The 30 Best Fashion Moments of 2020
We may have spent a lot of time at home, but we didn't sacrifice style.
It's nice to imagine that, years from now, we'll look back at 2020, sigh loudly, and say, "Wow, remember that?" At some point in the future, this year will seem like a long yet distant nightmare — but even now we can see that it wasn't all terrible. We experienced a historic election, slowed down a bit, and suddenly felt more grateful for little things we may have taken for granted before, like hugs from family members and having a reason to put on shoes. We watched a ton of great TV and movies, and despite the fact that we spent so much much time at home, there was still plenty of style worth talking about, from celebrity outfits to reimagined runways.
So, what were the best fashion moments of 2020? Which red carpet events and costumes will say on our mind once this year is in the rearview? Check out our full list, ahead.
All of Harry Styles' Outfits
Pearl necklaces, multi-colored knit sweaters, vests — somehow, the singer was on top of every major trend before the rest of the world caught on (and, at times, definitely helped to influence it). Aside from providing us with outfit inspiration, he gave us an unforgettable Vogue cover, for which he wore a dress.
Mary-Janes — and, specifically, Mary-Janes paired with white socks, which remind us of doll shoes — popped up on plenty of well dressed women this year, from Sarah Jessica Parker to Zoë Kravitz. This trend is extremely versatile: These shoes look just as great with a dress as they do a pair of jeans.
Jodie Turner-Smith's BAFTA Gown
Maternity style queen! Prior to welcoming her first child with Joshua Jackson, Turner-Smith stepped out on the red carpet wearing this bright yellow design, which highlighted her pregnancy and left us stunned.
Meghan Markle's Kelly Green Look For Her Final Royal Engagement
In January, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex decided to step down as senior members of the British Royal Family — although Meghan has continued her reign as the ultimate style icon. While she's sent plenty of messages through her outfits over the past year, her green dress and cape from the couple's final royal engagement at the Commonwealth Service will no doubt go down in history.
Princess Beatrice's Wedding Gown and Tiara
Princess Beatrice married Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi a secret ceremony this past July, but even without a real-time, TV viewing, we couldn't stop obsessing over her wedding look, mostly because it all belonged to Queen Elizabeth. On top of saying "I do" in a vintage Norman Hartnell gown from her grandmother, the royal accessorized with Queen Mary’s Diamond Fringe Tiara, which is the same one Queen Elizabeth wore for her big day as well.
Seeing how quickly these vegan leather purses sell out, it's safe to assume they're a hot commodity in the fashion world. There's just so much to love about this Black-owned, New-York-based brand, whether it's the timeless designs, fun color choices, a reasonable price tag, and a long list of notable fans, from U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Oprah.
Once the pandemic hit and we began spending most of our time at home, comfy clothes replaced jeans and other restricting styles. The matching sweat set was the happy medium between an actual outfit and something cozy enough for days spent working from our couches. Plus, it's a celebrity favorite.
Speaking of sweatsuits, the most popular picks came in one specific eye-catching pattern. Tie-dye took over sweatshirts, T-shirts, socks, and even sneakers, and the more we spotted these vibrant mixes, the more we wanted them in our own wardrobe. Luckily, we all had plenty of time to experiment with DIYs.
Jean Paul Gaultier’s Last Fashion Show
With a career spanning over 50 years, the designer decided it was time to say goodbye on his own terms — and he definitely did it in style. January's Haute Couture Spring 2020 show in Paris became a major celebration, and included celebrity models and nods to Gaultier's most famous designs, such as the the sailor motif. At the end of the event, he was met with roaring cheers and was even lifted up into the air.
Natalie Portman's Oscars Cape
Many outfits caught our eye at the 2020 Oscars, but none had the same impact as what Natalie Portman wore. While the ornate gold design was definitely gorgeous, it was actually the trim on the actress' cape that begged for a close up, since it included the names of women who had been snubbed for the Best Director award.
Shirts Honoring Breonna Taylor at the Emmys
Without a true red carpet, stars were able to wear whatever they wanted to the 2020 Emmys. Some chose pajamas while others went with gowns, a handful of celebrities took the opportunity to make powerful statements, paying tribute to Breonna Taylor with T-shirts. It was a way to raise awareness about the case, in which Taylor was fatally shot by police in her apartment, and draw attention to the Black Lives Matter movement.
We had plenty of reminders about the importance of voting in 2020, and one of the most attention-grabbing methods involved. Michelle Obama gave us a subtle push with a "Vote" necklace from ByChari, a Black-owned Los Angeles jewelry brand, while Dr. Jill Biden supported her husband's run for president with Stuart Weitzman "Vote" boots.
Zendaya's Emmy’s Look
Not only did Zendaya make history at 24 when she became the youngest person to take home the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama, she did it in a custom, polka-dotted design by Giorgio Armani Privé. We'll for sure be daydreaming about this glamorous, fashion moment for...ever.
