Janelle Monáe at the Chanel Cruise Spring 2015 Photo Call

Posted on May 14, 2014


Janelle-Monae-Chanel-Cruise-2015-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (1)Janelle Monáe attends the Chanel Cruise Collection 2014/2015 photo call at The Island in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Janelle-Monae-Chanel-Cruise-2015-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (2)Chanel Resort 2014 Collection

Janelle-Monae-Chanel-Cruise-2015-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (3)

Janelle-Monae-Chanel-Cruise-2015-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (4)

Janelle-Monae-Chanel-Cruise-2015-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (5)

It’s very firmly within a rather tight wheelhouse that we sometimes wish she’d open up a little more, but it’s a lovely and chic interpretation of her signature look. Love the jewelry. We think a tightly fitted pair of pants would have been a bit more elegant, though.




[Photo Credit: Francois Nel/Getty Images, style.com]

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  • Janet B

    First thought: Of course.

    • VioletFem

      I think it is a little bit different with Janelle Monae. She cultivates a very specific image through her clothing. Saying “of course” with her is kind of a moot point.

      • StarburstLady

        Agreed. She has a unique style that’s sending ripples through fashion, whereas Lea Michele looks like a girl from Long Island at a club in Manhattan.

        On top of that, I think Janelle Monae’s uniform is partly about avoiding appearing oversexed, but she doesn’t lapse into cliches there, either, like dressing primly, or hiding in swaths of fabric.

        • Brookwater

          She has also talked very openly about her mother and grandmother being maids and her previous work as a maid and the “uniform” they all had to wear. She now wears a uniform as a kind of homage to them.

        • Nicole

          I love this quote from her – I want to be clear young girls, I didn’t have to change who I was to become a Covergirl, I didn’t have to become perfect because I’ve learned through my journey that perfection is the often the enemy of greatness. Embrace what makes you unique, even if it makes other uncomfortable.

      • Janet B

        Agreed, she has a very specific image from which she rarely deviates.

  • Jacqueline Wessel

    Take that, Evan Rachel Wood!

    • StarburstLady

      Why not both?

      • J. Preposterice

        I ship it.

        • StarburstLady


  • Carly Clement

    those shoes alone make the outfit…. Absolutely amazing!!!! FLAWLESS

    • Denise Alden

      I was just going to say that this woman OWNS flawless, doesn’t she?

      • Carly Clement

        she really is… i mean look at that necklace! amazing and her make up is perfect!!

  • lundibleu

    I’d love to see her try something completely different once or twice, just to see it, but she looks brilliant here.

  • Annistella

    Yes, happily scrolling until I hit the pants and then I had to scratch the deck to understand what happened. A little too much s-t-r-e-t-c-h for Chanel darling.

    • FridaStaire

      Yes, I think there’s a rule for leggings-as-pants – the jacket must cover the bum, even if it’s a very nice bum.

      • tereliz

        I’ll give her a pass since they look like a ponte knit pant, not a true legging.

  • Yoshio

    That’s a butt ugly necklace – looks like futuristic head phones at best

    • demidaemon

      I kind of love it, actually.

      • Kent Roby

        I agree with both of you; I love it because it’s kind of ridiculously butt ugly!

    • Sarah

      Two round balls do not make me think of headphones. I must be of a raunchier mind.

      • Angela

        My mind is at your level apparently because my first thought was that she is wearing a pair of balls around her neck.

        • Patricia Groves Dobrowski

          The fact that it’s a pearl necklace besides does nothing to wipe that image from my mind.

          • Kent Roby

            When a person has two balls on their chest, they are likely to end up with a “pearl necklace”, so this is sort of a two-for-one!

          • Alloy Jane

            Naughty naughty! I thought of them as pearls but my brain didn’t go to “those kind” of pearls.

      • Yoshio

        Well, I did say “at best” – your thought would be “at worst” I suspect. lol!

      • SugarSnap108

        My first thought was, she’s wearing a testiclace.

      • A certain South Park episode comes to mind, regarding the necklace here.

      • Wendi126

        My immediate thought what a lovely unicorn testicle necklace

        • Alloy Jane

          Magical unicorn mayonnaise!

    • MartyBellerMask

      I thought headphones too, and I kind of think that is the point? It’s pretty cool, and she can get away with it. 🙂

    • Boulderista

      I thought it was a pair of goggles at first glance … fugly goggles

  • demidaemon


  • Sly

    Isn’t she wearing a tightly fitted pair of pants, or am I reading that sentence wrong?

    • Sarah


      • Sly

        Ahhh. Thank you!

  • ampg

    As I was scrolling through the pics I was wondering if you guys were going to take her to task for always doing minor variations on the same look. 🙂 I agree that she looks great, regardless.

