The Material Girl's icon status can be chalked up to one very important trait: fearlessness. From the moment she arrived in New York's Times Square in 1978, Madonna had a pluck and attitude that came through no matter what she was wearing: in those days it was likely torn jeans, a white tee and a treasure trove of jewelry. Over the years her style statements evolved with her music -- lacy underwear as outerwear, fingerless gloves, stacks of jelly bracelets and a crucifix for Like a Virgin; black leather jacket and a white tee, plus a platinum crop for True Blue; the famous Gaultier cone bra and sharply-tailored suits for Blonde Ambition; and throwback '70s disco glam, complete with a Farrah Fawcett coif for Confessions on a Dance Floor. Though her days of dressing purely for shock value (please recall the S&M stylings of the Erotica era) are gone, Madonna still always manages to retain our interest.
Signature items: cleavage-baring silhouettes, underwear as outerwear, precisely-tailored suiting, a crucifix.
By: iVillage (Photo Credit: Jim Steinfeld, Getty Images)