When Billie Eilish released her debut studio album in 2019, she burst onto the scene as a green-haired teenager who rarely wore makeup and wore baggy gym clothes.
In fact, it didn’t take long for Billie to become as famous for her distinct sense of style as she was for her impressive songwriting skills and vocals.
Aged 17 at the time, the rising star covered himself in basketball shorts as well as oversized t-shirts and hoodies during public appearances, and his dyed hair was often left in a messy style which seemed to perfectly reflect his musical identity.
So when Billie completely transformed her image for the release of her second album happier than ever last year, it’s safe to say it caused a stir.
The singer debuted her new look on the cover of British Vogue, which showed Billie’s jet black hair and acid green roots replaced with soft peroxide blonde curls.
She posed in a pink silk corset that drew attention to her body for the first time in her career, and Billie later revealed her aesthetic makeover had her losing 100,000 Instagram followers at the time.
But when speaking to NME in June, Billie admitted she “had no idea” who she was when she swapped her baggy clasps for skintight Old Hollywood looks.
In fact, the only thing she knew for sure was that she wanted to show another side of herself after being “haunted” by the fear of being one-dimensional.
She also confessed that she knew the pin-up-inspired Vogue look would “fuck everyone,” and she did it on purpose after feeling “trapped in [a] character.”
“I wanted to have reach and feel desirable, and feel feminine and masculine — and I wanted to prove that to myself, too,” Billie explained.
In a separate interview with The Times, Billie said: “To be known from the very beginning of your career for one thing – she wears baggy clothes and she sings like that – it drove me crazy.”
And she went on to share her constant battle for wanting the freedom to experiment with different styles without being scrutinized for upsetting her look.
“Whatever you do is right and wrong,” Billie mused. “Wearing baggy clothes, no one is attracted to me, I feel incredibly unlikable and unsexy and unbeautiful, and people shame you for not being feminine enough.”
“Then you’re wearing something more revealing and they’re, like, you’re such a big cow whore,” she added. “I’m a slut and I’m a saleswoman and I’m like all the other celebrities who sell their bodies, and woah! What the fuck do you want? It’s a crazy world for women and women with eyes public.
And in a new interview with High Snobiety, Billie talked a bit more about the crucial role her public image has played in her career.
Billie went so far as to admit that she doesn’t think she would have been as respected in the industry if she had had a more “feminine and girly” style from the start, also saying that her “masculine” dress sense is which helped her to be taken more seriously as a teenager.
But despite the benefits of her look, Billie ended up feeling stuck in a role she didn’t want to commit to for the rest of her life, so she decided to experiment early in her career to give herself the chance. freedom to keep mixing without shocking people.
“People saw me as this 15-year-old, kid, who wore this kind of stuff, had this kind of look, acted this kind of way, said this kind of way. I felt like I couldn’t change. That’s why I went so far to the other side,” she explained.
“I was trying to prove, ‘Hey, fuck you guys, I can do whatever I want.’ Now I can look really masculine if I want to, and really feminine if I want to, and it won’t be a fucking headline,” she added.
Refusing to underestimate the true power her initial aesthetic held, Billie admitted, “I think people took me more seriously because I had this more masculine attitude. [way of dressing] throughout my career. If I had been more feminine and girly, people would have been much less respectful of me.
And her banter with being blonde apparently proved her theory, with Billie admitting she was treated very differently after changing her hair color and ‘didn’t feel sexy for a second’.
“I feel sexier when I dress male. I didn’t feel sexy for a second being blonde,” she told publications. “When I was blonde, people called me differently. People have completely changed their behavior [around me].”
But that doesn’t mean Billie will refrain from experimenting again, with Billie telling NME earlier this year: “I finally feel comfortable in who I really am and who I am. [multiple] things at once.
She explained to The Times, “Literally, the thing I’ve been preaching about since I started is wear whatever you want.
“Dress how you want, act how you want, talk how you want, be how you want,” Billie continued. “That’s all I said. It’s just being open to new things and not letting people ruin everything for you.