The Year’s Most Stylish Music Videos: Doja Cat, SZA, Tyla, And More

Grizz Lee

This year introduced a number of stylish and experimental artists from the red carpets to street style. But, the vibrant looks of today’s R&B, hip hop and rap stars in music videos from the start of the year until the very end have raised the bar. YouTube numbers don’t lie—we couldn’t take our eyes off the current crop of artists like Doja Cat and SZA expressing themselves through their clothing. And whether the project called for sticking to their style roots or serving up the polar opposite stylists, costume designers and creative directors left a mark on the fashion lexicon. Their talents were propelled to high levels this year.  For instance, take Tems who was an ethereal goddess in her video for her invigorating single “Me & U” styled by Dunsin Wright. And then there’s Doja who served up edgy chic in the visual for “Attention” which kicked off her Scarlet album rollout. Brett Alan Nelson is responsible for her killer looks. 

As the year comes to a close we’ve compiled a list of some of the most stylish music videos of the year. You’ll find nods to cult classic films, ‘00s-inspired pieces and a bevy of influential designer names to take note of below. You might find yourself wanting to cull your own mood boards or buy some new clothes inspired by the clothing that grabbed our attention. Either way, there’s no denying all of the ravishing style moments that established and rising vocalists delivered in 2023. 

SZA — “Kill Bill”

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In homage to Quentin Tarantino’s cult classic “Kill Bill” movies, SZA’s music video for her song of the same name encapsulates the cinematic tones and storylines of the films perfectly–the video arrived back in January. The Grammy Award winner and TDE star appears at the beginning of the clip in a trailer home with her boyfriend cooking in comfort while wearing a gray, cleavage-baring T-shirt and leg warmers. Next after hopping in Vivica A. Fox’s truck, SZA changes into a simple black tank top and shorts during a brief moment of plotting before exacting revenge against her ex in a skin tight black and red leather two-piece bodysuit with jacket. She’s then spotted ripping out her ex lover’s heart from his chest, SZA continues to stun by the end of the music video sans clothing while hanging from the ceiling in the Japanese rope bondage style of Shibari. Her longtime stylist Alejandra Hernandez and wardrobe stylist Ann-Marie Hoang are both credited with costuming SZA for “Kill Bill.” This visual was an eerily creepy but stellar way for SZA to begin her 2023, style-wise it was a risk that paid off, for the whole year fans were speaking about SOS

Victoria Monet — “On My Mama”

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The world is Victoria Monet’s runway, and this year proved that. In her spirited “On My Mama” video directed by Child, the soulful singer showcased a variety of subcultures. For her first meticulously styled look, she is clad in a red Los Angeles Dodgers fitted cap, red bra, red cropped jacket, and baggy, low-slung jeans proving how sexy it can be to wear masculine pieces. Monet continues to sport ‘00s-inspired streetwear with a crew of backup dancers in every frame, thanks to image architect Kollin Carter. Vintage Marithé + François Girbaud jeans, oversized white tees, White Air Force 1’s, jersey dresses, varsity jackets, and bamboo name hoop earrings are just some of the throwback style items on display. These additions give off a nostalgic vibe that works brilliantly. For those who remember the days of “106th and Park,” Carter’s styling work in “On My Mama” will conjure up memories of running to the nearest TV to watch the latest trending music videos. 

Doechii Ft. Kodack Black — “What It Is (Block Boy)”

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Designer Tizita Maru Balemlay and stylist Ana Aranda crafted the looks for Doechii in the TDE artist’s “What It Is (Block Boy) video. For the Omar Jones-directed visual the moody cinematography is balanced with several evocative outfits from Doechii. First as she’s seen writhing on a desk in front of Kodak Black with a copper-hued bob she dons a black blazer and bottom-baring chaps. She instantly shows another saucy side to her with a long, high ponytail, gold hoop earrings, a fur jacket, a sulty bra and panties as she’s joined by backup dancers. This is all in front of a mugshot wall before her and Kodak Black conspire in a field. Here, Doechii is wrapped in pink fur, a pearl-lace necklace and white bustier with a skirt as Kodak raps wearing a white turtleneck, pink jacket and red trousers. In a following warehouse dance sequence, she is fittingly dressed in a white tank, ultra-high black boots with fur trim, and a leather jacket. Leather panties are the statement in this outfit. And just when you think things couldn’t get any hotter, the Florida-bred rapper and singer gives us one more twist. For the final scene surrounded by nature with glowing skin sans clothing.

