What we wore in '11- and can keep on wearing, stylishly

Spaghetti strap maxi, Jean Paul Gaultier, $750, at Joan Shepp. Sheared rabbit fur vest,Linda Richards, $525, at Nicole Miller. Mulberry hat, Rag & Bone, $150, at Joan Shepp. Inquirer Fall 2011 Fashion.
Spaghetti strap maxi, Jean Paul Gaultier, $750, at Joan Shepp. Sheared rabbit fur vest,Linda Richards, $525, at Nicole Miller. Mulberry hat, Rag & Bone, $150, at Joan Shepp. Inquirer Fall 2011 Fashion. (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer)
Posted: December 28, 2011

With New Year's Eve just days away, it's time to look back at what we've been wearing all year - and ahead to 2012.

The year started out Mad Men classic, featuring feather-gray cap-sleeved sheaths and midcalf pencil skirts in 1940s charcoals and navy blues.

Hemlines dropped to ankle-length, and we had the summer of the maxi-dress. By fall we were adding bohemian flair with faux fur vests. (It was all so Sonny & Cher.)

Let's not forget the extreme accessories. Accent nails, the pompadour, and the fascinator were big looks for summer. Feather earrings may dangle through yet another summer, but feathered hair extensions are over. (Sorry, Steven Tyler.)

For 2012, we're putting our long money on the pared-down silhouettes and bold color combinations of yesteryear. Think bold-hued simplicity and don't forget to color-block.

One trend that's been here for a while: shopping your closet. In that spirit, here's a list of 2011 pieces you own and trends you've adopted that will be just as chic in 2012.

Bright-colored skinny pants. Skinny jeans ruled in rust and red this fall, but we are predicting the spring skinny will be cobalt blue and purple.

Print blouses. Now that pants and skirts have eclipsed dresses, we've found ourselves adopting dressy print blouses with a certain fervor not seen since the 1990s. "Blouses are my best-selling item," said Andrea Pileggi, owner of Center City's Pileggi Boutique.

The luggage tote. Celine's mini-luggage tote was the 2011 must-have bag. However, those of us who couldn't afford the two-toned midsized bag settled for knockoffs because we liked the ease and size that accommodates everything from laptops to tablets. "Totes will be around through summer," said Joan Shepp of the Joan Shepp boutique in Center City.

Sportswear-inspired clothing. Leggings, tunics, and long-sleeved T's dominated our wardrobes in the spring, as we layered for style as much as comfort. At the September runway shows, designers Victoria Beckham, Adam Lippes, and even Diane von Furstenberg showed racer-back tanks, drawstring sweats, and jumpsuits in primary colors and stripes for 2012. "I see our customers pairing racer-back tops with trousers that translate well from day to night," Pileggi said.

Bold lips. Winter's red lip will go orange for spring and pink for summer. "Pigment is key for lips," said Ursula Augustine, makeup artist at Ursula's About Phace. "Creamier lips are key, an effect you just can't get from gloss."

The wedge. We stood taller in our summer maxi-dresses thanks to wedge-heeled shoes, and we'll continue to do so. "Wedges are moving beyond cork," said Shepp. "People still want heels, but they want them comfortable."

Tights. Legs will continue to pop with texture. Black and gray work, but cobalt and mustard are better. Try pairing tights with wedge sandals for a truly mod look.

1920s- and 1930s-inspired looks. Faux fur shrugs. Cocktail rings. Strands of pearls. Calf-length hemlines. Pocket squares. Boardwalk Empire. "We have been very influenced by all things Depression-era chic," explained Marian Salzman, president of Euro RSCG, a New York-based trend-spotting agency. Vintage and retro will be strong, and we'll be looking all the way back to the early 20th century for ideas.

Long-sleeved gowns. This slow-growing after-hours trend first hit the red carpet in 2010 when Meryl Streep was elegant in a long-sleeved cream Chris March gown. In April, Princess Kate wowed us with her lacy Alexander McQueen long-sleeved wedding gown, and this fall celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and Anne Hathaway were spotted in body-skimming long-sleeved gowns with cutout backs.

Hollywood hair. Tousled side ponytails were big for a bit. Now they have been let loose, framing the face in soft waves for a look that will last through spring. "We are seeing shoulder-length hair come back in richer colors," said Christopher Brown, a stylist at Bernard's Salon and Day Spa in Cherry Hill. "The loose wave is coming back."


Contact fashion writer Elizabeth Wellington at 215-854-2704, ewellington@phillynews.com, or @ewellingtonphl on Twitter.

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