It's official: 2011 was a banner year for fashion, and chock-full of new trends, new people, and new products that made personal style something to get really excited about again. After battling it out in the office, our editorial team has finally settled on the 20 people, fashion phenomenons, and trends that really mattered to us...and you. From the most compelling businesswoman to the R29 reader who earns an honorary staff title, here are the bright spots from 2011 that have made this past year one for the books.
Splurge That Left Most Women Broke — The PS1
Even for gals who would never imagine paying more for a bag than their rent, the PS1 had a very serious draw. This bag broke many a thrifty lady with its good looks and practical features. The hardest part of acquiring a bag wasn't subsisting on hummus for a month…it was deciding on which color to buy.
Photo: Via Net-a-Porter
Most Popular Nail DIY — Marble Nails
Probably one of our most labor-intensive nail-art DIYs ever, Global Editor Connie showed us how to make a huge mess while getting yourself some pretty impressive marbleized nails. Pro tip: A reader suggested using Vaseline instead of tape for an easier clean-up!
Photographed by Spreadhouse
Most Compelling Businesswoman — Tavi
Though she might not legally be allowed to drive to her own business meetings, Tavi has managed to build one of the most recognizable (and readily monetized) brands based on her Style Rookie blog. By making smart decisions, she's also launched her web property Rookie Mag with the respect and admiration of not only her loyal readers, but rival publications all around.
Photo: Courtesy of Tavi
Biggest Girl Crush — Beyonce
She's a mogul, an idol, a killer singer, dancer, entertainer, and performer… not to mention a wife, sister, daughter, and mother-to-be. It's 2012, and Beyoncé is one of the most impressive do-it-all role models around. We love you, Be!
Photo: Gregory Pace/BEImages
Biggest Guy Crush — Ryan Gosling
Do we even have to explain? We loved him in The Notebook
. We loved him in Half Nelson
. We loved him even more when he broke up a fight outside our office
. The man's the perfect amalgamation of sensitivity, strength, brains, and brawn — and the man likes funny socks
Photo: Via Drive
Most Valuable Reader — Fanya V.
Fanya — we love you! Reader Fanya V is a dedicated reader and leaves thoughtful comments on the regular. Says Fanya about our influence on her day-to-day: "I had two nail polishes before I started reading your articles, now I've got 10. Ha!" Glad we could help!
Photo: Courtesy of Fanya
Unlikeliest It Bag — Cambridge Satchel
We've said it once
, and we'll say it again — this was a banner year for the brightly colored leather satchel. Who knew that fluorescent messenger bags could be so universally coveted?
Photo: Via Modcloth
Most Wanted Jewelry Designer — Dannijo
The Dannijo sisters first started creating jewelry as a capsule project with fundraising initiative L.W.A.L.A.
, and quickly built their jewelry passions into a mega-successful brand. The duo create wonderfully in-your-face jewels that satisfy both the lady and the tramp in every woman — finally, gemstones and studs can live in harmony!
Photo: Via Dannijo
The New Street Style Star — Preetma Singh
Former R29 intern and current Vogue assistant, Preetma Singh is quickly becoming a fixture in the street style community with her refined good looks, superstar thrifting skills (most of her designer pieces are sample sale scores), and whimsical twists.
Photographed by Michelle Peralta
Best New Store — Joe Fresh
An import from Canada, Joe Fresh
's new U.S. stores bring a fun, affordable
new shop stateside, offering classic, on-trend must-haves at realistic prices. More often than not, whenever we admire a hard-to-place new piece on one of our peers, it's from Joe Fresh, and she paid less than $50 for it.
Photo: Via Joe Fresh
Best Cheap Thrill — Friendship Bracelets
This year seemed like 1999 all over again, in more ways than one. This time, it wasn't summer campers trading friendship bracelets, but women who wanted an affordable, noncommittal bit of wrist candy to add to their arm party. Whether they were handmade, laced with rhinestones, or slapped on by the bunch, friendship bracelets were the season's most-shared and obsessed accessory.
Photographed by Tracy Wang
Visionary of the Year — Jenna Lyons
Jenna Lyons has built the J.Crew product, aesthetic, and story into one that's instantly recognizable and copied everywhere. As a testament to hard work, vision, and true iconoclastic leadership, Jenna Lyons has programmed a little bit of J.Crew spirit into every woman's brain when she gets dressed in the morning. Next time you pair leopard and neon together, thank the Lyon.
Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com
Best New Beauty Product — Sally Hansen Nail Strips
We buy 'em up by the bushel because it's literally a two-week-long manicure you can do at home. Seriously revolutionary, this nail art product is one we'll continue to scour drugstores for.
Photo: Courtesy of Sally Hansen
Most-Obsessed New Designer — Sandro
You should have heard the collective gasp when the R29 team received the latest Sandro lookbook in the mail. The clothing itself is everything we want to be — classic, imaginative, unfussy, well-constructed, and versatile…throw a pair of sneakers and a detachable collar into the mix, and we're sold.
Photo: Courtesy of Sandro
Best Trend Revival — '90s Neon
Tapered pants, Versace-esque minis, candy-colored accessories, the revival of '90s neon definitely took inspiration from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air's windbreaker look, but in this new modern iteration, it's sophisticated and flattering on almost anyone.
Natalie Joos, Photographed by Melanie Galea
Best Emerging Buzzword — Man Repelling
Leandra Medine has made dressing for yourself and other fashion appreciators not only a movement, but the buzzword of 2011.
Photographed by Mark Iantosca
The Caption This! That Captured Our Hearts
Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you all sign into Facebook to contribute to our Caption This! contest. This buck-wild editorial image
was a particularly provocative one — providing us with not two, but four winners.
Photo: Courtesy of Antidote
Trend That Completely Befuddled Us — The Full Pajama
Showing up on more editorial shoots than we could count, the head-to-toe pajama (yes, we're talking about the white-trimmed, button-down, silk pajama set) was heralded as fashion's answer to the velour jumpsuit. While it might have been Vogue-approved, we found it just plain silly.
Photo: Courtesy of Louis Vuitton
Best Collaboration — Versace for H&M
Versace for H&M might not have broken websites or caused soccer moms to completely lose it in the suburbs, but it was the best manifestation of the high-low team-up we've ever seen. Without skimping on style, fit, or tradition, the Versace for H&M collab brought a bit of Italian glamour to those of us who might live in places where the most Italian thing in sight is an Olive Garden.
Photo: Courtesy of H&M
Lifetime Achievement Award — Evelyn Lauder
Evelyn Lauder passed away last month, and left a legacy full of charitable initiatives, including The Pink Ribbon for breast cancer awareness, The Evelyn and Leonard Lauder Foundation, and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, all the while running one of the largest beauty empires in the world. Evelyn, they sure did break the mold.
Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com