For most people, Christmas fashion remains the same every year. Something red, maybe something green, an ugly sweater if you can find one, and if you’re having a bad hair day, a Santa hat. As we all well know, Mariah Carey is not like most people. As the Queen Of Christmas Style™ (dubbed by a combination of us and this press release), Mariah puts the rest of our holiday swag to shame. Since the release of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” in 1994, Mariah has been a fixture at Christmas concerts, tree lightings, and holiday parades across the United States. While Mimi could easily roll up to each performance and appearance in, like, jeans and a Santa hat, she doesn’t. Obviously. 19 years’ worth of Mariah Carey Christmas steez is a lot, so we pared it down to her best looks and eras, which are below. Turn on “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” press repeat, and pay homage to the Queen of Christmas Style, Mariah Carey.
1994 – 2008: SIMPLE RED AND WHITE ERA
Mariah Carey at various Christmas celebrations from 1994-2008.
Photos: Mariah Concerts YouTube
Mariah’s first Christmas album, “Merry Christmas,” which contained the holiday banger to end all holiday bangers (“All I Want For Christmas Is You”), was released in 1994. Her performance outfits in the following decade and a half were widely varied. In the mid-’90s, Mimi went unusually casual in a snowsuit and jeans and a t-shirt. In the early aughts, she swapped in pants for dresses: she wore tight gowns, taffeta-skirt dresses, and even a mod-inspired mini dress with knee-high go-go boots, all within a limited red and white palette.
2010-2011: CLASSIC CHRISTMAS ERA
Mariah Carey on the covers on ’Merry Christmas’ and ’Merry Christmas II You.’
Photos: Virgin Records/Columbia Records
In 2010, Mariah released a second Christmas album, cleverly named “Merry Christmas II You.” The album cover featured Mariah in the same fur-trimmed, Santa-inspired onesie that she wore on the original Christmas album cover. The second album featured a re-recording of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and ushered in a new era of heavy-handed Santa style.
Mariah Carey performing at the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade in 2010.
Photo: Splash News
At the 2010 Christmas parade at Disney World, a pregnant Mariah debuted her new Christmas style, which transformed Santa’s iconic red, white, and black suit into a low-cut, mini dress. A lot of sequins were also added because duh, it’s Mariah Carey.
Mariah Carey in the ’All I Want For Christmas Is You’ and ’All I Want For Christmas Is You (SuperFestive!)’ music videos.
Photos: Columbia Records/Island Def Jam
In 2011, Mariah teamed up with Justin Bieber for a new version of “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” The duo released a video for the song, which featured Mariah wearing a slightly sexier version of the Santa-inspired dress from the original video. (The original vid, BTW, was released the year Bieber was born.) As with the mirrored styling on her recreated album cover, Mariah showed off a little more skin than she did in 1994 by pulling down the maribou-trimmed collar, including a midriff cut-out, and shedding the original winter-appropriate white tights AND velvet gloves.
2012 – 2013: GLAMOROUS RED AND WHITE ERA
Mariah Carey performing at the Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting in 2012.
Photos: Getty Images
In 2012, Mariah ditched the overt Santa style and returned to the red and white dresses of the early 2000s. This second iteration saw a MAJOR increase in glamour, though: the new dresses were rhinesone-detailed and paired with fur stoles and opera gloves. So long, fur-trimmed Santa dress! Mimi has upgraded her Christmas cheer. And it’s expensive.
Mariah Carey performing an acoustic version of ’All I Want For Christmas Is You’ on ’Late Night With Jimmy Fallon’ in 2012.
Photo: @mariahcarey Instagram
Even for an acoustic performance with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots, where all the men were decked out in Christmas sweaters and flannel, Mariah arrived in a floor-length gown with jewel-encrusted snowflake sleeves. If you haven’t watched that performance, BTW, you aren’t living your life fully. Better your existence by watching it here.
Mariah Carey performing at the Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting in 2013.
Photos: Getty Images
This year, Mariah kept with the red and white dress trend, rendering the fur stole into a kind of fur shrug sleeve thing. Also, she has both satin and leather gloves! It’s important to keep warm when performing in cleavage-bearing gowns, y’all. Just something to keep in mind.
2013 AND ON: MODERN CHRISTMAS ERA?
Mariah Carey in updated Christmas steez in 2013.
Photo: @mariahcarey Instagram
While she went extra glam for the Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting, a few days later Mariah shared a picture on Instagram looking uncharacteristically dressed down. All the elements of her typical Christmas looks are there: a dress, red, white, gloves, etc., but it’s pretty ~casual~, all things considered. Also, doesn’t the closet she’s in seem to feature red and white prominently? Does Mariah have a closet exclusively for Christmas clothes?? I THINK SHE DOES.
Mariah Carey with Michael Bublé on his Christmas special.
Then, when she continued her Christmas tradition of allowing other people to perform “All I Want For Christmas Is You” with her (see: Justin Bieber, Jimmy Fallon, The Roots), Mariah joined Michael Bublé on his NBC special (aptly named Michael Bublé’s Christmas Special), in another short dress! White knee-high boots! Is it a Christmas miracle? Is Mariah really entering a new era of holiday steez?
Considering how packed the last 19 years have been with various red and white Christmas looks and Santa styles, our fingers are crossed that the next 19 and beyond are just as festively filled.