Shape-shifting pop stars of the moment could stand to learn a thing or two about the power of simplicity. Enter Sade, queen of timeless sophistication and the biggest case-maker for a less-is-more aesthetic. An alumnus of renowned London art school Central Saint Martins, she actually started out as a men’s fashion designer. Since then, Sade’s become a pared-down style icon, consistently understated and sexy, with an unwavering dedication to a signature look. She rarely goes without red lips and kohl eyeliner, and her hair is always slicked back, anchored by strong brows and thick hoop earrings.
Sade figured out what kind of clothes worked for her early on, rejecting sequins and glittery gowns. Instead you can find her over the years sporting denim, flamenco flourishes, cropped tops and backless body suits. Every once in a while, she still goes hard with a tux. Parisian brand Kenzo has taken some style cues from Sade, and fellow British songstress Jessie Ware has a similar style vibe—here, we show you how to build a wardrobe of classic staples.