Oprah’s style evolution

Oprah’s style evolution

Oprah Winfrey is a style icon, and there is no denying her influence over the style choices of people, be it in regard to choosing essential items for their wardrobes, or steering clear from certain styles and colours. She is known for being aware of her strengths and weaknesses in context with her body shape, and after a handful of fashion disasters during the 80’s, has managed to carve a niche for herself in the fashion hall of fame. Here is a look at her personal fashion evolution from the mid-80's to the present day. When she began hosting The Oprah Winfrey Show in the mid-1980's, her style was quintessentially 80's; big, teased hair with loud makeup and large prints and patterns, mostly geometric. Oprah herself has stated that she sometimes shudders while watching reruns of old episodes where she is shown with bird's-nest style hair and red, blue and magenta eye makeup. Given that the 80's were all about being “loud, garish, and proud” however, it is safe to say that her unfortunate fashion choices blended in perfectly without raising too much controversy. The mid-90's saw a more experimental side of her look as she struggled with weight loss and weight gain, and struggled to deal with the new found influence and interest she had generated. The media and public followed her fashion choices, critiquing and praising constantly, and anything she wore or recommended on episodes such as “Oprah’s Favorite Things” quickly sold out at department stores and designer boutiques. Her fashion disasters were as noticeable as her hits, with a plaid skirt by Alexander McQueen making the most negative impact. Designers who were featured on her show often gifted her some outfits from their collection, keeping in mind her distinct body shape. Her growth during the 90’s therefore can be alluded to the show’s popularity and high viewership, which in turn allowed her access to more high-end labels and avant garde ensembles. Her stylist for the show, Kelly Hurliman, has stated that while both she and Oprah followed strict guidelines while choosing outfits, it was not unusual for a “safe” outfit to look completely disproportionate and unflattering in front of the camera; one of the most common involved V-neck style blouses [meant to lengthen the neck and flatter a full bust] bunching upwards. Oprah however, was said to be loyal to the blouses nonetheless! Towards the early 2000’s, viewers noticed a definite confidence in Oprah’s style, which till then had been oscillating between too safe and downright unflattering; she was now more aware of styles which suited her, and was more open to wearing brighter colors, albeit in one shade and not too many. A noteworthy example of her meticulous planning skills juxtaposed with her newly-developed sense of flattering color tones was during the famous 2004 Pontiac giveaway episode, where she coordinated a bright red fitted suit by Michael Kors, with the red ribbon which was tied around the keys of the car she was sitting atop; needless to say both the car and the suit gained much popularity after the episode! An outfit which she put together herself and made positive waves among fashion critics, was a fitted green silk blouse with a leather band; a sign of both maturity with the right amount of quirkiness. The fact that Oprah’s best fashion moments as well as her biggest fashion disasters have all been immortalized through her show, and the fact that she has had no earth-shattering fashion disasters, proves that Oprah is as meticulous about her style choices as she is about the professional aspects of her show. She has grown as a person, and as a fashion icon, and is revered by women for her encouragement of curvy body shapes as opposed to size zero, and for her endorsement of fashion items, inner wear and accessories which flatter the shape. She is a fashion icon therefore, on a multitude of levels, and continues to inspire the public with her smart style decisions and confident style of dressing.

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