Rhythm Nation 1814 is one of the most successful selling R&B/pop albums of all time. It thrust entertainer Janet Jackson into global stardom! Record-breaking and influential, the sound was only half of the appeal. The fashion statements and trendsetting moments from each video told a story of a woman who had gained control and wanted to use her newfound fame to discuss racism, sexism and feminism through lyrics and show-stopping choreography. And clearly, this look resonated with readers, as YOU chose it as the style you most wanted us to break down in last week’s poll.

A departure from the ultra feminine and stylized Whitney Houston and glamorized Anita Baker, Miss Jackson presented a different look. It was socially conscious-meets-New Jack Swing Era-meets rock and military. Knowing that you cannot win a war in heels, Janet chose cat suits, fitted trousers, outerwear, combat boots, leather, black gloves and steel metal accessories. The Princess of Pop connected with the girl-next-door and her style is often imitated, especially in modern times by R&B chanteuse Beyoncé and reality show diva Tamar Braxton.

So in honor of her stellar comeback and Unbreakable attitude, we breakdown the clothes, beauty and hair that defined an introspective time for Janet and made her 1989 album a classic.


Staying ahead of crazes has been Jackson’s forte! Never afraid to take risks, she embraced a “tomboy glamour” approach, opting for men’s wear-inspired blouses and dresses with a black and white color palette. Continuing a “fashion flexible” theme from the Control EP, Janet’s love of suiting, more specifically in blazers and oversized French cuffed shirting, carried over to Rhythm Nation. The look varied, depending on the mood, from sensual to street to romantic, which were on full display in each video treatment. I mean, the fact that you can still look amazing and sexy in a one-piece military getup while performing aggressive dance moves says a lot about the icon. Oh, one last thing: the large hoop earring with the front door key…EPIC!

Tips: Opt for pieces from your favorite discount retailers including H&M, Zara, Aldo and Forever 21, as Janet was not known to flaunt around in high-end, designer garments.


For the Rhythm Nation 1814 era, Janet’s mane was easy and simple: sleek, full and Jet Black! A departure from the voluminous and stylized Control album, her locks were swung, tossed and still managed to stay in place. In the infamous “Rhythm Nation” video, a tightly-pulled, wavy ponytail lived underneath a baseball cap. The visuals for “I Miss You Much,” “Escapade,” “Alright,” “Black Cat” and “Come Back To Me” displayed the hair in a free, mid-length style. Then for “Love Will Never Do,” an up-do with a headband was necessary for the minimalist and casual visuals.

Tips: To ensure control, body and shine, use Kimble Beauty Brazilian Nut & Acai Berry Serum, Free Your Mane Conditioning Pomade and Purely Perfect Smooth Finish available at www.doobop.com.


Effortless and simple, Janet’s naturally high cheekbones, defined nose, piercing eyes and perfect pout have been her signature look for the pass three decades. A strong brow, soft brown powder under the eyes and cheeks and visible jaw line make for an ultra feminine yet dominant canvas. With a great MUA, you can achieve this late 1980‘s look with proper highlighting, contouring, sculpting and a fierce attitude!

Tip: To get the full Janet beat, use AJ Crimson Signature S+M Sultry and Matte Lipstick in Crimson Rose; IMAN Cosmetics Skin Tone Evener BB Creme SPF 15 in Clay Medium and Volumize Mascara in Black Ink; Shea Moisture Color Correcting, Contouring & Highlighting Palette; Black Opal Precision Brow Definer and Precision Eye Definer.

Get the Janet Rhythm Nation 1814 look:

The Hat: Sateen Baseball Hat, $9.90, www.forever21.com

The Outfit: V-Neck Jumpsuit, $29.99, www.hm.com

The Shoe: DOLCETTI Mid Boots, $127.50, www.aldoshoes.com

The Coat: Fitted Leather Coat, $69.99, www.hm.com

The Accessory: Top Stitched Leather Gloves, $49.90, www.zara.com

The Earring: Large Hoops, $15.90, www.zara.com