  • Danielle

    I even love the giant pearl chesticles.

    • Sarah

      I don’t like those very much, as an item, although I don’t really mind them here. I DO think that cube/pearl ring is killer, tho.

      • Kitten Mittons

        That RING!

      • ankali

        I need that ring in my life.

    • BLauD

      chesticles! Thank you! That is just the word that I could not bring to mind upon seeing those.

    • leneamo

      With any other outfit on any other person, I’d be against the necklace. But here it’s so beyond perfect because the pearls seem to evoke a bowtie- completing the tux look.

  • Truthiness2U

    She wear what makes her feel beautiful, and comfortable. If it’s a narrow realm for her? It’s a narrow realm for her. I personally think it works, and part of that is her working it, because she feels comfortable. Plus, as someone who isn’t too thrilled with dresses/skirts anymore, I feel her.

    • melisaurus

      She always looks great because she is comfortable, sleek, and fitted – not every woman can pull that off. They make her instantly recognizable and a little quirky, which is important to her image.

  • teensmom99

    Yay. The woman who won the Met Ball.

    • That cape was fabulous!

      • Kent Roby

        It was one of my fave looks, too, though I give the “win” to Karolina Kordova (who also won a couple of years ago with that bronze sequined dress and turbin).

  • smayer

    Leggings are not pants, Janelle. Go put some britches on.

    • ellisd123


  • Pterodactyl111

    Shit, I take back every bad thing I ever said about turtlenecks.

  • alyce1213

    Great look overall, but I wish the leggings were very slim, straight trousers. I’m just not a big fan of skintight pants.
    I love the blouse. Love.

  • jw_ny

    pearl necklace, pearl earrings, pearl broach, pearl ring…overload! ZZ Top would be in their glory…

    her face is just stunning…not particularly crazy about the outfit though…kinda getting a ’90s vibe from it, and the leggings are kinda hoochie.

    • Sarah

      Oof. You do realize what kind of pearl necklace ZZ Top is referring to, yes? Pearl overload is unpleasant imagery in that context.

      • jw_ny

        yes. 😉

        • Sarah

          Phew. Didn’t want to have to figure out a way to explain THAT in a G-rated manner.

          • formerlyAnon

            Some things we do not explain. We check i.d. for legal age, then we intone: google.

          • Sarah

            Heh. I just feel for people of age who are in the dark about stuff. I didn’t know what Steely Dan meant until I was 32, so I sympathize.

          • formerlyAnon

            I STILL don’t know what many double entendres and much naughty slang means. I had a sheltered childhood, and carried a strangely impenetrable shell of cheerful, idiotic, innocence about me through my youthful adventures, apparently. I mean, I went places and did stuff and knew people that would give any mother a heart attack, but, i dunno. Fortunately, I read *a lot,* and *everything* so I think I managed to only seem naive, not stupid, until finally the Internet arrived so I could interpret my kids’ world.

          • Sarah

            I also had this sheltered childhood, in which I was fairly oblivious to everything, “dirty” or not, and also the youngest of a family significantly older than me that I’m sure tried their damndest to keep any and all unpleasantness from my experience. I did, however, make a valiant effort to overturn that sheltering upon my majority. There’s not too much I don’t know at this point. And a lot of stuff I wish I could forget. But, them’s the breaks of adulthood. I also wish I could forget things like ALL THE LYRICS to every song I’ve ever heard, and the plot to every episode of Brady Bunch but that stuff’s in my head, now, so nothin’ I can do about it.

          • zenobar

            Hello, fellow song lyric/useless ephemera memorization savant here. I also specialize in random, back-of-the-library shelves childrens’ books, and pretty much all of the 1937 edition of Emily Post’s “Etiquette”, which I voraciously read from cover to cover at age 10. My family had no idea how I’d picked up so much knowledge on how to serve tomato aspic at a formal dinner party.

            And yet, I can’t retain anything involving math.

          • Sarah

            Math? What’s that? Numbers and stuff? I can’t even remember the four digit security code to turn off the alarm at my work, where I go EVERY DAY.

          • formerlyAnon

            That kind of memory is such a weird concept for me. My memory is like a series of very clear, detailed, but isolated vignettes. There is far, far, more I don’t recall than I do. Things like quotations, lyrics, & facts may or may not float to the surface if it’s not something I use regularly. Since it’s always been like this, I can’t even blame drugs. (And for various reasons, my history there is far too mild and intermittent to blame for anything.)

          • Sarah

            Maybe that’s why I spent so much time imbibing and smoking and dropping things. Misguided ephemera control efforts.

          • zenobar

            I’m trying to control the ephemera as we speak. Cheers!

          • Kent Roby

            I didn’t really get that double entendre until Samatha spoke of it on Sex and The City.

