The Biggest Fashion Trends of 2012

2012, you little minx. You were so fancy. If we’d known we’d be in for so many treats on the trend front, we’d have skipped 2011 altogether. So many things were trendy in 2012, like loving One Direction, hating on Kristen Stewart, talking about Girls a lot, and Instragramming every second of your life. Back in June I even sat next to some tradge woman at a show in Paris, who told me she was a professional Instagrammer. Also trendy in 2012: Hillary Clinton (preferably with a power shot and a pop cultural caption), random cats on the Internet, and shortening words (totes addictive). But trends are nothing without fashion, and thankfully, 2012 was generous on that side of the fence, too. Here are the biggest style and fashion trends of the year the world ended.

Raf Simons

You literally couldn’t spend a minute on Twitter this summer without Raf Simons’ name popping up. Raf was made Creative Director at Christian Dior, his hordes of diehard fans went crazy, and so did everyone else – especially when they saw his stripped-down couture and ready-to-wear debut collections for the house, which are kick-starting are new era of Dior splendour.

Not using your sleeves

Almost as popular as Raf, not using your sleeves was a runaway hit in 2012. Everywhere you went people we letting it all hang out, and the bloggers went mad for it. Who knew using a jacket as a cape could change your whole wardrobe? People that did it: all fashion editors, general thin people, and Victoria Beckham.


In 2012 Downtown Abbey was to the 25+ segment what One Direction was to teenage girls. And Lady Sybill didn’t die for nothing. Designers like Marc Jacobs (for Louis Vuitton) and magazines like LOVE went all out on the Edwardian vibes, and the black-and-white loving fashion world eagerly followed troop.


We have Miuccia Prada, Jonathan Saunders, Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo, SIBLING, and Nicolas Ghesquire to thank for the glamorisation of the jumper. For years, it seemed, no woman would be caught dead wearing one and all of a sudden, everyone was dressing like after ski party – even at parties.


In 2012 it didn’t really matter what you wore as long as it had a Kenzo logo on it. When it comes to exposure, the year undoubtedly belonged Humberto Leon and Carol Lim – who took over at Kenzo last year – and all those embroidered Kenzo logo jumpers and caps.

Double-breasted jackets

I’m not totally sure if this has filtered into younger non-fashion circles yet, but I did see a couple of double-breasted jackets at Topman the other day so I’m calling it a trend. All the menswear editors wore double-breasted jackets this year, and a lot of them did in a 1970s way. Double the fun etc.


It was between the underwater trend and the pastels for spring/summer 2012, and the pastels more than won. Apparently it wasn’t better down where it’s wetter, and there wasn’t a self-respecting fashion house that didn’t do pastels in 2012. Everyone from Hollywood actresses to 14-year-old girls got the memo, and everything was just. So. Pretty.

Maison Martin Margiela

Leave it to H&M to create a worldwide trend spectacle the size of Prince Harry’s naked picture scandal. MMM did H&M and everyone talked about it, queued for it, and wore it. Where was the famously anonymous Martin at the height of his old house’s newfound hype and glory? Nobody knows. Maybe he was queuing up next to you.


For all us royalists, 2012 was a godsend. Just in time for the Queen’s jubilee, everyone from Louis Vuitton to Erdem and Comme des Garçon jumped on the royal bandwagon, with tiara-infused collections resembling Mid-Century debutante balls. And the pastel-wearing masses ate it up. God save the Queen!


Not wearing two different prints together was a globally universal fashion faux pas until 2012 came along and changed all the rules. The more the merrier was the only rule in the world of prints this year, which gave the bloggers a bunch of people to photograph and the people who wanted to get photographed some really easy photo ops.


Even Duchess Kate wore them, Chanel did them in a creeper version, and when Victoria Beckham was seen in a pair, you knew they’d taken over the world. Flats for women finally broke through in 2012 and gave all you ladies who like to complain about your heels a lot of free time to complain about other things. Like Kristen Stewart, for instance.


I was convinced this trend would never catch on, but lo and behold, the women of the world were more than up for a peplum. On dresses, on tops, big or small, the peplum was sticking out everywhere, giving us the perhaps strangest trend of the year.

Cocktail trousers

Stupid little dresses have been a fixture in fashion for way too long so a lot of us were thrilled to see a female audience embrace the cocktail trouser: that slim trouser which always comes in a fabulous print. Prada and Holly Fulton did them well, and most people looked better in them than they did in dresses. TBH.

(Images via Imaxtree)

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