Due to Covid-19, events that typically included large gatherings, such as Fashion Week, were reimagined as digital presentations. It was a small yet significant tweak that made us rethink how much we actually need these in-person shows, since this time around, we got even better view at the stunning designs. One of our favorite virtual runways this year was definitely Chanel's Métiers d'Art show, which did include a single VIP guest: Kristen Stewart, chilling on a bench as the models walked by.
The Savage x Fenty Show
Rihanna also got creative for the Savage X Fenty Vol. 2 show, taking the super sexy extravaganza to Amazon Prime. On top of giving us a look at all the sexy lingerie, the streamable runway featured serious star power, with major celebrities like Lizzo, Paris Hilton, and Demi Moore all popping up.
The Reign of the ‘Ugly’ Shoe
Crocs, Birkenstocks, Ugg boots — these babies replaced uncomfortable heels and strappy styles in 2020. And, to be quite honest, our feet are very grateful.
We initially felt weird about investing in designer face masks, but as the pandemic continued, this protective piece became an outfit essential and our collections increased. We've since matched them to our outfits, added bold colors and prints to the mix, and even realized the value of a mask chain.
It's possible that both TikTok and an affinity for loose, breezy styles solidified Cottagecore as one of the year's most beloved trends. Instead of cutouts and minis, the fashion crowd reached for mid-length prairie dresses, oversized cardigans, and lots of floral print — aka sweet, grandma-ish items one might wear if they lived in a remote, fairytale cottage. As well as matching the cozy ethos of the year, these long styles solidified the theory around the Hemline Index, which says hemlines lower in times of economic distress.
Consciousness in Shopping
One positive to come from the past few months? More time to think about purchasing habits and what's in our closet. We began asking ourselves the question, "Who makes our clothes?" Whether it was supporting the rights of garment workers, shopping Black-owned brands, or choosing sustainable and eco-friendly options over fast fashion, many spent these introspective months moving away from impulse buys and becoming more thoughtful about our consumption habits.
The Coats From The Undoing
Aside from the suspenseful, murder mystery storyline keeping us hooked, this HBO show inspired us to shop for outerwear. The coat collection Nicole Kidman wears as Grace Fraser, a wealthy Manhattan psychologist, was one of the most eye-catching elements of the show, from a ruched green design to a subtly printed trench — a far cry from our basic black puffers.
Beyoncé’s Black Is King – and Adele’s Homage
Beyoncé's visual album was a treat for both the eyes and ears, but the fashion-lover in us couldn't stop obsessing over the regal outfits, and it seems that Adele felt the same way. The singer recreated a look from the Disney+ special, posing for a photo while wearing a similar Marine Serre crescent-moon bodysuit.
Connell's Chain From Normal People
After this show premiered on Hulu, we couldn't help but crush on Connell Waldron, played by Paul Mescal, as well as the silver chain he wore around his neck. Suddenly, we couldn't stop searching for an inexpensive, $10 version of this viral accessory, which could be worn solo like he does (sexy!) or layered with other necklaces.
Brother Vellies' Cloud Socks
Emily Ratajkowski told InStyle that the best way to give loungewear a boost is with long, scrunched up socks, and nothing beats this particular pair from Brother Vellies. They come in a variety of colors, are thick enough to act as slippers, and are an under-$50 find that even fashion editors approve of. Still, you'll have to act fast if you want to get your hands of them — these babies sell out quickly!
Carole Baskin's Style
Early on during quarantine, we couldn't stop walking, thinking, and talking about Netflix's Tiger King, and that included Carole Baskin's clothing. The woman definitely loves her animal prints and cat references, but perhaps the most iconic part of her look is a quirky flower crown.
BTS Wearing Kangol Hats
This late throwback brand made a major comeback with the help of this much-loved K-pop group. Seeing these guys in their bucket hats and flat caps, which perfectly matched the rest of their ensembles, helped to confirm that this addition is the epitome of cool.
All the Outfits From Emily in Paris
Sure, Emily's social media account may not be realistic, but it's actually pretty easy to steal her style in real life. According to the show's costume designer, Patricia Field, the trick is pairing items you never thought would work together, such as camouflage and plaid prints.
Remember the early days of the pandemic? When we weren't fully aware of the severity, and threw Zoom costume parties, baked bread, and joked about Love Is Blind? It was all so pure and full of strange challenges, like making dresses out of pillows, a trend that celebrities such as Tracee Ellis Ross participated in — and nailed!
Jennifer Lopez at the Super Bowl
Some of the earliest and most memorable fashion moments of the year happened at the Super Bowl, where we saw Jennifer Lopez performing in a shiny, sheer bodysuit...before she changed into low-rise jeans.
Gucci’s Questionable Denim
Even though 2020 fashion felt a bit more practical, that didn't stop brands from releasing items that made little to no sense while adding a hefty price tag. Case in point: Gucci's $770 grass stained jeans. We're still waiting for an explanation.
Taylor Swift's "Folklore" and "Evermore" Style
2020 also blessed us with not one but two magical, emotional Taylor Swift albums, and with this new era came some very specific fashion choices. The singer embraced chunky knit cardigans and lots of plaid, and we were even inspired to invest in a pair of checkered tights, like the ones she wore for an Entertainment Weekly photo shoot.