Rihanna's 'Bitch Better Have My Money' pantsuit is a play on power, gender, and shady accountants

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Pantsuits = power. Mob kingpins get it. Hillary Rodham Clinton gets it… and so does Rihanna.

Brandishing a myriad of knives and dangerous hardware throughout the explosive, twisted, and chicly demented seven minute visual for her hit single, "Bitch Better Have My Money," the vengeful pop princess realizes that donning a pant suit can be as intimidating as a finely sharpened blade.


The blood-soaked video is dripping with menswear-inspired pieces, from her pinstriped Adam Selman and Tom Ford dusters, to her baker-boy caps, to the PVC-and-leather loafers she dons with a fur-trimmed chartreuse bustier.

But it's the pantsuit she reserves for the takedown of her mortal enemy, the fraudulent accountant. Sauntering into the home of the man we can only assume has embezzled millions from a seething RiRi, the legs of her oversized trousers cooly and quietly thrash back and forth, the silhouette her suit cuts belying the anger bubbling underneath. Though she's dragged a vintage LV trunk carrying human cargo up flights of stairs, she's hardly perspiring; she means all fucking business.


The power RiRi draws from this style is a fashion statement that has persisted for almost a century now, what with Marlene Dietrich revolutionizing the two-piece in the 1920s much to the horror and awe of Hollywood, with Katherine Hepburn to follow in the 1940s.

German-born American film star Marlene Dietrich (1901 - 1992) dressed in men's top hat and tails from the film 'Morocco'. (Photo by Eugene-Robert Richee/Getty Images)
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The idea of a woman donning menswear to denote authority hardly seems revolutionary now, as gender is constantly being rewritten and redefined, but its employment continues to remind us of the unrestrained female body. As its first iteration reveals, the woman removed from a corset is no longer physically confined, and moves about freely in the same manner as her male counterpart. RiRi breaking into the accountant's home in this ensemble asserts her dominance over an otherwise male space.

But what's so telling about the modern employment of the pantsuit is RiRi slipping into that latex dress in the next shot, to strike the final blow. Perhaps she does not wish to get blood splatter on her houndstooth. Or maybe she simply wants to remind her victim of the plastic she'll most likely be using to dispose of his body. Either way, the vengeful assassin is all woman, the outline of her nipples visible and her entire back revealed.


In fact, the ultimate suit she chooses to don is that of the "birthday" variety. Fully naked and covered in bloody dollar bills, the video ends with a shot of RiRi languishing in the power her female form yields.


Marjon Carlos is a style and culture writer for Fusion who boasts a strong turtleneck game and opinions on the subjects of fashion, gender, race, pop culture, and men's footwear.

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