An Annotated Guide to M.I.A.’s Worst Outfits


Oh, M.I.A. Purveyor of beats and vague political rants. Eater of truffle fries that you apparently didn’t order. Wearer of neon-printed leggings. And an artist whose sartorial choices — already fairly unorthodox — have been flying off the hinge lately in a big way. Take the burqa she wore Saturday to Spike TV’s Scream Awards — not only was it the sort of clouded statement piece we’re used to (and tired of) seeing from her, it came complete with the lyrics of “XXXO” printed on it. Tacky much? We can get down with the animal prints and the gold jewelry and even the weirdo captain hats, but sometimes M.I.A.’s wardrobe looks like she assembled it at random from the wreckage of a particularly garish costume shop. We deconstruct some of her greatest fashion offenses of all time after the jump.

We bet the aesthetic M.I.A. was going for wasn’t “exploding de Stijl painting” mixed with “third grade roller skating party,” but that sure is what she accomplished. The oversize cowl-neck sweater just makes her look like she raided her grandfather’s closet, slapped on a pair of rainbow leggings (we imagine she has a whole closet full of ’em), and thought she was good to go.

Look, we all love poofy things. And, um, satin laceless sneakers, we guess? But the combination of the super-full, weirdly-short patterned dress plus the tights and sneakers is just bizarre. It looks like Marie Antoinette on top and Punky Brewster on bottom. Plus, we’re pretty sure you could hide several small children in the skirt.

We applaud the pregnant ladies who keep it fashionable — far be it from us to dictate that a showing mom should limit herself to a muumuu. But this seems like a dress that would be unflattering under normal circumstances, and when about to give birth to a child, borders on crazy. It also looks assembled from a picnic blanket and a mosquito net, minutes before she was about to go onstage.

Remember those fringe vests you made out of grocery bags back in elementary school? This is like one of those, updated in less flattering colors. She looks for all the world like a frumpy — but proud — pile of mops.

This is an impressively bad choice of dress. Mesh plus a giant shark plus some sort of weird headband? And the pose doesn’t help. M.I.A. should really have remembered the cardinal rule of adulthood here: just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

It’s a bad sign when the first term that comes to mind when you see yourself in the mirror is “Pokemon.” It’s even worse when you peer closer and decide “stoner Pokemon.” But oh yes, the goggles and the camo and the multi-colored bomb pop hair would make you just perfect for Ashton Kutcher’s character in Dude, Where’s My Car?

This isn’t a particularly flattering picture to begin with, but the tube top dress woven from what appear to be swatches of plastic tablecloths just makes the whole look so, so much worse. If she were on Project Runway, Nina Garcia would wrinkle her nose and pronounce it very “home-sewn.” Also, it makes us crave a Mountain Dew.

She clearly found this 1980s sequin cocktail dress at the thrift store and cut it to look like a middle schooler wearing a modification of their prep uniform. Plus a bowling ball. We mean, purse. The whole thing is very Atlantis fashion week meets Jem and the Holograms.

See, a green strapless dress and a cute yellow jacket paired with bright yellow pumps? That could have been really great! And then, for some reason, the designer — or frankly, we wouldn’t pass it past M.I.A. herself — decided that what this outfit really needed was boob parrots. It’s like a cone bra, except for pirate fans. Super-creepy, and it can’t possibly make having a conversation easy. Who could stop from staring at those looming bazonga birds?

See, at first we thought that M.I.A. was just wearing weirdo poofed Lady Gaga-type sleeves. But then we realized that it’s not just sequin sleeves — it’s a sequined tiger. And its face is her shirt. So the red sleeves are… its grossly oversized ears? Really? That is just a flabbergasting error of a garment. Somewhere, Karl Lagerfeld is building a lead-lined shelter to protect himself from M.I.A.