Cyndi Lauper is considered a style icon because of her radical looks, but at one point she tried to be more conservative! In an exclusive interview with People, Lauper talked about her style, including the period of time where she attempted to look more normal. "I did things differently," Lauper said with a laugh.

Cyndi Lauper attends the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards on January 26, 2020.

Lauper "always wanted to combine music and art" in fashion

Lauper's bright red hair, layered vintage looks, and array of bangles and beads made her a trendsetter from the moment she arrived on the music scene. In her early 20s, she picked up most of her style cues from the New York vintage shop Screaming Mimis.

"A lot of people thought I messed up fashion a bit, but you’ve got to mix it up," Lauper said. "You can’t always be conservative—especially if you’re an artist. That’s the story of my life. I always wanted to combine music and art".

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Cyndi Lauper arrives for Billboard's 2019 Woman of the Year on December 12, 2019.

Lauper admits that she once "gave up" on expressing herself

Lauper said that after her son Declan was born, she attempted to dial her wild style back in an effort to blend in with the other moms at his school more. "There was a long period when I just stopped," Lauper admitted. "Somebody told me, ‘Why don’t you just wear jeans and a t-shirt?’ And so in 2005, I just gave up and started doing that".

However, straying away from her signature style in favour of a more toned-down look didn't make Lauper feel like herself. "I felt like I wasn’t really comfortable in my own skin," Lauper said. It wasn't until she ended up working with pop star Lady Gaga that she regained her confidence.

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Lady Gaga and Cyndi Lauper attend the amfAR New York Gala co-sponsored by MAC Cosmetics to Kick Off Fall 2010 Fashion Week on February 10, 2010.

Lauper on Lady Gaga's influence: "she woke me up a little"

Lauper told People why the collaboration with Gaga was so influential for her when it came to re-establishing her sense of self. "Then I did this thing with Lady Gaga, and she woke me up a little," she revealed. "What was great about working with her was I didn’t have to worry about looking like a freak. I am a bit of a freak!" 

The encounter was a transformative one for Lauper, who went back to her style roots not long after. "I thought, no one is going to be looking at me. I can put colors in my hair. I’m just more comfortable like that," she said.