Do you know who’s magical as fuck? Beyoncé. Anyone who disagrees can catch my side-eye because there’s no denying this woman. No other artist has quite dedicated themselves to their own evolution in their career, their art, their performances, their community, and their personal style all while being unapologetically themselves.
Being witness to a black woman living embodiment of excellence, not to mention witnessing the slayage, is a blessing, which is why I did not take rounding up Beyoncé’s best style moments of all time lightly. I did my journalistic duty and looked through every decade (around 2000+ images' worth) and spent hours debating each image.
Hold onto your edges, people. These looks might hurt you.
Baby Beyoncé? Yes, please. As an avid member of the Beyhive, I'm always scouring the internet for pictures of Beyonce as a child, and this was a great find. Not only is she rocking a timeless tie-dye look, but she and Solange are so damn cute.
Oh, there are so many things wonderful about this look. First off, all of Destiny’s Child's notorious matching sets were to die for. Secondly, this look is in many ways a time capsule for the trends of the 90s (hello platform boots). It’s around the time the group released their second album, The Writing's on the Wall, which gave us all the iconic bops.
Let’s be real here, the culture’s piping tea moments and most extra looks can always be found at MTV’s Music Video Awards—and the 2000s were no exception to this fact. From J.Lo baring it all in her Sean John crop topto Destiny’s Child taking a bedazzler to their leather corsets, the 2000s has never disappointed my insatiable desire for wild looks.
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The launch of the BET awards in 2001 was historic, and so was Destiny’s child look for the red carpet. Someone, please give Beyoncé an award just for looking this good in a sheer dress before it was chic.
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While Michelle Williams took the stage performing in the Broadway play Aida, Beyoncé took to the show’s the red carpet in an all-denim look. Beyoncé is that really you? In all denim? So very 2002 of you.
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Beyoncé stole the stage during the 2004 Grammy Awards. Not only did she perform with Prince, but she took home not one, but five awards for her album, Dangerously in Love. If that weren't enough, she also stole our attention in this golden silk dress designed by Tina Knowles herself.
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Some may think of Beyoncé’s most recent street style looks as proof of her slayage, but don’t get it twisted—she’s been serving looks since 2004. This green beret with a blackberry phone in Paris is no exception.
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The moment Beyoncé stepped onto the 77th Annual Academy Awards red carpet in this rich black velvet floor-length dress, I lost my breath. Leave it to a Virgo—yes, that's Beyoncé's zodiac sign—to make a classic strapless black dress even posher.
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Let us not forget the moment that Destiny’s Child stunned us all at the 2005 BET Awards with their performance of Cater 2 U—Beyoncé giving a lap dance to Terrance Howard? Iconic. And though Terrance never had the baddest woman in the game up in his sheets, he was able to appreciate this full-length body-con nude dress.
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Yes, I’m fully aware this is her second full-length floor gown in this list, but it’s to prove a point. Point being that Beyoncé comes to slay every damn time. It just so happens to be that this time she was slaying in a stunning Ellie Saab gown at the 64th Annual Golden Globes.
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Nothing has ever been the same since the 2009 MTV Music Awards. In case you were living in outer space at the time, let me bring you up to speed: Back in 2009, Beyoncé blessed us with every single girl’s anthem, Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it), which was nominated for MTV’s best video of the year.
When the iconic video was snubbed by one of Taylor Swift’s mediocre videos (sorry Taylor fans, it’s not her best work), Kanye stormed the stage to interrupt Taylor Swift’s speech and proclaim his love for Beyoncé’s video. For worse, this ceremony started Taylor and Kayne’s infamous back-and-forth relationship, but for the best, it established Beyonce's go-to onstage look as embellished leotards.
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What does one wear to accept their Grammy nomination for the best female pop vocal performance? Giorgio Armani of course—or at least that's what Beyoncé choose to wear in 2010. And while I love seeing her in a Privé dress, I’m also here for her in 3D glasses.
The Late 2000s
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There are so many moments that have defined Beyoncé as a force to be reckoned with, but none sit as close to my heart than her singing at Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2013. While Beyoncé wasn’t the first black woman to perform at a presidential inauguration, she did join the ranks of iconic black artists like Arthea Franklin, Marian Anderson, and James Brown. Not only did she stun us with her incredible performance of the national anthem, but she did so in an equally as stunning black Pucci dress paired with a Christian Dior coat.
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Beyoncé is constantly a champion for new designers, in fact for the 56th Grammy Awards in 2014 she wore this stunning floor-length dress designed by former project runway contestant Michael Costello. Leave it to Beyoncé to not only lift the voice of new talent but to look damn good while doing so.