Doja Cat — “Attention”

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In Tanu Muino’s visual for Doja Cat’s Grammy Award-nominated track “Attention” her creative director Brett Alan Nelson presents his exquisite range. Earlier in the year, the pop star revealed she wanted the fashion in this music video to feel “a little bit more pulled back, but still stylized.” As the story of this video begins, Doja rides around town in a car and everydaywear comprised of a fitted cap, a hoodie, a flannel shirt, and insanely stylish glasses. There are glimpses of her partially naked throughout, but a large amount of the video shows her confidently strutting down the streets of Los Angeles. At one point she’s wearing a sleek leather duster, a handful of silver chokers and necklaces, a white tee, classic blue denim, and heels. Sexy, brash, and self-assured, Doja Cat’s style in “Attention” is a noticeable departure from the celestial costumes of her other music videos. “Attention” marked a new era for Doja who was set to release Scarlet her latest album. With this video she proved that she is more than an outspoken artist, she also showcased that she’s a trippy, singular force in both fashion and music. 

Cardi B Ft. Megan Thee Stallion “Bongos”  

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Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “Bongos” is a fantastical fashion universe dreamed up by director Tanu Muino. The visual filmed in Beverly Hills and Malibu features dancers and poolside posers in vivid Skittles-colored swimsuits and Speedos. Cardi and Megan also appear in oversized fur Harris Reed headwear, and custom-made catsuits, bodysuits and other outfits from a string of beloved designers including LaQuan Smith, Pucci, The Blonds, and more. Intricate jewelry by Alexis Bittar and other vibrant pieces by Harry Kristoff and Julian Méndez Couture were also utilized for the striking video. Stylist Franceleslia Millien assisted Cardi B’s longstanding costume designer-stylist Kollin Carter for “Bongos.” On Instagram Millien divulged details on the careful undertaking of the job. “We prepped for months and shot for 3 days. This was one of the most intense but rewarding experiences,” she explained.

Tems — “Me & U”

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Tems directed the music video for her song, “Me & U.” She tasked her personal stylist Dunsin Wright to curate the wardrobe, and Wright delivered. Wright, who, like Tems, is Nigerian, has previously shared in a Teen Vogue interview that she draws inspiration from films along with international street style looks, for her styling projects. Each piece in the “Me & U ” video flows, just as the hypnotic beats of the track and Tems calming voice, including a sheer, long-sleeved white cutout beach dress with bottoms worn by the singer-songwriter  for much of the song. There’s also another outfit complete with a white bra top with dangling white diamonds by Jeniece Blanchet, loose white pants and a matching cropped cardigan. One of the more simpler, yet still sensual looks is Tems in a silver seashell necklace and red top. At the end of the visual, Tems dons a sparkling silver metallic headpiece with a matching tank and skirt set which she dances in. The music video for “Me & U ” was filmed in the island of Malta, but Tems’ African roots shine through in the unearthly designs worn among the Southern European waters and landscape.  

Tyla — “Water”

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Tyla’s “Water” has been inescapable this year. The memorable and summer-ready looks shown in its accompany video directed by Child evokes the easygoing energy many hope to attain during the warm months of the year. The clip opens with crashing waves with images of the South African singer in a couple of outfits, two of them including belly-baring halter tops. Tyla and stylist Lee Trigg, along with assistants, show an affinity for nude- and blue-colored attire, zebra print, thigh-high slit long skirt, and mesh tops. There’s also unquestionable cause for viewers to pay attention to the careful detail of the dancers’ attire as respect is paid to South Africa in the country’s flag colors. Tyla previously told in a feature that her “Water” music video was influenced by Rihanna in the beauty realm, particularly in how the “Lift Me Up” artist “explores different styles.” This rings true not only for 21 year old’s various hairstyles shown in “Water,” but also with her steamy sartorial choices fit for warm, beach-filled nights and the Amapiano-inspired dance routines she and her backup dancers employ under moonlit skies during the second-half of the clip. 

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