FASHION: Top 10 Most Popular Trends of 2012


Staff writer Trish Carnahan gives us the lowdown on 2012’s most popular fashion trends, for better or worse.

10. Crop tops
Bellies were bare for Summer ’12. Crop tops made a comeback, showing off the bikini bodies everyone worked so hard for. Worn with shorts, it created a fun, cool, look. Paired with a skirt, it gave a more relaxed, bohemian vibe. Crop tops were especially popular for outdoor music festivals and trips to the beach; it’s always better to have less fabric on a hot day!

This trend is really hard to pull off if your body looks even slightly different than Adriana Lima’s. While Pinterest makes it look awesome, in practice, it makes people look more like fashion victims than total divas. Because they’re baggy, crop tops add unnecessary volume, and where they fall doesn’t always hit the natural waist. Often hiding the slimmest part of the body, this trend isn’t doing most people any favours.

9. Tribal leggings
These started popping up in early fall. As an alternative to plain black or gray, crazy geometric prints have found their way onto the beloved, comfy legging. Great for tucking into boots and pairing with a cozy, monochromatic sweater, tribal leggings are a unique twist on a classic item.

These definitely add visual interest, but they tend to be really hard to pair things with and the print can draw unwanted attention to the leg. Likely doomed to be labelled “that trend of 2012”, these ones should probably be left in the back of a drawer.

8. Bustier tops
Bustier tops have been seen on Katy Perry, Rihanna, Selena Gomez, and most girls in line for Jim Bobs. Essentially, the top has a bra-like look and covers from the top of the chest to the bottom of the ribcage. Most commonly worn with high-waisted skirts, bustier tops add a bit of sex appeal to otherwise cutesy outfits. Many other trends have been incorporated into the bustier top, such as studs, sequins, neon, and florals.

Bustier tops are hot. I said it. They highlight the collarbone, the shoulders, and the, ahem, décolletage. They can be sexy or they can be pretty, depending on what they’re paired with, but this versatility is what makes them great. These tops are often cropped, but because they fit close to the body, if paired with a high-waisted skirt, they can be flattering on a lot of bodies. A tight pencil skirt? Smoking. A flowing maxi skirt? Beautiful. Heck, throw a leather jacket over top and you can rock this look in any weather.

7. Peplum
The peplum, which was last popular in the 80s, was huge in 2012. First appearing on dresses, and then on tops, the idea is that the peplum adds a bit of girly flair to an otherwise simple garment. Typically, it flares at the natural waist, highlighting the slimmest part of the female body. Rocked by both Michelle Williams and Tina Fey at the 2012 Oscars, the peplum definitely had its spotlight moment.

It’s hard to find a flattering peplum if you have a belly. I’m sorry. I feel your pain. The peplum tends to add volume to the lower stomach, and if there is already a bit of volume there, the peplum will amplify it. As pretty as it can be, this definitely isn’t a for-everybody trend, and because it is so difficult to find unanimously flattering variations, I think this trend should probably lie dormant for at least another 20 years.

6. Neon
Coinciding with the surge of rave parties and house music shows, neon clothing has been everywhere. Highlighter-hued tops with neutral skirts, blinding platform heels with little black dresses – neon is a great way to incorporate a trend without a ton of commitment. It’s also a great way to continue wearing classically flattering shapes, with a more playful colour scheme. Plus, the bright colours look great with a tan!

Neon is fun. It’s vibrant, it’s attention-grabbing…but it’s a bit much on an entire shirt, or a pair of leggings. I think it’s an awesome splash of personality when incorporated with a belt, or even a bag or pair of shoes. It’s non-committal, which I love – neon accessories are pretty cheap, and look awesome.

5. Hi-lo skirts
Hi-lo skirts are true to their name: they’re short in the front and long in the back. Over the summer, everyone was wearing them. They could be dressed down for daytime with flip-flops, a tank, and a vest, or dressed up with a sparkly top and heels. They’re generally made of flowy, breathable material, which is an attractive quality on hot days.

