The 90s were a wonderful period during which innovative fashions were emerging from all angles, often at the hands of artists. There were a couple of style slip ups, but we don’t need to focus on that. Rather, I’d prefer to look at icons like Toni Braxton of WE TV’s “Braxton Family Values” fame. JK, everyone knows Toni Braxton is a mega famous, Grammy-winning sensation whose career exploded in the 90s, providing the world with one of the most notable R&B repertoires in the game. But also, the reality show.
It was hard to pick which video to go through because she has so many modish classics. Who could forget the colonial-era pile of fabrics she wore as a dress in “Breathe Again,” or the white number with the side slit from “Un-Break My Heart?” Eventually, I decided to settle on “You’re Makin’ Me High” because there’s a literal elevator going up and down carrying hot men of all different backgrounds and styles. While I love to throw in the occasional R&B diva reference while helping friends dress, I really needed a little something for my male self too. So, let’s enter into a world of Braxton’s stylish teachings for both men and women.
TELL A STORY WITH YOUR FACE. AN ADULT STORY.
In this case, Braxton is using her piercing eyes and gentle smirk to embody the intro lyrics to the track: “I’ll always think of you / Inside of my private thoughts / I can imagine you / Touching my private parts.” Greek poet Sappho would be turning in her grave to learn that she is not the only great female romantic in the game. Also, note Braxton’s soft pink makeup. With just one look, she summons future human Barbie doll/singer Ariana Grande with a face that says, “I’m pretty cute, but I’m looking to fuck.”
PHONES AND BEEPERS ARE NOT À LA MODE.
When this video came out, I was five years old. My main use of the phone was calling the same Beanie Baby store repeatedly in different unconvincing accents to see if they’d gotten in a new batch of Punchers the Lobster. Braxton and her gal pals, on the other hand, were waaaay over those basic forms of communication, thus developing weird, virus-looking method of messaging that randomly takes over your entire computer screen and doesn’t reveal the sender. It also mentions calling at the end, so I don’t really get why they didn’t do that in the first place. That being said, Braxton and friends were way ahead of the game on every level, so I’m pretty sure this was somehow cool and stylish.
When I walk around in my white latex bodysuit, I often get the feeling that I’m shamelessly blending in with everyone else wearing synthetic rubber. Braxton opened my eyes by opening her shirt, reminding me that a little bit of cleavage action and faint nipple outline can really set you apart from the crowd. The holiday season is approaching and it’s likely that you’re going to get some ugly clothing from a clueless relative. Rip it straight down the middle, my friends. When life gives you lemons, squirt a bit into a cup of vodka and drink it until you feel confident enough to turn that drab into something chesty and fab.
OR, FUCK THAT!
You could also just show up full on topless. Here we see the first of Braxton’s male guests, one of many who appear randomly in her elevator throughout the video, showing off his chiseled body. If you ever want to dabble in the world of role-play, (or, if you are a stripper *fingers crossed*), then a boxing uniform is the way to go. This stud’s robe dawns a bright yellow reminiscent of the cheese one could grate off his abs, and I’m loving it. The whole ensemble is very athletic chic, so Alexander Wang x H&M can suck on THAT with those boxer gloves.
BELLY SHIRTS WORK ON MEN, TOO.
Upon watching the video again, I’d have to conclude that Braxton and friends do not share the same ideology, as this guy lasts about four seconds in the elevator. It might be because he’s not showing the cleavage or full torso we already discussed. That being said, his outfit is still on point. First off, the belly shirt (which is actually a belly sweater) looks damn flattering on this guy’s toned stomach and even has a pretty rad color pallet, mixing varying hues of blue with a yellow stripe. Additionally, his carrying around an afro-pick really reflects his dedication to style and appearance.
BACK TO THE SHIRTLESS MEN
Then this guy comes. I’ve already used that really horrible cheese grating cliché about abs, so I’m going to let those be. For now. What’s really important here are the pants, which are a brighter pink than Snooki’s Juicy Couture fit. I used to shy away from wearing feminine colors in order to keep my really convincing, widespread reputation of being TOTALLY straight, but things changed when I saw this. If a random guy looking like the offspring of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and a flamingo can walk into Toni Braxton’s house, lift his shirt, and not get kicked out, then there’s hope.
HELLO PANT SUITS!
My dad wore a suit to work each day while my mom rocked the medical scrubs. It was a shock to my system to learn of “The Pant Suit,” an outfit with a ridiculously stupid name. Why don’t we just call it a suit by this point? Anyway, I learned that sometimes women dressed the way my dad did, and that they look totally boss doing so. For me, Braxton was a groundbreaker, teaching ladies how to be sexy smooth while ready to balance a check book or sell stock. You go, girl.
Mathias Rosenzweig is stepping up his suit game. He's on Twitter.
- music videos
- What I Learned About Style From
- aughts pop
- Toni Braxton