had serious pipes (and moves to match), singing “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” in a gladiator-inspired fringed ensemble.
FUR FAN, 2001
Another constant in the singer’s style was fur: Whether coat, stole or shrug, she was often seen swathed in it. At the Vanity Fair Oscar party, Houston (accompanied by then-husband Bobby Brown) topped a keyhole-cutout gown with a psychedelic wrap and tons of jewels.
COMEBACK KID, 2009
Though her tour that year wasn’t without its problems, the singer was polished and put-together when she appeared at the American Music Awards, wearing her most elegant look yet – a one-sleeved portrait-neckline white gown – to perform “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength.”
SHINE ON, 2011
At the pre-Grammy gala, Houston sang for longtime friend and mentor Clive Davis in a timeless, shimmering ombré sequin gown and minimal jewels.