Dear Miss Janet (or shall I say, Miss Jackson 'cause I'm NASTY),

You turn 45 years old today. I was born the year after you released your breakthrough album, Control. Coincidence? I don't remember when I began listening to it, but I can't remember anything else, so I assume you were always my first and thus my favorite.

Becoming your own before our eyes, as the littlest Jackson, you were also the funkiest and perhaps the most relatable. By the time I started finding my own identity, you had already found yours. Evolving from the modest, buttoned-up early days of the Control and Rhythm Nation 1814 eras, you saw the '90s as an exploration into your own sexuality and emotion. In that time, you found your signature silhouette -- the top-heavy, revealed midriff and baggy bottoms with sharp, tailored shoulders -- a domineering aesthetic that both eased your athletic choreography and displayed your impeccable bod for the world to see. I can see that it's your most comfortable style throughout the years since it's what's developed most into how we see you today: the healthy, powerful, provocative, glamorous and sexually independent woman you are.

Style-wise, you've always been seamless in matching your hard-hitting sound with what you're wearing at the moment. You've always set your own trends -- menswear, braids, key earrings, harem pants -- rather than following them and you've had some pretty definitive looks over the years. As a member of America's most famous family, you've achieved iconic status all on your own.

You've schooled an entire generation of musicians and it shows even today, not only in moves but in style and attitude. See Ciara or Jennifer Lopez, for instance - I bet it's a total déjà vu at times.

Follow me as we travel through yesteryear, remembering all the looks you pioneered.

Love always,
Marcus Holmlund of Smoke and Mirrors