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If the dictionary added an image next to the word "flawless," it would have to be a picture of Beyoncé in couture Givenchy at the 2014 Met Gala. Not only is it one of her best looks, but It’s also the look she wore in the infamous elevator scuffle where Solange popped off Jay Z for allegedly cheating. Frankly, if I were to witness a fight over trifling matters, I too would want to be dripping in Givenchy sequins just as a reminder to Becky that she ain’t even half of me.
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If your heart didn’t melt when Blue Ivy and Jay Z presented Beyoncé with the Vanguard Award in 2014, you’re not a true beehive member. Not only was Blue saying, “Good job, Mommy” iconic, but this moment encapsulates all of the albums and ensembles that lead up to this point. It was Beyoncé not only getting the recognition she deserves but showing the world success and motherhood aren't anomalies.
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How do I describe my love for what Beyoncé and J.Lo wore to Vanity Fair's post-87th Annual Academy Awards party? I can't—it's too much, this much pretty hurts. From Beyonce's bob to her full-length Stella McCartney dress, this look makes me want to sign a non-disclosure right now just so I can party with these two.
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This look kills me. Not only does Beyoncé prove yet again that her style game isn’t limited to the stage, but she’s rocking a polished all-denim look at Yeezy’s first fashion show next to our other queen, Rihanna. Consider me dead—the cause of my premature death? Too much fashion.
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I ain’t sorry for the following statement: Kim Kardashian West wearing a naked dress pales in comparison to Beyoncé’s 2015 Met Gala look. No one can re-create the queen; she’s just too much for all of us, and the moment she proved it is when she showed up late to the 2015 gala in this barely-there bejeweled Givenchy. Moments like these fill me with infinite gratitude to be living in the time of Beyoncé.
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The wonderful thing about art of all forms is that it makes people uncomfortable. It can pose questions and raise awareness—and Beyonce’s performance at the 50th Super Bowl did just that. She performed Formation on the field in a black military-inspired leotard alongside her backup dancers rocking afros adorned with black berets.
Their looks paid homage to the Black Panthers 50 years after the group’s formation, and to say people were upset over these berets is an understatement. Granted they weren't actually upset about the style choices, the running joke happened to be that people forgot she was black until this performance. During it, they were clearly reminded.
But just to be clear, Beyoncé has always been black; she just also has happened to be beloved by all, which is why this style moment was one for the books. She used her platform to stand up for communities of color—to bring forth an important conversation around police brutality, and to reinform about the misconceptions of the Black Panther Party—via her performance and styling choices. Frankly, nothing is more stylish than that.
There’s no denying that Beyoncé has created the tracks every self-proclaimed feminist bumps post-breakup. But one of the best gifts to the world was when she released her visual album, Lemonade, in 2016. In many ways, this is Beyoncé’s most unapologetic work; it gave us a raw glimpse into her reckoning with infidelity but was filled with visual moments that were unapologetically black and unapologetically stylish. While Beyoncé has always used her performances and music to represent her identity as a black feminist, each look within the visual album was calculated, chic, and most of all a call to action for all women of color to get in formation, throw their middle fingers up, and slay.
After releasing Lemonade, Jay was banned from being Bey's date for a while, which is totally okay because we were blessed with seeing 4-year-old Blue Ivy show up to the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards with her mom, both in matching gowns. Beyoncé broke records by taking home eight awards that night, but Blue Ivy wore an $11,000 gown—basically, it was the best girl’s night ever.
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If you're not sure what the phrase "Guccied down" means, look no further than when Beyoncé was spotted in New York in this full all-pink ensemble. Beyoncé dripping in Gucci on a casual day in October is the living embodiment of being decked out.
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The best Beyoncé news we’ve ever received is when Beyoncé announced she was having twins in early 2017. Eleven days later she gave us arguably one of her most iconic performances, and looks, to date. Wearing a Peter Dundas creation (the same designer who created her the iconic yellow dress she wore in her Hold Up music video), she paid tribute to all the African, Hindu, and Greek goddesses that represented not only fertility but divine feminine energy at the 2017 Grammy Awards. In essence, Beyoncé was not only a literal goddess, but she was making a tribute to the goddess within all of us.
You better believe that Beyoncé didn’t share the first picture of the twins in any basic fashion—she actually broke the internet with this iconic photo of her holding them in an equally internet-breaking dress by Palomo. It made every month waiting for Queen B updates so very worth it.
