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Style Spotlight: Mariah Carey

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Style Spotlight: Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey at her 2012 vow renewal ceremony with Nick Cannon.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Style Spotlight: Mariah Carey:

Diva. You cannot start a Mariah Carey piece without first mentioning this word. It's tossed around lightly, but the reality is unless you’ve won 17 World Music Awards, have a five octave vocal range and starred in a heavily criticized film only to bravely bounce back from a meltdown a few years later, you can only dream to hold the title. Her big break into the spotlight with her second studio album in 1991, Emotions, spun into a rollercoaster music career for over two decades. With countless hits like "Hero," "One Sweet Day" and "We Belong Together" and a voice beyond imagination, Mariah a.k.a Mimi took the music world by storm. Yes, she had her unfortunate rough times (ahem, "Glitter!") but she always bounded back in every facet of her life from finding the love of her life, becoming a mommy to adorable twins and still reigning as holiday album songstress with her rendition of "All I Want for Christmas Is You," which is still topping to the charts to this day, even when sung with a Jimmy Fallon accompaniment (see evidence here). But it isn’t just music where Mariah has evolved. Her personal style is as creative as she is and ranges from urban to chic to glam and everything in-between. See how she never misses a beat, even with all the low and high notes, when it comes to fashion.

Red Carpet Style:

From her major musical debut in the late '90s to now, Mariah Carey was never shy (and still isn’t) about showing off her Jessica Rabbit curves or her twins -- and I don’t mean Dembabies Monroe and Moroccan. Yes, snug, cleavage bearing tanks tops, tight pants and lingerie disguised as dresses were style favorites for the popular crooner at music industry events and garnered her a fashion reputation for being daring and sexy. Don’t get it fashionably confused though -- when Mimi wants to be glam, she has no problem slipping into something slightly (very slightly) less sexy, like we saw at the 1993 American Music Awards when she wore a simple body hugging long black dress. This fashion moment ultimately led the way for more picture perfect red carpet moments, which includes a sultry vibrant red evening gown, a blue sequin short dress and a nude beaded dress at the 2012 BET Awards. But whatever you say, you can never tear her away from her love for plunging necklines or pushup tops. Never.

Street Style:

You know those celebrities who look completely different on and off the red carpet? Yep, well Mariah is definitely not one of them. Circa 1997, her fashion uniform while hitting the town and parties was usually a simple combo: a pair of tight pants and a bandeau top. During the same decade she also made body-con dresses famous (Forever 21 should be paying her royalties for reviving the style) and her no-frills, no-bling and no-prints attire was anything but simple when she strut her stuff or posed for the paparazzi -- folks who are always welcomed in moderation in Mariah’s world. If you fast-forward to the year 2000 and late, we see a more toned down diva who now adapts a basic signature style of a cropped leather jacket, non-mom jeans, a pair of boots and the occasional glam accessories like statement earrings and bejeweled bracelets. Fans of the alto singer know shoes were and always will be her first true love before Nick Cannon. Stilettos, wedges or peep toe pumps, you name it, she wears it, even if she is four months pregnant and wearing a red and white Santa dress while belting out holiday tunes for the President.

Hair and Makeup:

Rock what you got. That is basically the motto when it comes to Mariah’s hair. Never straying too far from her long honey brown color locks, the singer experimented more with different cuts and styles. Her tightly coiled curls, soft mermaid waves and her pin-straight blow-outs are among her best and most trusted looks and are usually mimicked by other celebrities alike who also wish to have her full-bodied mane (I’m looking at you Jennifer Lopez). To match her light colored hair, her makeup is always perfectly neutral, but never bland or caked on. Tinted bronzers and light pink or red lipstick were a complimenting duo to show off her high cheekbones and mega-watt smile. The odd time we also get a chance to see her vamp it up, a la Kristen Stewart, and get dramatic with deep black mascara and bold eyebrows, however this happens rarely since Mariah knows she’s dramatic enough (in a good way) with or without makeup.

Notable Fashion Moment:

Zeroing on only one of Mariah’s looks is like asking which of her songs is your favorite. Yet, two fashion style moments come to mind in tie for first place. Her royal blue Valentino gown she wore at the 2010 Academy Awards comes first for so many obvious reasons. From the flowing material to the one shoulder strap to the elegant draping effect, the dress was a classy and appropriate choice for the "Precious" star. In second place is the accidental -- insert air quotes -- double take fashion slip-up where both she and fellow music idol, Whitney Houston, both showed up in the same chocolate brown gown with long train at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards. To this day we don’t know if it was planned, but we do know one thing: Seeing the two together on stage in the same dress was a double diva fashion moment to remember.

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