Before the ever-changing looks of Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian, there was the Queen of the ever-evolving wardrobe change: Madonna.

No one understood the power and influence of changing one’s style and reinvention better than the Material Girl.

The mega-star entertainer, who celebrated her 57th birthday this month (Aug. 16th) and is about to embark on yet another world tour kicking off in Montreal in September, continues to captivate, enthralled, entertain and fascinate us – not just with her music but also her savvy fashion sense.

When she broke onto the scene in the early 1980s, her style consisted of thrift-shop finds – a pile-it-all on mentality that included ample amounts of lace, from bustiers to gloves to cropped leggings, even bits of it tied in her hair. Her arms were stacked with black rubber bracelets, she wore several crucifixes, her hair was voluminously teased and crimped and there was always a dangerous looking dark mole above her lip. It was a look quickly adopted by teenage girls everywhere.

But the bigger impact she had with this look went beyond the teen market: she single-handedly took lingerie out of the boudoir. It became daring, sexy and acceptable to wear a lace bustier or to show off your lace bra under a sheer top while out on a night on the town.

As her career accelerated and she became a global phenom, gone was the grit and thrift-shop fashions, and she embraced designer wares. But there were always dollops of sexiness. One of her earliest reinventions was when she turned herself into a platinum blond bombshell à la Marilyn Monroe.

She became a one-woman fashion force, not just sparking trends but also introducing inner-circle designers to a wider audience, like avant garde French designer Jean Paul Gaultier who did several costumes – including the infamous cone bras – for her Blond Ambition tour.

Her clothing choices also signalled various stages of her life. Married to British director Guy Ritchie and living with her children in the English countryside, her wardrobe consisted of tweeds and floral print dresses. At this stage in life, she was also trying her hand at writing a series of children’s picture books.

But the provocateur also on occasion used her attire to raise awareness on certain issues, as she did at the GLAAD Media Awards in 2013, where she wore a Boy Scout’s uniform to criticize the organization’s ban on gays.

But as the artist’s wardrobe choices in her 50s continues to ignite controversy – the latest being that she should be dressing her age – she wore a Spanish matador looking ensemble to the Grammy’s this year. The outfit consisted of corset, fishnets, thigh-high boots and short skirt.

Perhaps, she knew the critics would be out for her wardrobe choice that night so she saved a special moment for them. After posing on the red carpet, as she walked away from the flashing cameras, she flipped the back of her skirt, showing off, instead of a pair of granny panties, a sporty black jock strap that held her bare and ample 50-something-year old cheeks.

It was the equivalent of flipping the finger at society and clearly said – like she always did – it’s my body, it’s glorious and I’ll wear what I want.

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