          • AnaRoW

            You mean they’re not just some words pulled from a dictionary and thrown together?

            I didn’t know what Pearl Jam meant until I heard Andy Botwin use it in explaining masturbation to Shane. And I’m probably the only person who’s never learned the English translation of the words from “Lady Marmalade”.

          • kimmeister

            Oh crap, I’m 34 and only just now did I even find out it’s a double entendre.

          • Sarah

            I was okay about not knowing. I really, really dig Steely Dan, and did since I was a kid. I used to have to defend my Aja album to kids who were all about Whitney Houston and NKOTB and if I had known their name meant something I would have considered scandalous, I may not have bothered.

  • Griffinqueen

    Tremendous throat balls you got there, Janelle.

  • bitchybitchybitchy

    Okay, Ms. Pinto, this is how you do it. Love the jacket.

  • e jerry powell

    I ain’t mad. I might have picked a not-so-high collar, but the jewelry makes me not want to complain.

  • BLauD

    Maybe she thought if she could get away with leggings at the Met Gala, she can surely do it for Chanel.

  • Alfred Cox

    Flawless. This is one of my favorites look of this year, by far. Janelle is truly in a class of her own with her personal style and music. Nobody does it better.

    BUT. She desperately needs to stop this tuxedo and black and white motif she returns to again and again and switch it up.

    For those who don’t watch BET, on last years edition of “Black Girls Rock”, Janelle mentioned in her acceptance speech that she wears black and white and usually a tuxedo because of her parents, who were a janitor and teacher when she was growing up. Its to remind her of where she came from and what her parents did for her to succeed.

    I have nothing but love for that. BUT, when the looks become just BLACK and WHITE over and over again, somethings gotta give.

    Again: Gorgeous. But she needs to switch it up.

    • Susan Velazquez

      She wears gowns once in awhile but yeah, she needs to switch it up. I’d love if she ever showed up in Cindi Mayweather drag. Afrofuturistic electric lady, please!

      • Alfred Cox


        • Susan Velazquez

          She switches it up in her music vids, I don’t know why she doesn’t in her public appearances.

  • decormaven

    Kicking it! She looks great.

  • eight_of_nine

    For those who say she should switch things up, here’s a quote from Janelle on the matter: “My mom and dad wore uniforms, whether they were janitors or post-office employees. They worked hard to make sure we had clothes on our backs and food in our mouths. I never, ever want to forget them, so I always wear my uniform—a jacket and pants in black-and-white—to pay homage to them and to remind myself I have work to do.”

    • Mismarker

      I was going to post this quote, too. Glad I scrolled to see if someone beat me to it! Love her.

    • RectPropagation

      I don’t understand people insisting that she has to break from what she wears when we all know why she wears it. If she wants to honor her parents then good for her.

  • beebee10

    Gorgeous and super-star! I agree she’s coloring inside her self-imposed style lines and this works.

  • formerlyAnon

    Love her style. Agree on trousers being better.

  • Her smile is the cutest stinkin’ thing. I love her look, and for now it works with her android artistic motif.

    • EveEve

      I want to know how to get my teeth that dazzling white.

  • MilaXX

    On anyone else I would hate that she rarely varies from black and white, but she does it so well I can’t complain. Love huh!

  • Bernadette

    I am dying over that choker/necklace!

  • Hetha Innis

    Leggings? NO. Make it stop.

  • JP

    I lust for that jacket. And those shoes.

  • WaterGhost

    She looks silly. Far too silly. Silly riding instructor, or silly dominatrix, or silly dominatrix dressed as a riding instructor. Maybe even vice versa.
    On the other hand, although she seems to be wearing a lot of foundation, her skin looks great.

  • ktr33

    This just looks like 80s Janet Jackson (no disrespect to Miss Jackson, btw!), very dated. her face is stunning in the last pic, and I do like the shoes.

  • KendraMR

    Absolutely stunning. I just adore her.

  • Chartreusite

    She is so fabulous it hurts.

  • SewingSiren

    Styled it better than Karl.

  • Haley Buchanan

    I am digging the choker. I’m not sure anyone else could even pull it off, let alone rock it the way Janelle does!

  • gitchygitchymama

    pearl testiculace!

    • Pennymac

      So glad I’m not the only BK that thought this. Although I was going to use a somewhat cruder euphemism.

  • littlevase

    She is wearing a brooch! I LOVE brooches. I hope they make a comeback.

    • Constant Reader

      I was thinking the same thing! And I have a nice selection of vintage costume brooches (they were my grandma’s) that I’m ready to deploy.

      • Gatto Nero

        Don’t wait for the comeback. Just wear them!

        • Kitten Mittons

          Yes, I wear brooches all the time! Some were my grandmothers’, and I love to show them off.

