Source: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for MTV/Paramount Global

Khalid: A Fashion and Cultural Icon

Discover how Khalid stands out as a cultural icon with his distinct music and vibrant fashion sense that reflects his positive message.


Nov. 6 2023, Published 7:41 p.m. ET

Khalid, the artist behind “American Teen,” “Free Spirit,” “Scenic Drive,” and numerous hit singles, is a trailblazer. As an artist, he has incorporated R&B, soul, hip-hop, pop, and folk to create one of the most unique sounds of his generation.

On the content front, his songs uniquely differ from what many of his peers create. His songs are introspective explorations of his experience. Whether as a teen in “American Teen” or post-teen years in “Scenic Drive,” his lyrics revolve, giving the audience a glimpse into his experiences.

In an era where much of the music produced by black artists revolved around drugs, hookup culture, and sometimes violence, Khalid’s music stands out for oozing an aura of positivity.

Likewise, his fashion sense stands out for being uniquely “Khalid.”

Using Fashion to Stand Out

Khalid has used his style to stand out, even before becoming the global superstar he is today. Speaking to Esquire in 2017, he reminisced on how he deliberately dressed to stand out during his senior year of school, at his new school in El Paso. “These people have less than a year to find out who I am. How can I use the way I dress to help them understand me?”

He retains a similar stand-out aura and sense of style even today. His style revolves around comfortable clothes that pop in color without being flashy. A scroll of his Instagram reveals that Khalid is insistent on being comfortable, with athleisure outfits such as matching tracksuits and jumpsuits featuring prominently in his timeline. He has performed in sweats on many occasions.

However, he does love a variety of looks. He’s been spotted with overalls, monochrome suits, and much more from a wide variety of luxury brands. He is also known to accentuate his outfit with eccentric accessories.

He is also not retro-averse and will rock retro pieces from time to time. Speaking with LA Times, he notes, “I have this neon-pink denim jacket-and-pants set, and I’ll wear it with a white T-shirt underneath and a belt. And it’s super ’80s.” He adds, “I love the ’80s. So every time I wear that, I just feel like dancing.”

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A Love for Bright Colors

He is also not afraid to step out in bright-colored clothes, an element of his fashion style he admitted to GQ in 2017. In the conversation, he said that he loved bright colors as an expression of his happiness. In the conversation, he also admitted to loving “crazy prints.”

Echoing his love for bright colors while speaking with the LA Times, he notes, “I love bright colors because I feel like when I wear them, I feel brighter. I feel happier,” adding, “I want to be bright because that’s the message I want to spread.”

What About Mood?

Speaking to Vogue, Khalid said, “I use my clothing choices as a way to express how I feel. I’m a lot happier now than before, and I feel like my clothing choices reflect that and are brighter.”

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