Happy birthday, mom.

Every morning, when choosing my outfit for that day, I try to imagine Rihanna wearing whatever I’ve chosen. If I can’t, back in the closet it goes.

If I can, however, I will wear those clothes. I will wear them and I will walk around campus and I will feel like I matter more than anyone else because I am Rihanna, dammit.

She may be turning 29 Monday, but Rihanna has been making and breaking all of fashion’s most ubiquitous rules since her debut on pop’s world stage in 2005. She could wear a paper bag and it would be art. From epitomizing every clothing trend of the early 2000s to reminding us that women have nipples, you, me and Anna Wintour have badgalriri to thank for bringing bravery to the forefront of 21st century fashion.

She may be the baddest bitch in the Western Hemisphere (fact-checked), but Rihanna is proof that anyone with guts can become a fashion icon in their respective community. Long since passed are the days of “I could never pull that off” — where would our sexy pop goddess be if she’d relented to self-doubt? Not rocking that 15 thousand-dollar Saint Laurent heart cape, that’s for sure.

The Barbadian beauty queen carries indisputable clout in the world of fashion. She is currently the Creative Director of her own high-end line with Puma alongside Design Director Melissa Battifarano. Yet more transcendent than the frilly athleisure of Fenty x Puma is Rihanna’s everyday street style. A Gucci tracksuit here, a Balenciaga stole there. The woman can do no wrong; if she does, the rules will just change and the fashion industry will be on its merry way.

Rihanna is my fashion mother. If she won’t wear it, neither will I. Here’s to 29, badgalriri. Thank you for the boundary-breaking, the beauty and the courage. Be sure to pour it up tonight.

 

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