The Best Nicki Minaj Outfits Of 2011

Sure, we could spend our whole Best of 2011 coverage counting down all the sparkly inanimate objects that we coveted, daydreamt about, and ran up our credit card bills with this year. But what fun is an annual STYLE recap without delving into our favorite fashion plates? Here at MTV Style, it's not the most "in vogue" outfit that ends up nestling into a warm corner of our hearts, but rather, the most unique (and occasionally gonzo) use of fashion as a means of self-expression. Thus, we give you the 10 most show-stopping 2011 looks from one lady who embodies that philosophy to the umpteenth degree: the ever exciting Miss Nicki Minaj who, beeteedubs, ALSO celebrates her 29th birthday today! HAPPY BARFDAY, NICKI!


Nicki Minaj in Europe promoting her album "Pink Friday."
Photo: Getty Images

Nicki kicked off 2011 across the pond promoting Pink Friday in this head-to-toe bubblegum pink ensemble. From the asymmetrical stacked curls (for a certain Gumby silhouette) to the platform pumps, this outfit fittingly ushered in what ended up being a stupefying year of Nicki Minaj sartorial awesomeness. Twenty-eleven included a series of firsts for the rapper, from an inaugural performance on Saturday Night Live to a Grammy nomination, and THIS outfit, with its Keith Haring-inspired satin jumpsuit, plastic studded cuffs, and giant pendant necklace was an apt harbinger of all the effervescent fash-happiness to come.


Nicki Minaj performs on "Good Morning America."
Photo: Getty Images

Long before the chicken wing necklace, Nicki took to Good Morning America's summer stage in what appeared to be an homage to Jem And The Holograms. From the explosion of frizzy blonde curls to the plastic transparent hoop skirt, this outfit is A-Grade bonkers, not because there is a crackish amount of information to process (my brain WILL NOT settle down when I look at this), but because it conjures up memories of Jem, the very best thing to happen to cartoons, girls, and massive plastic accessories.


Nicki Minaj performs during the 2011 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.
Photo: Getty Images

It's not hard to see why Nicki was selected to perform at this year's 2011 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. I mean, if I had to find a musical guest for an event centered around theater, femininity, and flaunting your *ahem* ASSETS, well, she'd be my first choice, too. Nicki certainly did not disappoint in this tangerine belted bustier with printed leggings worn under a matching bubble-hemmed peplum. For this, Nicki toned the curls down for a chin-length bob, a look we adore for complementing her face shape. A connoisseur of accessories, she finishes off the look with a giant jeweled bib necklace, black-and-white striped elbow-length gloves, and color-blocked Giuseppe Zanotti platforms.


Nicki Minaj for the November 2011 issue of "W" magazine. Photo: Courtesy of "W"

Granted, Nicki was styled professionally for this W magazine editorial, but it merits a hat tip given how memorably different this version of Nicki is. While the ensembles remain as over-the-top as Nicki's standard day-to-day wear, it's definitely refreshing to see her in a natural hair color and a more muted (read: not neon or candy-colored) color palette.


Nicki Minaj at the Carolina Herrera Spring 2012 show at New York Fashion Week.
Photo: Getty Images

This particular appearance at Spring 2012 New York Fashion Week caused quite the commotion this year, and not just because Nicki was seated front row alongside Vogue's Anna Wintour. Amid the piled high, view-blocking hairdo, layered leggings, and printed shoes, it was this neon pom-pom covered linebacker dress that landed her (and/or her stylist/s) in an intellectual property boondoggle with fashion unknown Jessica Rodgers of SomedayNewYorker, who claims Nicki & co. jacked her dress idea. Whether the rumors are true or not, the look certainly made a splash for our girl.


Nicki Minaj at the 2011 NBPA All-Star gala.
Photo: Getty Images

What recap of Nicki's looks would be complete without a truly BARBIE-riffic ensemble? From the pristine blonde mane to the bright pink lip and nails, the robin's egg blue retro pumps to the rhinestone-encrusted "Barbie" nameplate necklace that screams, "I CAN HAZ DREAMHOUSE?" Nicki has never embodied Babz more.


Nicki Minaj performs at the 2011 American Music Awards. Photo: Getty Images

Steampunk had a (weirdly) big year in 2011, and Nicki, along with Justin Bieber (OK, AND Regretsy), brought the underground nerd fashion movement into the limelight. Nicki's robotic suit of armor lit up the American Music Awards stage. Literally. She plugged the set into an outlet on her stomach (!!!). And while the Oscar de la Renta gown she paired with gravity-defying McQueen heel-free platforms were MAY-JOR for the red carpet, we will never be able to erase the image of those dial thermometers on her bust or those speakers on her behind. SUPER. BASS.


Nicki Minaj walks the red carpet at the Versace for H&M launch party.
Photo: Getty Images

Nicki Minaj was honored with the opportunity to perform alongside the legendary PRINCE at one of the most anticipated fashion reveals of the year: the launch of Versace for H&M. Of course, that meant the esteemed attendee ALSO had to be swaddled in the finest garb Donatella had to offer, namely this custom-embellished (obvs) floral print tunic + leggings. With an outfit that louche, you don't need much else, so Nicki kept things simple (relatively speaking) with massively volumized green tendrils and Versace color block platform sandals.


Nicki Minaj surprises students at Collins Academy High School for The Get Schooled Foundation.
Photo: Getty Images

Oh, HAI, Onika! (That's her real name, if you didn't know.) Sure, girl is still wearing something that most of us find challenging—a patterned, full-body, playsuit—but in the grand scheme of things, Nicki looks HELLA normie here. It makes sense since that day she hit up Collins Academy High School in Chicago to speak to (and surprise the bejesus out of) some students for The Get Schooled Foundation. Much like the shock of seeing Nicki in period dress for W magazine, this Norma from Normington outfit with its unobstructed lines, brown booties, and appropriately chunky jewelry makes our eyes feel serene. Also, that chic blonde bob with nary a stray hair. Preach.


Nicki Minaj at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards.
Photo: Getty Images

Well, I mean, DUHHHHHH. And no, this round-up doesn't culminate on this point because this was an MTV event. Just LOOK at what is happening before you. The intertwined neon sherbet twirls. The beveled armor. The stealth pink tutu. The layers of legwear. The ice cream cone necklace. THE SURGICAL MASK. And that's not even the half of it. There are just SO many Easter eggs that we had to break this sucker down into a post dissecting the full anatomy of Nicki's candy raver MTV VMA outfit. It was intense.


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