What I Learned About Style From Katy Perry's "This Is How We Do"

Katy Perry could easily have a second career as YouTube beauty vlogger.

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Aug 10 2014, 8:42pm

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Katy Perry, it's that pop—the music, theatrics, colors and costumes—never goes out of style, no matter how cheesy it might be. I mean, Britney Spears once danced on a moon set that looked like a high school theatre production while wearing a red spandex bodysuit—and that’s now an iconic moment. If you want to go back even further, just look at the Mother Hen of pop Madonna, who used to wear tulle, pearls, lace, fingerless mini gloves. But we forgive these aesthetic missteps because the music resonates. At some point in everyone’s life, no matter how their tastes evolve over time, they will sing a pop song into a hairbrush in front of their bedroom mirror and it will make them feel GOOD. Because that’s what good pop music does: it makes you feel like candy floss on the inside.

Katy Perry might be the last pop star of that vein standing—her number one aim is to make us feel like we’re singing that song into the mirror at all times. Her might politics be weak, and she clearly has a understanding what constitutes cultral appropriation, but if you can see past that, Katy Perry, at heart, is the ultimate entertainer.

Her latest video for “How We Do” (a more grown up “Last Friday Night”) is testament to that—it’s a whole lot of flouncy fun with not a whole lot of hidden meaning (although the Internet police are somehow taking offence to it), other than a few very obvious innuendos about Katy’s taco.


IF YOU CAN’T HAVE CHANEL, HAVE FAKE CHANEL

As Katy sings “Chanel this, Chanel that” and points at the bags and lipsticks floating around her, she makes it clear that even though they’re not Chanel, you’re supposed to think they are. Ergo, if you can’t have Chanel, have fake Chanel.


A FLAPPER BOB NEVER GOES OUT OF STYLE

Katy has a way of making every wig look good. Here, while bathing with what I imagine to be not pearls but styrofoam balls, she brings back the flapper bob to maximum effect.


NOVELTY SPORTS OUTFITS ARE WHAT SEX DREAMS ARE MADE OF

At one point in the video Katy suggestively touches herself with a ping-pong bat. Of all the sexual sports items one could use to be sexy, I never thought a ping-pong bat could have such effect. I generally put ping-pong up there with chess and debating i.e. it’s not a real sport, but Katy, in a strange vintage half-moo-moo-half-school-girl retro ensemble manages to look like some kind of bizarre sex dream that’s PG enough for pop but racy enough that I’m wondering if I could pull off a similar look in the bedroom.


PINK PVC FOREVER

This is Katy’s best look by far. I hereby motion for all women to immediately go out and purchase a perfectly blush colored PVC skater skirt. That is a sentence I never pictured myself writing.


PUT A BIRD ON IT

Katy’s got a knack for tiny tight dresses with pictures of weird crap on them. She’s working those two cans, and the toucans on them. So when in doubt: put a bird on it.


YOU WEAR WHAT YOU EAT

Food has always been a very big part of Katy’s persona. She’s a woman who makes pizza look cute. And cuter still when she’s wearing it on her bathing suit, fanning herself with a watermelon slice fan and peering over heart shaped sunglasses. Oh, and her earrings are pizza shaped too. I guess if you’re a feeder, this would be a great way to lure a mate.


SOLANGE KNOWLES IS EVERYONE’S STYLE ICON

The first thing I thought when I saw the matching but clashing, brightly colored get ups in this scene was Solange. Especially because the first dancer and Katy have high collars on theirs, which is one of Solange’s fashion calling cards. These outfits could be straight out of Solange’s wardrobe. Maybe Katy is running some kind of high fashion bling ring. Maybe Solange will kick her in the knees. Maybe. What do I know?


ANIMAL PRINT WILL NEVER DIE

One of my favorite writers, Caitlin Moran, says leopard print is a “neutral”. I am inclined to agree with her, although I’m going to take her leopard print and raise it one tiger print. In fact, all animal prints (as long as they’re just prints, sorry PETA?) are neutrals and should be worn and clashed with abandon, especially in super fun music videos that have lyrics like “Sucking really bad at Mariah Carey-oke” in them. Also did you notice that Katy’s dress here is an actual cartoon tiger? It might not be classy or chic but that look is ETERNAL.


WHEN IN DOUBT, SOMEBODY THAT I USED TO KNOW

Because “Somebody That I Used To Know” is now the universal phrase for “matching your body with your background,” that’s what this is. Katy does pop art to great effect, although I’m still not sold on bangs that are a different color to the rest of your hair.


CORNROWS LOOK EVEN BETTER IN GREEN

Everyone has been wearing cornrows lately—Beyonce, Rita Ora, Kesha, Kim Kardashian, Alexander McQueen’s models—but Katy is taking the trend one step further with her slime green hair (and bleached brows to boot). If Katy wasn’t a mega pop star, she could easily have a career as a YouTube beauty celebrity.


FRAN FINE IS STILL FINE

I love everything about this Saint Laurent wrap dress with lips on it, dice earrings and big hair. It’s so the flashy girl from flushing.


A SENSE OF HUMOR IS THE BEST ACCESSORY!

Katy Perry pulls all the dumb shit she does off because she’s got a sense of humor about herself. At no point are dancing cartoon foods, her 60s housewife attire (above), the Pee Wee Herman mimicking male dancers meant to be taken particularly seriously. And that’s the point I’m trying to make about Katy Perry—she’s utterly ridiculous, in the best, most entertaining way possible. Psychoanalysis aside, Katy harks back to the days when pop music videos were senseless and fun, and “This Is How We Do” is nothing short of a romp for romping’s sake. Enjoy.

Kat George on the hunt for a pizza swimsuit. She's on Twitter - @kat_george.

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