        • Constant Reader

          You make an excellent point!

  • Fabulous. While she’s always been stylish, she’s been stepping up her game as of late.

  • E.Nelson

    Haters to the left. She is shutting it down.

  • Mothra

    I think she looks absolutely fabulous. Are the criticisms about the yoga like pants?

  • gefeylich

    Yeah, enough with the leggings. You’re right – she should have worn well-tailored trousers.

  • Gatto Nero

    She is gorgeous (love the styling), but I so wish she had worn pants instead of those legging-like things.

  • Miss wks

    Everybody wants to be her and do her….

  • Milos Mom

    I really do believe in the idea of a fashion icon having a “uniform”. And her uniform is one of my top 3. I sig all the details of this except the leggings which cheapen the look and the black clashes with the black of the velvet shoe. Yes… that small detail is a big deal to the eye. Did she spill wine on the white pants? Did she feel like showing off her curves after what must have been a heavy cape at the Met Gala? You are fierce and usually work it Janelle, so I will forgive you this time.

  • Judih1

    I like her signature style, just wished she would change up her hairstyle sometime

  • Noah

    I’m totally okay with the leggings/pants on her because she has the legs to pull them off. Hot damn.

  • quiltrx

    I absolutely love the jacket. I do wish she would branch out from her ‘standard’ outfit, though. I bet jaws would drop if she showed up in a different hairstyle and a sexy gown.

  • Her Dance Apocalyptic video had her in a more rocker chic vibe I wish she’d explore more. Also, she should rock the James Brown cape more because she deserves it.

  • Mary Elizabeth Poytinger Baume

    God shes lovely

  • P M

    I do agree on the pants. This ventures into chorus line territory. But that jacket and the rest of the look just *sing*.

  • I love her look, but I’d really prefer it if she wasn’t wearing leggings.

  • Shoes…I want to know about the shoes!

  • CMSmith1848

    I thought this was Janet. Ms. Jackson if you’re nasty.

    • ktr33

      I said likewise earlier in the thread. Very 80s Janet.

  • Tee

    The necklace is a bit ben wa-ish. A good look overall and the shoes are fab.

  • MoHub

    Janelle Monae is becoming someone to be reckoned with. Love the jacket in particular.

  • PeggyOC

    This woman is the very definition of style. She knows what she likes, and wears what she chooses. She wears designers, but she wears them her own way.

  • ojosazules

    I’d prefer real pants, and the ball gag necklace is a bit much for me, but she looks amazing.

  • Alyssa

    I love her, but leggings are not pants. That jacket is amazing.

    • wisdomy

      Yep. With all the love in the world, not even for Janelle are leggings acceptable as pants.

  • YoungSally

    I’m wondering if these leggings are okay in the local culture. I realize Dubai is pretty liberal vis a vis SA, but I was under the impression that it is best to err on the side of conservatism

  • James

    What are those leggings? Is she going riding? I’m not digging this one, apart from the jacket alone.

  • Michelle Amanda Cantave

    Is it bad that one of my first thoughts was “is that the ring from Clash of the Titans?”

  • cocohall

    Is she wearing tanning bed goggles around her neck as a piece of jewelry? I’m so confused by whatever that thing is at her throat. Otherwise, very signature JM, and hey if Dolly Parton can have a signature look for 40+ years, why not other talented lady singers?

  • Melanie

    Does she ever wear any other style though? Maybe she should call Lupita.

  • Jecca2244

    is she wearing leggings to a Chanel show??

  • KinoEye

    LIFE given, and LIFE received. Thank you, Janelle, for that much-needed shot of fierceness.

  • elemspbee

    vs. leggings? agreed.
    barely scrolled down because her face!!! stunning.

  • kimmeister

    Overall, kudos, but lots of quibbles:
    1) Too many pearls. I dislike the necklace and the brooch is almost lost against the busy backdrop of lace, so I’d have just kept the awesome ring. The demure earrings are acceptable.
    2) As amazing as her legs are, those aren’t the right pants for the look.
    3) The shoes are cool too, but I don’t think they go with this look.

  • Imasewsure

    Agreed on the pants but she is fierce. I don’t mind a signature look as long as it is consistently awesome

  • jwrdwr

    She looks like a backup singer for Prince, circa Purple Rain.

  • anonylind

    Leggings are not pants, regardless of how fashionable the wearer.

  • I don’t like the leggings either; tight pants better. Otherwise, I like this. On the other hand, I can’t help it, but every time I see a ladystar in hair like that, Chris Tucker in The Fifth Element pops into my head.

  • Renaissance_Man_ATL


  • This is the only time I’ve seen that Chanel necklace worn well.

  • JynxTheCat

    pearls as bow tie kinda brilliant – but this is now a uniform.