Ciara's Hot VMA Look Comes With A Cool Half-Million Price Tag

Still, singer insists she's not really into dressing up.

If Ciara's stylist gets her way, Ciara's going to be a woman soon.

Ciara's been slowly but surely making the transition from tomboy to girlie girl, under the guidance of stylist Rosie Philidor, who's been working with her for the past eight months. When they first met, Ciara laid down the ground rules: no skirts, no dresses and no heels, unless they're wedges. But Philidor, who's also dressed Jay-Z and Sean Paul, was determined to get Ciara to bag the baggy pants and try a few new looks, and her efforts were more than apparent during Ciara's appearance at Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards.

"I feel like a new person," Ciara joked while she was getting ready in her suite at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. "I should have a new name. Call me Ashley. No, Elizabeth!"

In all, the prep time to get the new Ciara camera-ready works out to this: a week of shopping by her stylist, 45 minutes of fittings the night prior, an hour and a half of coloring her hair considerably darker (from "pumpkin spice" to "cinnamon stick," her hairdresser said), and then three hours the day of, as three women worked on her at once — one doing her hair (soft curls), one doing her makeup (mostly MAC) and one doing her nails (practically clear). Also in the room, her personal assistant and her stylist worked on last-minute details, and a jeweler popped by to show the singer samples and help her pick out which items she'd borrow for the show.

During all the activity, Ciara squirmed in her chair. "I'm patient for some things, but not for this," she explained. "I'm really not into all this stuff. I'd go natural and wear no makeup if I could, but you have to look good for the cameras."

While being fitted the night prior, Ciara selected a little black dress — and we mean little. "I feel like I'm wearing nothing!" she exclaimed after putting on the vintage number. She initially thought it would fall just above her knees, but it turned out to be a lot higher.

"This is really different for me. I'm going to have to wear some shorts underneath this," she said, noting that if a wind came and blew up the tail, she'd have a backside wardrobe malfunction that would set the paparazzi flashing. "Oh no you don't!" she practiced admonishing them.

Ciara's minidress was balanced by tall boots from Giuseppe Zanotti with a wedge heel raising her a good three inches off the floor. Ciara in bare feet is 5 feet 7 inches tall, and it's only recently that she's become comfortable with her stature and begun to overcome her resistance to heels. She originally selected a pair of suede cowboy boots for Sunday night (August 28), but at the last minute she opted for a pair of "rock star" silver boots trimmed with silver and black stones in the back. "I was really insecure about my height when I was younger," she said. "But it's all good now. They're hot, so why not rock them?"

Ciara also seemed slightly insecure about her own music — when her computer selected her own tunes, she yelled, "Can someone fast forward that? Can someone turn that off? Now?" But when Brandy's tunes came on, she sang along happily: "This is only gonna change if you let it."

The real piece de resistance, though, was her bling. She wore more than half a million dollars' worth of jewelry donated by Sol Rafael: a 100-carat diamond necklace ($150,000); a cross necklace with pink, white and yellow diamonds ($110,000); a 60-carat bracelet with yellow and white diamonds ($250,000); and matching cross earrings ($50,000).

If that seems excessive, consider that she actually turned down wearing much more, including a diamond snake for her hair, similar to the diamond butterfly Tyra Banks sported at the Grammys. She also opted not to wear any more accessories, even a belt, so it wouldn't seem "too much."

The only piece that actually belonged to Ciara — and the one destined to attract the most attention — was the not-so-little rock on her left ring finger. People are "going to say a lot of crazy things," predicted the singer, who's dating Bow Wow. The ring was from Jacob the Jeweler, she said, but as for how many carats or any other details, she insisted, "I don't know, I don't care about these things. You'd have to ask the jeweler."

Later, during a stop on the white carpet, Bow Wow admitted giving Ciara the ring, calling it "a little somethin' somethin' " but stopped short of calling it an engagement ring.