These Looks are Life!
When you talk about timeless style and looks, you have to give it up to black women who have graced covers of our favorite magazine covers over the years. From Naomi to Tyra Banks and more recently to women such as Yara Shahidi and Issa Rae, there are looks that kill that will last you years on end.
So how does someone determine what is timeless versus what is just another look? Your reaction of course! If you can look back on a magazine cover and say, “wow, this is still amazing,” then you have your answer.
Nonetheless, let's break down some of our favorites and pinpoint why they are so amazing!
Nia Long in the 2000s
Who doesn’t love a clean-cut? And of course, who doesn’t love Nia Long?
Our 90’s diva turned 2000’s inspiration was always known for her multiple roles in Soul Food, the Best Man, and Love Jones but, she was also known for keeping a sharp and clean cut that allowed her to go from pixie to a shoulder-length bob whenever she pleased.
One magazine cover that we should all remember is her Essence cover with the tagline, “make power moves.” This is not only fitting because of Nia’s superstar status but because she came with the pose, hair, and face to match. In so many words, Nia is unmatchable across many areas including the arena of the slay.
Not only is her plunging neckline a statement, but so is her hair! The elongated bob complete with loose, layered waves was not just a statement when this issue came out but is also a statement today as many people continue to rock this style with ease.
Seriously, if you smize your eyes and smirk just right, you can channel your inner Nia.
Kerry Washington Covers Essence
As if slaying as Olivia Pope is not enough, Kerry Washington has always been our go-to when it comes down to classic looks with a modern flair.
Now, of course, she is not the first person to cover Essence in this manner, but it is something about the look she gives while effortlessly poised.
On the special edition issue of Essence’s Woke 100 issue, we fall into not only the look but her eyes as she draws you in to let you know that she has arrived with a presence. Kerry and her glam squad shut down the game when they went with a simple low bun with a middle part.
The key here? Less is more, and you can still command a room, or cover, with a look in your eyes and the confidence to match.
Yara Shahidi & Seventeen Black Girl Magic
Like many so many of us, when we were younger, we could not fathom the thought of not having the latest issue of Seventeen.
The styles were inspirational, the looks were always up to date, and that horoscope section was always the easiest to find in the back of the magazine but, something that we did not always have was diversity.
It was rare that you saw a young black girl grace the cover of Seventeen with her magic and when black girls like Yara Shahidi began, we were intrigued. Specifically, there is a cover with Yara giving us her cheekbone filled side profile, wingtip eyeliner, and half braided fro to inspire us for our twist next twist out style.
The best thing about this cover is that the look on this cover encompasses what it is like to be young and black and free as the younger generation. To merely say, Yara hit this cover with looks to kill and a way to make you remember her.
We Love an Awkward Black Girl Named Issa Rae
In case you missed it, the month of September in 2018 is explicitly for black girl magic. There were so many new covers that it is just too hard to keep up! Luckily for us, we honed in our favorites to give us a little fall inspiration.
If you were a young black girl, there was a strong chance that your mother had a few copies of Ebony magazine placed somewhere in the house. The covers were grand, appealing, mesmerizing, and just plain amazing to hold and look at! In 2018, this is still true as our favorite awkward black girl, Issa Rae graced the September 2018 issue of the iconic magazine.
Fashion-wise, the September issue is the turning point of not only the season but the latest trends that will flood our timelines for the next several months to come. This cover of Ebony was no different as Issa popped out wearing a fully layered tulle gown with a tapered suit style bodice and finished with a natural braided crown to compliment her queen status.
Regal and fashionable is an understatement, but styled to the heavens is a way to describe it best. Finish the look with a face that means business and you have the recipe for an iconic cover.
Rihanna Blesses Us with a VOGUE Cover
When can Rihanna do any wrong? As much as you try to count the ways, you honestly cannot. Every look that she creates is the original recipe for a slay, so it is best that you sit back and take notes from the fashion queen.
Even though we do not see any of her hair on this September 2018 issue of VOGUE, we do see her gracefully wearing a flower headpiece that makes us forget about hair altogether. It is not only the fact that Rihanna can wear a bed of flowers but it the fact that this mimics an updo.
Of course, we get that classic Rih gaze as her eyes force you into a stupor but it is hard to look away when she looks like royalty. The best part about this look? Recreating for everyday wear is easy!
Grab a bunch of your favorite flowers and band them together on a floral wire with floral tape and create your own version!
Serena Williams Graces the New Yorker
We know one thing is sure and that is the fact that this woman gives face! Specifically, the multi-talented athlete and mommy completely took over the cover of the New Yorker for a cover shoot that left jaws dropping to the floor.
Who would have known that a side part with an extended ponytail could look so good? No one did until Serena reminded us that less is more and being yourself will take you where you need to be! This look, however, is essential for many reasons, including the fact that you do not always have to be “beat to the heavens,” to kill the cover of a magazine.
One thing that Serena has always done is to remind us that you can be beautiful just the way that you are by being comfortable in your skin. Sometimes, it does not take “doing the most” to get the most out of your current situation!
Sometimes, all it takes is a sleek pony, a fitted dress that makes you feel your best and the most powerful pose that you can give.
The Naomi Campbell for W
What do you call an icon living? Naomi Campbell of course!
If the fountain of youth were a real thing, we would probably find it somewhere near Naomi. We could not complete a list of looks we loved by black women on top magazine covers without mentioning this extraordinary supermodel.
Of course, Naomi has been slaying the game longer than many of us have been alive, but she does it with ease and peace of mind. Specifically, Naomi has a cover story with W magazine where her wavy inches are blowing effortlessly atop of a crisp white deep v-neck gown.
As if she cannot get any better, her flawless skin and bold eyes make you believe that this magazine cover would have otherwise been incomplete without her. Would you recreate this iconic look?
Black Women are Always Winning!
To say that black women are always winning is an understatement but, everyone would not get that sentiment.
Gracing the covers of these magazines is more than looking good and having fun. But it is a way for black women to open doors for more opportunities for those aspiring to be like us.
I think that I can speak for black women when I say that there is no way that we got a chance to list all of the fantastic covers; however, that is what makes us so unique! It is so difficult to restrict the number of magazine covers into a few, but knowing that gives us more chances to slay even more covers in the near future.
Did you have a favorite? We are pretty sure that you did! If so, try executing some of these looks for yourself, you may be surprised at the outcome, and you may even stumble upon a new look for yourself.