When I was in middle school, Mariah Carey had just come upon the scene (it was the early '90s). Between the singer's stellar vocals and stunning looks, I was hooked. I remember vividly watching the curly-haired beauty singing "Someday" and wanting a gold heart pendant that sat at the base of my throat just like Carey's. Her casual style of blue jeans and fitted cropped sweaters showed off her lean, yet curvy figure and her luminous skin barely needed makeup.
Carey went on to marry Sony head honcho Tommy Mottola in 1993 in a fairy-tale wedding that brought to mind the royal nuptials of Princess Diana and Prince Charles, and she continued to pump out hits like "Vision of Love" and "Fantasy." Somewhere along the line, I grew out of her sweet love songs and graduated to college favorites like "The Dave Matthews Band."
Then the '00s happened, and Carey's trajectory went awry. Some time after her divorce from Mottola and the release of her rags-to-riches film "Glitter" in 2001, the superstar suffered a breakdown for which she entered the hospital for severe exhaustion (who can forget that disastrous MTV "Cribs" video where she stripped and entered the bathtub in front of the cameras?) During that time period Carey's sartorial style suffered as well. The "One Sweet Day" singer's look went from America's sweetheart to short, tight and overly revealing. She became known for her ample cleavage, bare midriff and teeny skirts. In videos like "Loverboy" we saw the pop diva wearing skin-tight leather, and of course, we have Carey to thank for the cut-off waistband that she debuted in the music video for "Heartbreaker."
Thankfully, her star is on the rise again. With hit albums like "The Emancipation Of Mimi," her breakout role in the 2009 film "Precious" and her marriage to to Nick Cannon, the vocal powerhouse is back on top. As the mother of twins Morrocan and Monroe and the newly appointed judge on "American Idol," Carey has a chance to reinvent her style in a very public arena. We are crossing our fingers that she will take a style cue from former "American Idol" judge Jennifer Lopez and choose elegant, fashion-forward looks from designers like Michael Kors and Victoria Beckham. We'd love nothing more than to see her natural beauty shine (bring back those curls!) in minimal makeup and ladylike ensembles. Mariah Carey is a superstar and a proven champion in the music industry, no doubt. But can she be a style icon as well? That much remains to be seen.