On the eve of No Doubt’s comeback, we look back at Gwen and the band’s top 10 fashion moments (bindis, braces and all!)
If you were a girl growing up in the ’90s, chances are you were nearly as obsessed with Gwen Stefani and her ska-punk band No Doubt as we were (and I say nearly because I actually had a No Doubt fan club, gang handshake, album-touting policy and all). Stefani was (and is) the ultimate female role model: she rolled with the boys, created girl-empowering anthems and made it okay to have off-kilter, zany style, leading tons of Stefani-clones as she blazed from one look to another. My fan club may have broken up 12 years ago, but that doesn’t mean we weren’t still incredibly excited to hear Stefani and the boys were making a comeback, one that’s well underway now that their latest single “Settle Down” has just been released.
Making a new club in honour of their comeback is probably out of the question (we just don’t have the same amount of free time that our tween selves had), but we can pay tribute to the always-stylish Stefani and her boys by counting down their top 10 fashion moments!
1. The bindi
No one has ever made a bindi look cooler than Stefani did during the band’s Tragic Kingdom era, especially when juxtaposed with her alabaster skin and platinum blonde hair. The bindi was probably the first in what would become a long line of Stefani trademarks, and was apparently inspired by her Indian bandmate and ex-boyfriend Tony Kanal, whose breakup with Stefani inspired the amazing single “Don’t Speak” (and nearly broke up the band).
2. The crop tops
One of the first things that pops to mind when you think of Gwen Stefani’s physique are those mind-blowing abs, which she has proudly put on display for over a decade in her signature crop tops. The Stefani-crop had its best moment in the famous “Just a Girl” video, when Stefani’s full Tragic Kingdom look was put into high gear: cropped white tank, baggy, navy tracksuit pants, blonde, retro-styled ponytail, scarlet lips and of course, the bindi.
3. The Pepto pink do
Before Katy Perry was pulling hair inspiration from a bag of Skittles, Stefani was the true purveyor of wacky hair colour, taking her signature platinum blonde locks all the way to Kool-Aid blue then bringing them to a Pepto Bismol pink during the Anaheim band’s Return to Saturn run. The fearless hair colours were a nod to her punk and ska roots, and inspired copycats down the road (including Perry) to test-drive her So-Cal punk hair hues.
4. The braces
Though plenty of our awkward teenage memories were thanks to braces and/or headgear, Stefani actually opted for some tooth tinsel even though she didn’t need them. Post-Return of Saturn, the singer paid a trip to the orthodontist because she’d always wanted braces (what?!) and since she was finally able to afford them, she thought they’d be a great way to complement her colourful style. Though the sting of having a metal-mouth didn’t fully go away, seeing Stefani proudly flash her set as a fashion statement inspired us to not pull that awkward closed-mouth smile (which never really worked with braces anyway) and flash a grin instead.
5. The Galliano wedding dress
When Stefani and Bush frontman/grunge eye candy Gavin Rossdale finally decided to tie the knot, she completely lived up to, if not surpassed, expectations that she’d give traditional wedding style a run for its money. Her custom John Galliano gown had a dip-dyed, hot pink hemline and asymmetrical neckline, complete with an antique veil (oh, and all her bridesmaids wore Dior… lucky). The dramatic dress was perfectly in keeping with Stefani’s off-kilter yet enduring style and helped pioneer the colourful trend for wedding gowns.
6. The Rasta look
Stefani has never made a big secret about her love for Jamaica (even naming her sons Kingston and Zuma after cities in the country), and as the band aged, its reggae inspirations became increasingly amplified, especially after recording Rock Steady in Jamaica. Stefani’s infatuation with Rastafarian red, yellow and green stuck with her after Rock Steady, becoming a focal point and trademark for her line L.A.M.B.
7. The Harajuku girls
Love. Angel. Music. Baby., Gwen’s first solo project, was everything that early No Doubt was not: heavily ’80s dance music–influenced, money-obsessed (check out “Luxurious” as proof) and most importantly, it didn’t touch on the ska punk that No Doubt had been so famous for. Whether or not you loved the album, it was the album that fully unveiled Stefani’s harajuku obsession. Her Harajuku Girls entourage provided the perfect backdrop for Stefani’s new Japanese street style–inspired look, a flapper-meets-harajuku style that found its way into L.A.M.B.’s designs and Stefani’s red carpet looks.
8. The houndstooth
If there’s one thing you can count on L.A.M.B. for, it’s its amazing reinterpretation of classic prints like plaid or houndstooth. Stefani includes graphic black and white houndstooth in almost every collection, while plaid in pared-down black and white or punchier colours usually makes an appearance as well. The bold prints serve as homage to the California girl’s punk roots, and have become a signature of the brand’s pop art vibe.
9. The glamazon
Though Stefani will always have an edge to her styling, her most recent glamazon phase (which was set in motion during Love. Angel. Music. Baby.) is an equally aspirational look too. Her red lips and blonde hair have become more sophisticated and soft — instead of her punkette mini–Princess Leia buns, she usually opts for soft, Veronica Lake–inspired waves, for example. Her sleek red carpet looks nowadays could not be a bigger departure from that Smurfette moment she had on the red carpet back in the ‘90s, when she paired fuzzy slippers with blue hair.
10. Adrian Young
Though the spotlight is almost always zeroed in on Stefani on stage and on the red carpet, we couldn’t do this list without paying credit to one of her male counterparts. Adrian Young, the band’s always-energetic, almost always half-naked drummer has been rocking a mash-up of So-Cal skater and ska-punk for years. His penchant for plaid-on-plaid, his ever-present mohawk and his sheer performer’s instinct make him the sartorial frontrunner of the men in the group.