10. THE RETRO GIRL GONE DARK: Lana Del Rey
Describing herself as a “self-styled gangsta Nancy Sinatra,” Del Rey’s chic look softens her somewhat edgy songwriting and videos, which in turn has helped her move closer to the pop mainstream.
She takes 1940s film noir and stands it on its ear with her slightly scuffed versions of vintage dresses and buckled shoes; her rough manners don’t match her look, but it’s all just part of her scheme.
9. THE OVERSEAS DIVA: Jessie Ware
While she’s still under the radar stateside, English pop singer Jessie Ware is a quickly ascending fashionista to watch, as much for the way she styles her long, dark brown mane as for her clothing.
Whether a topknot, a braided ponytail, or an upsweep, Ware uses her hair to accentuate her giant earrings, which most often accompany her distinctive combos of crop top and ‘50s-style high-waisted trouser or flowy skirt.
8. THE UNEXPECTED “CRAZY”: Cee Lo Green
Red leather Michael-Jackson-era jackets, metal spikes, gold lame hoodies, upscale ascots, and of course those ubiquitous sunglasses - what hasn’t hip-hop hero and “The Voice” coach worn?
His smile is big, and his fashion sense is equally huge. He wears his ensembles with a sense of fun not often seen in today’s hip-hop community. He’s right up there with David Bowie in his willingness to take on fashion risks.
7. THE ‘70S REVISITED: Colbie Caillat
Perhaps it was the influence of her father, who co-produced two of Fleetwood Mac’s albums, or perhaps it was her Malibu, Calif. youth. Either way, pop singer Caillat has brought back the ‘70s in a modish way, combining her beachy, layered hair with simple, Linda Ronstadt-reminiscent outfits, from peasant shirts and earth-toned vests to floppy-brimmed hats. She’s even permanently captured the era with her blossom tattoo.
6. THE SKA GIRL RETURNS: Gwen Stefani
While Stefani’s band No Doubt has been under the radar for the past couple of years, it looks like they’ll be back in 2014, and Stefani appears to be cultivating a new fashion look, as well.
Her early looks combined ska, rock, and pop trends via plenty of plaid, witty tees, and ‘50s makeup; her latest images show a sleeker Stefani, with more of a runway flair and a new affection for exotic nail polishes and the color red.
5. THE TOO SEXY FOR HIS SHIRT: Adam Levine
The lead singer of Maroon 5 was named People Magazine’s Sexiest Man of the Year for 2013, and one of the reasons is his personal dress code.
He manages to alternate music-nerd hits (polo shirts, plaid, striped sweaters) with leather biker jackets and closely cut suits, looking modern and sharp in all of it.
4. THE FUTURE OF FASHION: Daft Punk
Plenty of predictions for the 2000s had us all walking around in jumpsuits, our faces protected by masks or helmets. But that future is yet to be, unless you’re Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, the pair who make up this top French electronica duo.
They’re never caught without their trademark metallic space helmets and gloves, which makes them the two most fashion-forward “robots” around.
3. THE GOTH MEETS MATH TEACHER: Lorde
Newbie Lorde may have only just arrived on the music scene, but she’s already earning high marks for her somber (and mostly black) schoolteacher ensembles, which put the focus squarely on her music.
For this year’s Grammys, she showed up in a white blouse and black pleated trousers; her equally black wavy hairdo and eyeliner enhanced her stark look, putting the attention squarely on her unique vocal sound.
2. THE MELODRAMATIC MS.: Florence Welch
Lorde’s polar opposite, fashion-wise, is the feminist front woman of Florence and the Machine, who utilizes bright and dramatic colors, flowing bohemian shapes, gigantic sleeves, and her distinctive red hair to amp up her presence on stage.
Most often seen in long, floor-dusting gowns and chunky, eccentric jewelry, she’s equally up for wearing today’s Givenchy or yesterday’s thrift find, both with plenty of attitude.
1. THE CAREFREE SOULSTER: Pharrell Williams
Williams, the man behind such hits as Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and his own summery single “Happy,” is perhaps the most unlikely fashion standout on this list, which is why he’s the coolest.
His unique flair blurs the lines of fashion, mixing and matching styles and patterns.
One minute, he’ll combine his preppy basics with hints of neon, the next he’s rocking a tuxedo-and-shorts ensemble.
His best-know fashion mark was made with the uber-tall Vivienne Westwood Mountie hat that went viral. He ended up auctioning it for charity on eBay for $44,000, which goes to show that it’s Williams himself who’s really money.