Why it Works: Rihanna in a Maxi Dress. No, Really.

(Photos by FameFlynetPictures)

Yes, you read the title right. This is a story about Rihanna. That's her above. Don't recognize her without her usual, um, out-there gear? Exactly our point.

The pint-sized, uber-vampy pop star who pals around with Katy Perry and has more number-one hits than she has doorknocker earrings is known for hitting the street in, well, far more provocative get-ups. Here, we're mad about the megastar's surprisingly demure costume change, snapped outside her London hotel last week.

The Dress: It may be black, but for Rhi Rhi, this is as close as you get to church-going sartorial. Top to toe accordion pleats aren't generally the stuff that flattering is made of, but on Rhianna's flawless figure the effect is positively statuesque.

The Shades: A goggle shape befitting a relatively harmless cartoon villain, these sunnies have a surreal wit about them, adding personality to what might otherwise be a somber-chic ensemble.

The Hair: A glossy, My Little Pony–perfect addition. The extension is so impeccably matched to Rhianna's natural hair that we almost wondered what magical vitamin elixir she popped to turn Rapunzel overnight.

The Earrings: A perfectly sassy finishing touch, Rhianna's nickname-emblazoned earrings  anchor the look with a cheeky Salt-N-Pepa–indebted reminder that "subdued" is just not in her vocabulary.