I’ve seen these worn a lot of different ways, and the hi-lo skirt is proving itself as a versatile, flattering piece. Adding opaque tights and a wedge boot can easily bring this summer-born trend easily into fall and even winter. Plus, they have the appeal of a mini-skirt while providing ample coverage across the back, which adds a certain comfort level. In contrast, it’s a great way to flirt with the maxi trend without committing to the real deal. The versatility, as well as the multi-season wearability of the hi-lo skirt, makes it a great trend to invest in.

4. Wedges
Wedges manifested themselves in many forms throughout 2012. For summer, wedge sandals were ubiquitous. They’re easy to walk in, they dress up an outfit, and they still do a great job showing off a pedicure. Once the cooler weather hit, wedge boots gained traction as a more casual alternative to a high-heeled boot. It gives all the benefits of a heel, but with a more laid-back vibe. Recently, wedge sneakers hit the scene, marketed as “secret heels.” They add height, with some looking like regular flat sneakers, acting as an even more casual way to rock a heel.

Wedges are a perfect compromise to high-heels. They have an overall arch support that a stiletto will just never achieve. Plus, they add height, but also aren’t too formal. Once limited to a summer sandal version, the fact that wedges are more ubiquitous in boots, brogues, and even sneakers is promising for those, like myself, who want to dress up in heels and be able to walk by the end of the day!

3. Oxblood
This kind-of-red, kind-of-maroon colour exploded in fall fashion magazines. It flatters most skin-tones, can almost act as a neutral, but gives an alternative to the default black-and-grey that seems to overtake cold weather seasons. Oxblood has been found on everything: sweaters, shirts, dresses, tights, jeans, shoes, scarves, and headbands. Paired with tan, it can be preppy; wear it with black and it can be demure. Its versatility is really what makes this colour so popular.

Oxblood acts as a pseudo-neutral, making it pair-able with many different styles and colours, as well as flattering to a variety of skin tones. It’s also a really beautiful hue. However, because it’s dark, it’ll be difficult to carry into spring/summer unless it manifests itself in a pair of coloured denim shorts or some strappy wedges.

2. Chiffon tops
These tops are so versatile, it’s no wonder they’ve been everywhere in 2012. Most commonly found in blouse form, the chiffon top has an aspect of formality, yet the see-through quality adds a bit of sexiness. With a camisole underneath, it’s great for daytime and looser cuts are flattering on every body type. Trade the cami for a bandeau and suddenly it’s evening-appropriate. They can be worn with anything – shorts, pants, or skirts, under sweaters or on their own.

I love chiffon tops. Like the bustier, they’re a perfect balance between sexy and pretty. For winter, I’ve been wearing collared versions under crew-neck sweaters. With their generally flowy shape, these tops can really dress up denim in a comfortable, easy way. They come in every colour, plain or with different embellishments – they’re really versatile, which makes them a good wardrobe staple.

1. Coloured jeans
Coloured skinny jeans have been hugely popular all year. Fire truck red, hunter green, cobalt blue, pink, orange, or yellow – they’re a great way to spice up an everyday outfit. Coloured jeans can also carry from summer to winter by trading a crop-top or flowy chiffon top for a cable knit sweater or denim button-down. This trend has been seen everywhere from tabloids to classrooms to casual Fridays, and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down.

Coloured jeans are fantastic. They have all the classic appeal of regular denim cuts, but the varied hues make them interesting. I think this trend will continue to last, especially as an easy way to incorporate the trendy colours of each season. Hard-to-wear colours like yellow are great for jeans, because they are away from the face. Also, they’re a fantastic way to incorporate favourite colours in a really flattering way!

–Trish Carnahan, OPENWIDE Staff Writer

2 thoughts on “FASHION: Top 10 Most Popular Trends of 2012

  1. Pingback: Classic Hits, the Full-Skirted Dress « As Time Goes…Buy

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