Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 7:06 AM
How To Dress Like Nicki Minaj
For those craving to look like the young rock star fashionistas lighting up the Billboard charts, copycat fashion blogs may be the cure.
As Nicki Minaj sassily questions people trying to steal her style in her popular song, "Saxon," "Did you copy that, copycat?"
Female musicians of all genres have long been regarded as fashion icons, and today's music scene is no exception. Lady Gaga, Minaj, Katy Perry and even wild child Ke$ha are inspiring trends tending toward the outrageous -- and people are looking for some outrageous in their life, it seems.
"What I love about Nicki Minaj's style is that she is not afraid to push the envelope," says Niki Schwan, one of Minaj's stylists.
"She is less concerned with what people 'will think' and more focused on how she is feeling at that moment -- how she wants to be seen for that event, rather than dressing for what she thinks people will want to see her in. I love that she has almost encouraged and used hair and makeup as an accessory."
Want to wear a kaleidoscope of color like Minaj? Start with the hair. According to Schwan, wig sales, especially the bright color variety, are booming.
"Nicki never takes herself too seriously, which makes this outlandish fun style really approachable," Schwan says. "She incorporates tons of humor into her style, and is fearless in her approach, which I think people really admire and appreciate as an artist, a woman and a rising icon."
The fashions of rising icons aren't far from becoming your own street style reality. While copycat fashion isn't a new trend, the clothing inspiring these trends can feel unattainable or impossible.
Fortunately, "impossible" doesn't exist for blogger Anna Nguyen. An interior design graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Nguyen, 27, is the founder of Style with Anna.
"I love taking a crazy Lady Gaga outfit and translating it to daywear," Nguyen says. "It looks great on stage, but most of us aren't on stage. This way, you can channel your own inner Lady Gaga."
Based out of Irvine, California, Nguyen is no stranger to celebrity fashion. She began her blog two years ago to prove a point: The interior designer also knew as much about dressing people as she did staging a living room.
Because of her own obsession with Lady Gaga's fashion, Nguyen says she began posting "How to Dress Like" female musicians and celebrities. Then came a flood of e-mails asking "Can you do a Ke$ha post, too?" and other similar requests.
As someone who loves to dress other people, Nguyen jumped on the challenge of copycat fashion.
Nguyen has the mind of a designer. In a matter of minutes, she can analyze an outrageous outfit and translate it into something appropriate for the workplace, or even a design for a room. She builds collages of different components she finds, and soon, Nguyen has composed an accessible version of a rock star ensemble.
For example, if Lady Gaga is wearing an outfit covered with feathers, Nguyen recommends finding a cool feather necklace to add some funk to your wardrobe. If an outfit completely mystifies you, just look at the fabric or material and base your search on that, Nguyen says.
So what does Nguyen see as the drive behind all the requests she receives for her popular "How to Dress Like" posts?
"It's fun to change up everyday style," Nguyen says. "It takes the focus off everything else going on in the world. We can use what we already have in our closets and funk it up, even just with accessories, to express ourselves. People want something to be inspired by."
If you're cautious about wearing Gaga or Ke$ha swag in the workplace but still want to emulate a style icon, try for something that fits your tastes, Nguyen says.
"For the average fashion-inclined person, Beyonce has a sophisticated style that is calm enough to translate to the normal working world," Nguyen says.
Although a Lady Gaga fan, Nguyen doesn't neglect other musicians in the name of being one of Lady G's "little monsters," the nickname given to Gaga fans. Under the Styles and Trends section, there are "How to Dress Like" collages for a multitude of artists and celebrities, and even a section for men under Fashion for Guys.
However, some female rockers and songsters already wear styles that are easily attainable. Even if "teenage dream" queen Katy Perry attempts to be elusive, you can simply Steal Her Style with Linda Paiste's blog.
A fan of the band Paramore, Paiste wanted to create a website to show her appreciation, but not just another fan site. Paiste was also a fan of lead singer Hayley Williams' style -- it was fun, edgy and accessible. She didn't think her first site, Hayley Fashion, would gain popularity so quickly.
Today, nearly 14,000 people a day stop by Hayley Fashion, with 7,000 glancing at Steal Her Style as well. The latter has more than 60,000 unique visitors a month.
"I never expected it to be a big thing," Paiste says. "Then, I started receiving e-mails from other people saying, 'I wish there was a site like this for Katy Perry,' and I thought, 'I could do that.' So, I made a site for everyone, something that is all-encompassing."
A community of contributors built up around the newly formed Steal Her Style, which focuses only on female musicians, as well as Hayley Fashion. People e-mailed her regularly with "found" outfits.
While some visitors to the site are stopping by for ideas about their own style, others are looking for where to buy exact items worn by their favorite musicians.
"It depends on the person," Paiste says. "Katy Perry has a stylist, so all of her outfits are really well put together. It's just looking at what she wears to help pull together your own look. With bands, you can buy what they're wearing at stores like Hot Topic. They are things that anyone can buy and anyone can wear."
Posts about outfits seen on stage translate easily to affordable jewelry, T-shirts, jeans and jackets, usually with links to where they can be found.
By keeping up with popular artists, Paiste also has an eye on evolving trends. According to Paiste, the "hipster" look is ever present, from Minnetonka fringe boots and moccasins to SpiritHoods, animal-inspired hats. Without the current music scene, Paiste questions if something like SpiritHoods would have caught on.
Copycat style is a sense of fashion all its own and to attain it, some people take things a step further: enlisting the help of a personal shopper.
When clients approach Bloomingdales' personal shoppers to help build up their wardrobes, they already come with inspiration.
"Clients will comment about a trend or style worn by a celebrity," Marian Goodman, vice president of personal shopping, says. "The studded shoes and platforms from Burberry and Sam Edelman have been popular."
"Clients are inspired by celebrity style and they will then 'adapt' those trends to fit into their own lifestyle. Copycat fashion is its own trend, especially when it comes to accessories."
Just like the blogs that help you adopt your own copycat look, artists and celebrities wear a myriad array of styles that provide a springboard for personal inspiration.
"With artists like Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga and Rihanna in the forefront of the entertainment spotlight, there is a wide-open door to express yourself through your style and fashion," Schwan says.
"It is accepted and encouraged, and ultimately inspired by these types of icons, who are each different from one another, yet each the same in that they are not afraid to express their style and brand through what they wear."