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Frugal Fashion: Rihanna pre-'S&M' at the Billboard Music Awards

May 25, 2011 |  7:30 am

Rihanna The fashion at music events can be transfixing -- more compelling, at times, than the Oscars. The attendees seem a little less stuffy; the dresses and personalities sometimes border on outrageous; and there never seems to be a shortage of moments where I find myself thinking, "What was she thinking?"

Last Sunday's Billboard Music Awards were no exception. Model Nayer draped herself in mens' neck ties, Sinbad attempted to rock a bejeweled pirate blouse, and Fergie went dominatrix in a Hervé Léger by Max Azria Atelier mini. On stage shades of pure white popped up in the form of a military trench for Mary J. Blige, a Michael Jackson-ish suit for Far East Movement frontman Kev Nish and a futuristic Tron-inspired number for Nicki Minaj.

Fire-haired songstress Rihanna, who took home awards for radio artist of the year and best female artist, stole the show in white leather lingerie for a steamy performance of "S&M."

But before Rihanna saddled up for some hip thrusting, pole dancing and a pillow fight with Britney Spears, viewers got to see a very different, much sleeker side of the artist when she walked the red carpet in a tailored men's Max Azria white suit, super-low V-cut blouse, a gold tassel necklace and nude Christian Louboutin heels.

Rihanna's menswear look is sexy and sophisticated, making her all-white attire perfect for your upcoming summer soirees. For a similar style jacket try the Linen boyfriend blazer by Armani Exchange for $130, linen blend blazer from for $27.80, or the Epaulet blazer by Calvin Klein for $99.


For the trousers, you'll want a pair that is high-waisted for more of a feminine touch. Armani Exchange makes a great pair of trousers called the 20th pleated trouser for $88 or try the Nic + Zoe cotton side zip pants for $88.20 on This look would also work with a pair of wide-leg trousers like the Bebe sailor pant for $54.99.


Rihanna's shirt features an extremely low V-cut. This may be appropriate for an awards show but for your next outing you can go as low or as high as you want with these frugal finds: The Sheer pocket shirt from the Gap for $59.95, Bellatrix pleated blouse from for $78, or the Sparkle & Fade Dolman blouse from for $29.99.


Tassels have come back in a big way this season, adding a fun and frilly touch of '70s art deco. For a silver option wear the Twisted dropped-chain necklace from Charlotte Russe for $7.50 or for gold, the mesh loop tassel necklace from for $30.


Happy shopping!

Have an outfit you're dying to buy but need a frugal alternative? Email us a picture. We're up for the challenge.

-- Jenn Harris


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Frugal Fashion: "Twilight's" Anna Kendrick impresses at the Tribeca Film Festival

Photo: Recording artist Rihanna arrives at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena May 22 in Las Vegas. Credit: Isaac Brekken / Getty Images.

Blazer photo: From left, Linen boyfriend blazer from Armani Exchange. Credit: Armani Exchange; linen blend blazer from Forever 21. Credit:; epaulet blazer by Calvin Klein. Credit: Calvin Klein.  

Pants photo: From left, 20th pleated trouser by Armani Exchange. Credit: Armani Exchange; Nic + Zoe cotton pants. Credit:; Bebe sailor pant; Credit: Bebe.

Blouse photo: From left, Sheer pocket shirt from the Gap. Credit: The Gap; Bellatrix pleated blouse from Nordstrom. Credit:; Sparkle & Fade Dolman blouse. Credit:  

Necklace photo: From left, Twister dropped-chain necklace from Charlotte Russe. Credit:; Mesh loop tassel necklace. Credit: