One time on How I Met Your Mother, Barney Stinson was moved to burst into song as he contemplated the eternal struggle between his two favorite things: girls versus suits. Dearest Barney, don’t sell yourself short! It’s not a struggle between one or the other! The beauty lies in both!
Ladies in suits have been on my mind a lot lately. One doesn’t ever really need a specific reason to think about ladies in suits, just as one never needs an excuse to think about ice cream or puppies or sharp cheddar cheese or boobs or any other number of Things In Life That Are Good. Still, the cross-dressing thing has been in the forefront of my mind for a couple reasons, one being all the Tipping the Velvet talk going on last month, the other being Florence Welch, who was recently featured in a new video by Calvin Harris.
My obsession with Florence Welch is already a well-established fact, but when she dons a suit and sweeps her hair into a sweet pompadour in this video, it almost sends me over the edge. What is it that makes a woman you’re used to seeing in paisley feminine dresses suddenly stepping into a streamlined jacket and tie so damn hot? I’m sure there are actually many well-founded theories about gender and sexuality and breaking boundaries that would in fact explain it very well, but all I know for sure is that I like it. A lot.
What makes this video even better is that she ends up taking off that suit and rolling around the stage she’s on in her ladythings. Well, except for the fact that it’s actually not better at all because she’s clearly dealing with the fact that she’s in a relationship with some type of drug dealer/addict/abusive person dude, and her thrashing about the stage is more a thrashing of despair and pain, so. That’s a bit of a downer. But when she takes the mic at one minute in, fully masculinely clad, that is gold. I could watch that over and over. And I have.
All of this has inspired me to create a list full of some other memorable music videos that feature ladies in suits, because you know, it seemed like a good idea. You’re welcome.
“Tightrope,” Janelle Monae
Let’s be honest. This post is basically also an excuse to drool over Janelle Monae. If you haven’t taken the time to watch her slither across the floor in her magical tux-wearing dancing ways, your life is incomplete. Until the day I die, this video will be one of the best things I have ever seen. While this video includes more of her irresistible dance moves, I actually enjoy the Wondamix edit of this song better, which sounds slightly edgier and includes a verse where Monae addresses her signature style along with any criticism of it:
Black and white tux; ain’t no need for no other colors. T-t-t-talkin’ bout, “Why don’t she change her clothes?” Well, they ain’t seem to mind the last three times I posed in Vogue.
Awwwwww, snap. You are a fine specimen of a human being.
“Man! I Feel Like a Woman,” Shania Twain
Now, I am normally the type of person who, upon hearing that Shania Twain has the top-selling studio album by any female of all time, will go, “Wait. What?” But upon a revisit to this video, holy crap, is it sexy. And really, the fact that she chose to dress in a suit for a song about feeling like a woman was quite the smart and sassy move. Fantastic, really. Shania, perhaps I have underestimated you. Although what in the world is going on with those backup dancers? I can’t stop staring at their pectoral muscles and dead eyes and those shiny, shiny leather pants. Mesmerizing. Slightly disturbing.
“Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” Eurythmics
So while Shania used the suit in a “look at my bulging breasts popping out behind this jacket” sort of way, Annie Lennox used the suit in a “I will beat you with a stick while my bandmate plays on a really weird old computer and we hang out with some cows” type of way. So. Different strokes for different folks.
“I’m Your Baby Tonight,” Whitney Houston
While she starts out this video rocking ripped high-waisted jeans and a leather jacket–miss you, 1990!–wait for the 45 second mark, where she jumps through some sort of time vortex and arrives at a nightclub in a flawless white suit, complete with cane and perfectly angled top hat! It’s a brief moment, but full of perfection! Miss you always, Whitney.
“Me Against the Music”, Britney Spears featuring Madonna
Remember that time Britney Spears and Madonna made a video together and they both wore suits (okay, Britney’s is sexified, but it still counts) and they danced all up on a wall for each other? That wasn’t homoerotic at all. Nope.
Pretty Much Everything Grace Jones Ever Did
Grace Jones really pioneered the androgynous suit-wearing look, and so she obviously deserves a spot on this list. From her makeup to the flat-top to that audaciously wonderful bare chest, everything about it screams Grace Jones Is Cooler Than You."