Miley Cyrus is the fashion chameleon of our age and I’ve got the receipts to prove it

Images via Pinterest and @mileycyrus
Words by Anthony Graetz

Life’s a climb (of reinventing yourself).

Picture this – the year is 2012 and I’m in high school, gossiping with my group of friends in the school library. Life’s good. 

All of a sudden, one of my friend gasps in horror. Our eyes dart to her, hearts beating fast. She slowly turns her iPhone 3GS around and before us, is a selfie of Miley Cyrus, showcasing her freshly shaved platinum blonde pixie-cut. We all gasped – maybe someone screamed.  

It was like witnessing a car crash – I so desperately wanted to look away but I couldn’t. I was in shock, we all were. Quicker than we could say, “Sweet niblets!”, the essence of our childhood was gone. 

Like all pivotal moments in history, it’s safe to say we all remember where we were and what we were doing that bittersweet day. 

Our little Hannah Montana was all grown up, and strangely resembling Draco Malfoy? Within seconds, images flooded social media after the cut, pairing the two together. Was this the birthplace of memes? 

Over the years, Miley’s had her ups and downs but through it all, she’s reinvented herself over and over again. 

Despite the backlash from her recent comments around LGBTQ+ sexuality (and the Twitterstorm that followed) she is, and will forever be, the fashion chameleon of the 2000s. 

Here at Fashion Journal, we love a good style evolution, so venture with me as I take you through Miley’s epic timeline over the years.

2006 – The Hannah Montana era

Looking back, the entire Disney franchise screamed of everything fashion-immoral in the naughties.

While dolled up as Hannah, Miley was the epiphany of 00’s trash, sorry to say. Her colour co-ordinated outfits consisted heavily of sequins, gemstones, cowboy boots, oversized belts, beady accessories and more. 

2008 – The girl next door era

Miley evolved from teeny-boppy singer to the girl next door with the release of her legendary single, ‘Party in the USA’.

The singer opts for cute Western outfits which feature heavily feature hot pants and cut out denim. Miley starts entering a darker wardrobe phase with leather detailing, totally complimenting her caramel-highlighted loose curls. She also starts experimenting with darker eyeliner, which was the gateway drug to her next phase.  

2010 – The rebellion era

When ‘Can’t be Tamed’ was released, Miley’s The Last Song romance with Liam Hemsworth had just gone IRL and she manifested this onscreen good-girl-gone-bad persona in more ways than one. 

The singer claims she was shedding the Disney girl image that dogged her from her childhood, and she needed a new direction. And thus, this BDSM, leather-heavy vibe was born from the ashes of her pop princess self.

Our queen dyed her hair a warm chestnut-red which was accompanied by dark and dramatic eye makeup. She also had a major thing for feathers and fish tights but I mean, who doesn’t?

2011 – The glamour era

Love, love, love this era of Miley! It seemed as though the awards ceremonies were never-ending as our girl graced red carpet after red carpet, which came with its swathes of designer gowns. The sophistication was beginning to blossom, and our girl grew up so fast.

2013 – The VMA’s era (aka the worst era ever)

Get off the wrecking ball, sweetie. 

Miley shocked the world with her hair and outrageous outfits with her series of loud and gaudy public appearances (Robin Thicke *shudder*). I’ll never forget her appearance at the 2013 Met Gala, donning spikey hair and a mesh-inspired dress.

But I gotta admit, the girl still pumped out the bangers. ‘We Can’t Stop’ was the number one song requested when I was freshly 18 and hitting the clubs with my Smirnoff Double Blacks. 

This was the Miley we all loved to hate.

2015 – The camp era

With new dreadlock extensions (not okay) and the old VMA’s attitude (kinda here for it), Miley ventured somewhere we haven’t seen before. Our girl rivalled Lady Gaga at the 2019 Met Gala with the level of decadence she brought to her public appearances, and Katy Perry with the bubblegum red carpet outfits.

For want of a better word, our gal gave absolutely zero fucks. 

It was fun while it lasted.

2017 – The rebrand

In 2017, Miley released her new single, ‘Malibu’, and a softer public persona simultaneously. She and Liam got back together, she fully embraced veganism and her commitment to medicinal marajuana was well documented on her social media. 

She had her natural hair back, but can we take a minute to discuss the regrowth? As a person who religiously gets his highlights done every eight weeks, I was shocked to see my queen rocking dark regrowth which was not blended well. 

But after a while, somehow I was totally digging it. 

The singer also came to terms with her rocky public image and wanted to get back into producing “more real music”. 

Now – The rock star era

Fresh off her breakup with Liam Hemsworth (*whimpers softly*), Miley ditched the Malibu era and did a 180, bringing us into the badass rock queen we see today. Cue taloned leather gloves.

Miley now wears tight black outfits to tie in with the tatts we forgot she had. The singer teamed up with Ariana Grande and Lana Del Ray to record ‘Don’t Call Me Angel’, which screams badass #squadgoals.

I now live for Miley x Cody Simpson, and I’m waiting for her Southern roots to hit home with this cowboy revival we’re all living through.

Liam who?

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