Sometimes, a generational talent comes about, and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them. Little Simz is a case in point example. The rapper and actor excels at everything she does, and has done from a young age, as this video of her spitting bars aged 11 on 1XTRA shows.
One thing about Little Simz is that she’s always had a distinctive style. Her style has matched her development and evolution as an artist and as an actor; but first, as an outsider of the scene dominated by male voices. As she became established in, and listened to by the world, Simz’s outward fashion explored femininity and power in her own way.
Fresh off her NO THANK YOU tour, she now wears a white shirt and black tie, oversized and with cargo trousers. Once declaring herself “a boss in a f*cking dress,” she is now simply the boss.
Looking at this shoot from 2015, Simz is styled in a t-shirt, jeans ripped at the kneecaps, and trainers. It’s an everyday ‘fit, that expresses independence as well as her decisions to release music independently, and not sign to any of the major labels pursuing her at the time.
In her landmark live guest verse on Gorillaz’s ‘Clint Eastwood’ in Margate, where she outshined Kano’s verse with a diss to her former teacher, she wore a French work jacket and cropped cream trousers. She fit in seamlessly with the Gorillaz aesthetic, but was wearing the brightest colours on stage. Where Gorillaz are an animated band, Simz became the focal point, and her choice of simultaneously understated and flamboyant clothing contributed to the standout performance of the star-studded night.
Simz has always been well-dressed. Ashley ‘Dotty’ Charles in Grazia commented that “She is no stranger to best-dressed lists, with a fluid fashion sense that is as at home in Bottega Veneta and tailored Gucci as it is in loose fit tracksuits.” Her approach to style is expressionist; it is an extension of how she’s feeling, and who she is. She uses fashion as another string to her bow, elevating her music and acting to a different plain.
When winning Best New Artist at the BRIT Awards in 2022, Simz appeared in a double-breasted suit, emphasising control and authority as she gave a pertinent call-to-action speech about independent artists within the music industry. She appeared tall and assertive, fashion adding further weight to her economical and profound words.
Simz is very consciously clothed, and has addressed that she has previously been given the advice “sex sells”. In an interview with Glamour, she stated that “Just because I keep my clothes on does not mean I’m not a sexual person, or that I don’t have sexual energy. How I choose to, and am comfortable presenting myself, is up to me.” Media has often referred to Little Simz as a female rapper, or as amazing “for a woman,” but she is simply a generational talent regardless of gender.
Fast forward to 2023, and Simz’s styling has changed, but remarkably maintained its original essence. Signing copies of her cover for Dazed in September 2023, she wears a denim jacket, appearing as warm and casual as ever. But when she takes to the stage, she asserts control through her clothing, upping the theatre of the headline show.
The best style icons know exactly what to wear, and when to wear it. In 2023, Little Simz does this to perfection.