Nicki Minaj Has Had Some Truly Iconic Fashion Moments Through the Years

Nicki Minaj Has Had Some Truly Iconic Fashion Moments Through the Years

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Nicki Minaj has been killing it in the rap game (duh) for so long and has changed her looks up countless times since she emerged on the scene. But that’s why she’s one of the most memorable artists out there?! From her Pink Friday era—and her numerous personalities—to her recent release, Beam Me Up Scotty, she’s always had a bold and playful fashion sense to go with her standout singing and rapping style. Here, we rounded up some of the artist’s most iconic outfits to date, like her pink latex jumpsuit at the VMAs (you know the one) and her many Met Gala get-ups over the years. It’s more than a decade’s worth of over-the-top, unique, and sleek looks that can only be described as SO Nicki Minaj.

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October 2009

At one of her earliest red-carpet appearances, at the BET Hip Hop Awards in 2009, Nicki wore this relatively simple all-black look. Please note, however, that the Barbie nameplate necklace is already in place.

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November 2009

At the GQ Men of the Year party in 2009, Nicki wore this black minidress paired with the aforementioned Barbie necklace and pink highlights. This is the last time you’ll see her so pared down for several years, so buckle up.

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June 2010

Boom! Look at this orange wig she wore to the BET Awards in 2010. Paired with this demure white gown, it totally works. Your fave could never. (Nicki took home the award for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist, btw.)

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September 2010

For her inaugural VMAs appearance in 2010, Nicki went full Barb with a hot-pink wig and sky-high metallic platforms. Nicki was nominated that year for Best New Artist, but lost out to Justin Bieber.

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November 2010

Manish Arora designed this unique look, which Nicki wore to the American Music Awards in 2010. Nicki wasn’t nominated for anything at this particular ceremony, so they should honestly be grateful that she graced them with her presence.

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February 2011

This is where Nicki really starts to get wild. At the 2011 Grammys, she wrote this Bride of Frankenstein wig with a head-to-toe leopard outfit that wouldn’t look out of place in Cher’s closet. All of which is to say, this is a good look.

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June 2011

At the BET Awards in 2011, Nicki toned it down a little bit, if your definition of “tone it down” means “wore ruffled mauve puff sleeves.” For the second year in a row, Nicki took home the award for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist.

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August 2011

And you thought the one with the Bride of Frankenstein wig was extra! This VMAs outfit was certainly one of Nicki’s more involved looks, but as usual, she pulled it off. That year, she took home the Moonman for Best Hip-Hop Video for “Super Bass.”

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September 2011

Here, she wore this pom-pom get-up front row at the Carolina Herrera show seated next to none other than Anna Wintour. Her hair was piled high in an updo and she wore neon bottoms under the pleated skirt. So! Many! Colors!

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November 2011

Early 2010s Nicki loved nothing more than a color clash, and this AMAs look is no exception. Few people could make bubblegum pink hair work with an emerald green ball skirt, but again, this is Nicki. You can’t question her.

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February 2012

Ah, yes, the Grammys where she brought a pope. The pope is not pictured, because this Versace cloak situation really required the full frame to display all its glory. Naturally, the Catholic Church was not thrilled about this look or Nicki’s similarly Catholic-inspired performance.

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July 2012

For the third year in a row, Nicki won Best Female Hip-Hop Artist at the BET Awards. Compared to the Versace cape, this outfit is a bit understated, but please note that she still paired it with Louboutins and a neon-yellow bra.

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September 2012

Who but Nicki would think to pair a neon yellow and pastel orange wig with a lace bodysuit and sequined platform heels? Nobody. At this VMAs, she took home the Best Female Video award for “Starships” and performed “Girl on Fire” with Alicia Keys.

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November 2012

Though Nicki was obviously still a fan of neon at this point, you can see that this is when she started wearing gowns more often. If this dress weren’t the color of a highlighter, it would be a relatively standard red-carpet dress.

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May 2013

At her first Met Gala appearance, Nicki continued to refine the “elegance with an edge” concept. Her navy gown was by Tommy Hilfiger.

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June 2013

Nicki wore this lacy black gown to the BET Awards, where—you guessed it—she took home the award for Best Female Hip-Hop artist for the fourth year in a row.

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June 2014

Another year, another BET Awards look, and yes, another Best Female Hip-Hop Artist win (her fifth). This was also the year that Nicki memorably delivered the “no shade” line about people who don’t write their own raps.

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August 2014

Shortly after releasing “Anaconda,” Nicki arrived at the VMAs dressed like one. Now this is how you do synergy.

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November 2014

Nicki’s 2014 AMAs look is probably one of her most understated outfits ever, but because she’s Nicki, she of course looks flawless. Nicki didn’t win any trophies that year, but she did perform twice during the ceremony.

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February 2015

Ah yes, the 2015 Grammys dress—one of the best. Eat your heart out, Jennifer Lopez’s Versace, because the plunging neckline on this Tom Ford gown is on another level.

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June 2015

For her sixth consecutive Best Female Hip-Hop Artist win at the BET Awards, Nicki chose this sculptural cocktail dress that says “I don’t work in an office but if I did you wouldn’t dare tell me not to wear a dress with rib cutouts.”

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August 2015

By this point, Nicki had pretty much abandoned the neon and pastel wigs of her past and settled on a natural hair color. This is not to say that she’d gotten boring, of course—just look at this naked VMAs dress for proof. Also, in case you forgot: this was the year she asked Miley, “What’s good?”

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November 2015

Nicki’s supremely elegant AMAs dress was designed by Michael Costello, whom you might remember from Project Runway. He competed on the 8th season of the original show and the first season of Project Runway All Stars.

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May 2016

Remember Nicki’s demure Met Gala look from 2013? Well, apparently she decided to change it up, because in 2016, she spiced up the event with this bondage-themed Moschino gown.

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August 2016

Nicki wore this blue gown with sheer cutouts to the VMAs in 2016. which were somewhat less eventful than the 2015 VMAs (those were the ones where she made up with Taylor Swift and called out Miley Cyrus from the stage).

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October 2016

Boob tape is always a good look, as proven by this sheer bodysuit situation Nicki wore to a Tidal concert in 2016.

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November 2016

Nicki’s evolution into a more understated, business chic titan of the industry continued at the 2016 AMAs, when she opted for this simple but sexy all-black bodysuit. She still used a pink mic, though, because once a Barbie, always a Barbie.

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May 2017

For her third Met Gala appearance, Nicki wore a custom H&M dress with a belt featuring the head of Rei Kawakubo, who was the focus of the museum’s exhibit that year. Well played, ma’am.

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August 2017

And she’s back! Pink latex, pink hair, and peep-toe lace-up platforms were Nicki’s weapons of choice for the 2017 VMAs, where she performed “Swish Swish” with Katy Perry.

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May 2018

At the 2018 Met Gala, Nicki invented the color red with this ombré Oscar de la Renta gown. She said she came “dressed as the devil,” and also used the occasion to announce her new album Queen.

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