Michael Jackson, 1958 - 2009

Michael Jackson died of cardiac arrest earlier today.

The King of Pop will always be remembered as a musical genius, but MJ was no slouch in the fashion department either. The singer was slated to perform in Swarovski for his upcoming tour and had been recently spotted in the majorly coveted Balmain spring blazer he helped inspire.

Here, a look back at the legend and his style through the years.

With his signature single crystal-encrusted glove, tight, high-water pants, leather jackets, aviator glasses and his Jeri-curl hair, Jackson's look was entirely his own. Watered-down versions of his style became the ideal for teens of every race all over the world in the early 1980s.

A child star as part of the Jackson 5, young Michael Jackson grew up before America's eyes, sporting bell-bottom trousers, clingy polyester shirts and a gorgeous Afro. By 1979 with the release of "Off The Wall," he had adopted a sultry look not unlike that of his peers.

But from there on out, Jackson started creating outfits that made his look stand out as much as his music did. His uber-successful "Thriller" -- the best-selling album in history -- came out in 1982, just as MTV took the nation by storm, giving Jackson a ready-made audience eager for edgy looks they could copy.

While he reclined, sexy and relaxed in a white suit and open-collar back shirt on that album's cover, the looks he sported in his videos were far more fantastic

In the video for "Billie Jean," he wore a black tux and red bow tie, dancing his way up the paneled lights of a sidewalk on a desolate streetscape set. The single crystal-covered glove glittered as he introduced the world to his moonwalk, a move so smooth it first looked impossible.

In "Thriller" – the 14-minute mini-movie that launched a million dance moves -- both the man Jackson and werewolf Jackson wore a fitted red leather jacket covered in zippers with matching red pants. That jacket was knocked off in dozens of colors and fabrics including far more proletarian vinyl and canvas, hanging in thousands of high school boys' closets.

In "Beat It," a version of the red jacket appeared again, with the apparently angst-ridden character Jackson played donning it as he summoned his courage to go make peace between two warring gangs.

Even in his non-video life, Jackson wore clothing that called attention to itself. In 1984, he visited with the Reagans in the White House, wearing a blue military style jacket with epaulets, a gold sash and short black pants, looking for all the world like a visiting foreign military dignity save for the single sparkling white glove.

That ensemble presaged the looks he became know for when he released "Bad" in 1987. From there Jackson's style got a little stranger, with reports of multiple plastic surgeries and skin that was visibly lighter all the time. He sometimes appeared in public in baggy, pajama-like clothes, and other times in his military garb.

But even as his reputation suffered from allegations of sexual abuse of children (of which we was cleared), illness and erratic behavior, a certain affection for his 1980s looks has lived on. In March "American Idol" staged a Michael Jackson night, and contestants readily donned cropped jackets and chains and did their best to bring his beloved songs to life.