Mary J. Blige: Style Transformation

With the launch of ESSENCE.com Makeover Magic virtual beauty experience we highlight the power of transformation with flashback music maven Mary J. Blige’s evolving style. Check out how the soul queen went from street to chic. By Qianna Smith

ESSENCE.COM Jun, 16, 2009

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Make no mistake about it: Mary J. Blige is a true style chameleon. From fly B-girl to regal radiance, she’s done it all. Join us as we explore her ever-evolving looks. Then use our new Makeover Magic tool to see how a MJB do will look on you.

Qianna Smith

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1995
Early in her career Mary J. hit the scene with a rugged fashion edge as seen here at the Billboard Awards. This shiny ensemble exemplifies her willingness to experiment and play with fashion. Her Fendi handbag anchors the outfit. Invest in one strong handbag and you will get years of wear out of it.

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1996
Not many women would feel comfortable in short leather shorts, but they were a staple of Mary’s wardrobe in the early days. She was years ahead of her time sporting the gladiator sandal trend that is so hot right now. Here, the diva belts her hit “Not Gon’ Cry” at the Soul Train Awards.

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1999
Ever versatile, Mary’s style teeters between hood chic and traditional with a twist. She goes from jeans and boots to diamonds and fur stoles with ease.

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2000
It seems short leather shorts were a staple in Mary’s closet back then. She strutted her stuff on the catwalk in this hot pink ensemble at Tommy Hilfiger’s Young, Loud and Sexy Fall Fashion Show.

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2000
Mary shut it down in this form-fitting gold goddess dress. “I could go back and be negative Mary and satisfy fans who expect that, but I’ve moved closer to God.”

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2000
This diva deluxe went from hustler to hottie. Establishing herself has a force in the music industry, Mary J. Blige talks to press after being nominated for a trio of Grammys including best R&B album for “Mary.”

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2001
“At the time that Alicia Keys’s “A Woman’s Worth” came out, I really was just getting a clue about my worth. I’d listen to the lyrics and think, Well, damn, I deserve more, and I’ve got to start believing that I’m worth more," confesses Mary, seen here at MTV’s 20th anniversary celebration.

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2002
Sometimes bad clothes happen to good people and this is MJ’s case at the 44th annual Grammy Awards. Blige has definitely come into her own skin now, choosing garments that flatter her body more rather than wearing things that only make a statement.

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2002
Mary J. Blige may have been partying it up back in 2002 but you’d be hard-pressed to find the Grammy winner in a club these days. Blige has undergone a spiritual and emotional transformation since her hard-knock beginnings.

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2003
“I firmly believe that if you don’t evolve and grow, you will die,” says Mary.

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2004
Now that Mary is happily married, she’s definitely smoothed out her edginess. “I’ve learned that if your man isn’t doing right, the only way to change things is for you to do something different." Now glow from within as she does here at Fashion Rocks.

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2005
“I’ve never been this cool with myself before, to the point where I can just hang out with myself and watch Lifetime movies. Or I’ll put on my jewelry and play dress up by myself. Now I finally know how to have fun with myself. And that’s a blessed place to be.” Preach, Mary.

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2006
Wonder how Mary J. whipped herself into shape? Just ask her personal trainer Mark Jenkins: "The everyday tip Mary swears by is eating six small meals and drinking a gallon of water daily. She also sticks to low glycemic carbs and has most of them earlier in the day to minimize fat storage.”

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2007
“I’m not chasing the hottest, newest thing or trying to keep up with what everyone else is doing, but I’m not so prideful that I can’t keep an open heart and mind,” says the stylista, who’s pictured here at the 4th Annual Fashion Rocks at Radio City in New York City.

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2008
“Being married is teaching me what it means to be a woman, a wife, a mother and a friend,” says the star, seen her sharing camera time with husbby Kendu Isaacs at the 16th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscar Party in West Hollywood, California.

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2008
“Success is enjoying the fruits of your labor. It’s about being thankful rather than being so spoiled or bigheaded that you don’t wake up in the morning and say, Wow, I came from the projects in Yonkers and I’m here.

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2009
At 38, this R&B queen reigns supreme when it comes to complexion perfection. Glowing, silky skin is irresistible. Check out Neutrogena Deep Clean Relaxing Nightly Cleanser, $7, drugstores nationwide, and put your best face forward.

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2009
The world’s top beauty and fragrance movers and shakers were on hand at the 37th Annual FIFI Awards, which took place in New York City at the Downtown Armory. Mary was in the house showing off her fierce and feminine side in this floral printed maxi dress, a must-have summer essential.

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See how Mary’s do would look on you with our new Makeover Magic tool! Log on every day to Makeover Magic to revamp your look with colors and hairstyles suited just for your brown skin and features.