Rihanna's "I'm Retired" T-Shirt Dress Sends Fans Waiting for New Music Into a Spiral

But it might not be sending the message fans think it is.

Rihanna wearing a blue I'm retired t shirt dress by connor ives with a green bottega veneta bag while walking in new york city
(Image credit: Backgrid)

There's no way fans could have missed the message on Rihanna's upcycled Conner Ives T-shirt dress.

Photos surfaced on Thursday, June 6, of Rihanna in New York City with her longtime partner, A$AP Rocky. While A$AP was dressed down in a low-key polo sweater and jeans, Rihanna was a walking billboard in a blue graphic T-shirt dress with a major declaration in large white letters: "I'm Retired." In a smaller font the sold-out shirt dress continues, "This is as dressed-up as I get." That sentiment translated into Rihanna's pairing of the fluted-skirt dress with a lime green Bottega Veneta East-West bag and $90 Puma sneakers.

Rihanna walks in new york city wearing an im retired t shirt dress by connor ives with puma sneakers

Rihanna wore a T-shirt dress upcycled from a tee that declares, "I'm Retired." Naturally, fans freaked out.

(Image credit: Backgrid)

The moment photos of Rihanna's dress hit fan accounts on the website formerly known as X, fans had a meltdown (to put it mildly). Rihanna has not released a new album since 2016's Anti, and the community known as Rihanna's Navy joke that the singer's EP from nearly a decade ago was also her last. A shirt with "I'm Retired" printed in unmissable letters seemed like confirmation of their worst Spotify streaming fears.

"It's giving expect no album," one X user wrote while racking up several hundred likes. Others held out hope that the shirt could work in the fandom's favor: "Y'all relax, that's just the name of her new album," another said.

According to the designer behind her dress—and Rihanna's recent movements—it might not be either of those things.

Conner Ives confirmed Rihanna's piece was the brand's "30s slip maxi dress" on Instagram. The London-based, New York-raised designer, who founded his eponymous brand in 2020, exclusively uses deadstock and upcycled fabric in each and every piece. The vintage tees used in Rihanna's dress were definitely for a reason, though Ives kept the meaning concealed: "Always sending messages ;)" he captioned the post.

Of course, Rihanna is otherwise too booked and busy to actually be retired. This week, she announced that her Fenty empire would expand to include hair products on June 13. (Yes, a Marie Claire review is coming soon.) While her T-shirt dress says there's a limit to how she gets dressed, her street style proves otherwise: After skipping the 2024 Met Gala, Rihanna has been out and about in everything from vintage outfits and dresses to slinky black leather blazers.

Then there's the music itself: It may be taking its sweet time, but both Rihanna and A$AP Rocky have joked that fresh songs are fact, on the way. "She’s working on it," Rocky told fans in February.

Rihanna wearing a vintage sweatsuit in new york city

Rihanna definitely isn't retired from turning looks. She's spent the last month in New York City wearing outfits from this vintage sweatsuit to a catwoman-esque leather blazer dress.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Graphic tees with semi-ironic messages are proliferating across celebrity street style and the runways. At New York Fashion Week this February, designer Batsheva Hay released a sweater with "HAG" knitted into the front in bold white letters. Dior also repurposed words used to disparagingly describe women onto a top at its recent show in Scotland. On the sidewalks, both Zendaya and Jennifer Lawrence wore Loewe's "I Told Ya" T-shirt featured in the tennis flick Challengers this spring.

As with any celebrity message, nothing that clothes appear to say is confirmed until the person wearing it makes a statement. So for now, don't assume that Rihanna is actually "retired."

Halie LeSavage
Senior News Editor (Fashion & Beauty)

Halie LeSavage is the senior fashion and beauty news editor at Marie Claire, where she assigns, edits, and writes stories for both sections. Halie is an expert on runway trends, celebrity style, emerging fashion and beauty brands, and shopping (naturally). In over seven years as a professional journalist, Halie’s reporting has ranged from fashion week coverage spanning the Copenhagen, New York, Milan, and Paris markets, to profiles on industry insiders including stylist Alison Bornstein and J.Crew womenswear creative director Olympia Gayot, to breaking news stories on noteworthy brand collaborations and beauty launches. (She can personally confirm that Bella Hadid’s Ôrebella perfume is worth the hype.) She has also written dozens of research-backed shopping guides to finding the best tote bags, ballet flats, and more. Most of all, Halie loves to explore what trends—like the rise of doll-like Mary Janes or TikTok’s 75 Hard Style Challenge—can say about culture writ large. (She justifies almost any purchase by saying it’s “for work.”) Halie has previously held writer and editor roles at Glamour, Morning Brew, and Harper’s Bazaar. Halie has been cited as a fashion and beauty expert in The Cut, CNN Underscored, and Reuters, among other outlets, and appears in newsletters like Selleb and Self-Checkout to provide shopping recommendations. In 2022, she was awarded the Hearst Spotlight Award for excellence and innovation in fashion journalism. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Harvard College. Outside of work, Halie is passionate about books, baking, and her miniature Bernedoodle, Dolly. For a behind-the-scenes look at her reporting, you can follow Halie on Instagram and TikTok.