Leave it to Beyoncé to look this fabulous post-pregnancy—she’s proof that we’re smart enough to make these millions, strong enough to bear the children, and then get back to business. And Beyoncé meant business with this custom Walter Mendez dress that she wore to Jay’s Tidal benefit concert in 2017.
The custom Nicolas Jebran black gown Beyoncé wore to the 2018's Grammy's is by far one of the best looks of her life. Sure, she was late for the ceremony, but can you blame her? When you have a dress like that, it will take you 45 minutes to get all dressed up, and you still might not make it…
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While this isn't the first time we've spotted Beyoncé and Blue in cute ensembles together, it was great to see them casual together at the 67th NBA All-Star game. Not only does Beyoncé per usual kill with a chic courtside look, but she left us wondering how far we'd go to photobomb this selfie situation.
Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Coachella
Beyoncé made history by being the first black woman to headline Coachella, and if you haven’t seen Homecoming, her Netflix documentary,about it yet then your life is incomplete. Her performance at Coachella could be defined as one of the best of her entire career—and the costumes are up there too. The clothing she wears for the performance not only pay homage to HBCUs and steppers, but those custom Christian Louboutin boots with holographic fringe are historic in and of themselves.
Let it be historically recognized that 2018 was the year of Beyoncé. If Coachella wasn’t enough, in Jay and Bey fashion, mid-tour they released their first joint album, Everything Is Love. It was a response to their previous famed albums (Lemonade and 4:44) to tell the story of their love. But what made it even more epic is the fact they released their music video for the single entitled "Apeshit" filmed in the Louvre. Casual, right? I’m not sure if it gets any better than seeing Beyoncé and Jay in matching suits in front of the Mona Lisa.
Speaking of their tour (and from personal experience), I can attest to saying that the outfits Beyoncé wore for their On The Run IItour were some of her best looks onstage. Not only was it incredible to witness the compilation of two incredible artist’s work over a decade, but I may have shed a few tears in the presence of all the amazing looks from designers like Balmain, LaQuan Smith, Gucci, and Dunas.
Beyoncé made history with this look—quite literally. Not only was Beyonce's feature in Vogue photographed by the first African American photographer to ever shoot a cover in its 125-year history, but the image of her wearing the sequin-covered Valentino dress with the gold Philip Treacy headpiece will be part of the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection.
Anytime I'm feeling particularly down, I just remind myself to look at this picture of Beyoncé in Italy celebrating her birthday while wearing a stunning Caroline Constas set. It is the only mental vacation I need.
Who runs the world? Beyoncé. Because even in the midst of serving the most iconic tour looks and cover shoot to date in her career, she managed to make time to perform at the City of Hope Gala in this breathtaking Ralph and Russo couture dress from the brand's fall 2018 collection. Beyoncé outdid herself again with this look—but are we even surprised?
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Beyoncé does not just serve looks or sing songs; she uses her platform to advocate for what's right, which is why it came as no surprise that she and Jay headlined the inaugural Global Citizen Festival in South Africa honoring Nelson Mandela's legacy. Don't get me wrong here; her looks were phenomenal because they highlighted a diverse set of African designers. But don't let it detract from the fact the concert brought in over $7 billion dollars to help the United Nations’ anti-poverty effort. If that ain't legendary, I don't know what is.
Honestly, there not a more badass moment than when the Carters won a grammy at the beginning of 2019 for Everything is Love and still didn't show up to the ceremony. But them not attending didn't mean we weren't blessed with a bomb look—they showed up in their best possible brunch looks for Rock Nation. Can I get away with wearing this Balmain dress to brunch too?
While the hive lost it over the whole potential Becky situation at the 2019 NBA finals, I lost it over this look. Let's be real, Jay ain't gonna risk losing his wife again, especially when she pulls up in an all-nude Alexandre Vauthier set. So please, Beehive, let's remember that RBF doesn't mean the new Becky has re-emerged. Let's focus our energy not on death threats, but on Beyoncé wearing this By Far bag.
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Beyoncé served multiple looks for The Lion King's red carpet, but she made the world stop when she was spotted with Megan Markle in this floor-length yellow dress by the under-the-radar brand Cong Tri. Beyoncé never ceases to amaze. She takes our breath away with every song, and every look and then say says, "Now carry on."
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While 2020 has slowed down the rest of the world—Beyoncé has continued to outdo herself. More recently she blessed us with the film, Black Is King. Styled by Zerina Akers the film features over 60 looks honoring the Black diaspora, from emerging designers. Basically. Beyoncé proved yet again, she's the queen.