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Not only was Madonna a style icon, I have coveted her chameleon-like hair for since the "Like A Virgin" days. My favorite style? Number one, without a doubt, is the "Express Yourself" platinum curly bob.

My Date with Madonna

Posted: Tuesday, Mar. 13, 2012

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Rachel Sutherland

Rachel Sutherland has been a professional journalist for 14 years, most recently as the Style Editor for the Charlotte Observer. Her writing and styling work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the country. She is often a featured guest on syndicated radio programs The Matt & Ramona Show and The Satisfied Life. Find her at www.rachelsutherland.net or email her: rachel@rachelsutherland.net.

Madge is coming to see me in November.

Well, not just me, but she is coming to Charlotte and I do have a ticket. I can barely breathe — I will be seeing the Material Girl in concert for the first time ever and needless to say, I am beyond excited, some eight months in advance.

My Madonna playlist has been in heavy rotation and nary a day has passed when I haven’t thought to myself at least once to myself — What am I going to wear to the show?

See, if you’re a girl (or a boy — Madonna-worship knows no gender boundaries) in your mid-to-late 30s, there is simply no other 1980s style icon. Period. And, she’s from Michigan too. There are few places or memories in my life that can’t be tied to her influence Madonna.

I have lost count of the number of years in a row that I dressed up as Madonna (I use a snapshot of one of those looks on my bio page for my company’s website). Or how many times I tried to wear my rosaries as necklaces.

I can vividly recall how I longed for a pair of mesh fingerless gloves just like Madonna’s and how in awe I was of the literal wall of black jelly bracelets at Express (because she pre-dated the Manrepeller with arm parties, but Madge’s were of the black rubber variety). And I can remember like it was yesterday my mom being upset that I cut a Barbie’s hair to look more like Madonna’s and drew a rosary around the doll’s neck with a Sharpie.

Madonna’s influence extends past fashion and style straight on to business acumen and overall philosophy: She is a badass who does what she wants, is wildly successful and has made a very profitable career out of building on her strengths and trusting her instincts.

She refuses to conform in order to fit someone else’s idea of what she should be, while still growing and changing (especially her personal style) over the years.

I’ve got some time — eight months or so — to figure out the perfect concert-going ensemble. I might just throw in a pair of mesh gloves, black Wayfarers and a tiered skirt just for old-times sake.

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