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Recalling This Year's Bare, Bold and Whimsical Deportment

By Patrick Michael Hughes | December 26, 2012 10:02am

NEW YORK CITY — A strong sense of optimism and a forthright ownership of style — periodically tempered with a whimsical artistic flair — defined the noteworthy trends of clothes-conscious urban dwellers in 2012.

Street Chic salutes all of the sheer and complexion-bearing looks that populated the streets this year, presenting an extensive democracy of silhouettes and fabrics. Sensibilities ranged from clingy jersey cloth to floral nylon and sultry, open-weave knit T-shirts.

The bare look was flattered by vintage styles that favored blush, as we saw at the Jazz Age Lawn Party in June on Governors Island. Bare also had a super steamy run at the Spring 2013 collection of Parke & Ronen, inspired by Anglo-Indian prints, madras and spice colors. The wide mix of resort looks was a welcome arrival.

Meanwhile, the Downtown bohemian and artistic looks displayed truly fashion-forward ownership of wearable style.

Late winter’s drapery of wool hoods and coiled scarves in brushed fabrics paired with rock 'n' roll-style biker jackets and short velvet jackets were similarly eye-catching.

Drapery even carried over into the bare look during the summer, with a highlight spotted in SoHo by Comme des Garçons. Graphic shirts were also runway-ready, celebrating themes from supermodels to indie rock bands in everything from bold prints to hand-drawn illustrations.

Street Chic was made well aware of the influx of "seapunk" — a subculture of '90s-inspired electronic music and clothing that celebrates retro prints and turquoise hues — by the prevalence of rich hues of blue-green, as well as coral-colored hair. The look's growing numbers were spotted on many fashion writers and stylists at both seasons of New York Fashion Week, as well as on Broadway in SoHo.

Bits and pieces of blue and pink hair were also a major styling statement for Oscar de la Renta's Spring 2013 collection.

A strong showing of whimsical hats from established venues — such as Easter Sunday's turnout at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, to the wide array of fascinators at the Frick Garden Party on the Upper East Side — showed some of the most excellent styles of the year. 

We were quite taken with the confection of bows, stones, ruffles, feathers and flaring fan details that leaned on the continued fashion influence of the Dutchess of Cambridge.

Street Chic also noted the growing hat presence is not being reserved just for special occasions, but can be seen rising in day-to-day styles, in the well-blocked wide brims and fedoras worn by urban cavaliers and expressive dandies.

Here's to a continually creative new year, abound with fresh, fashion-forward thinking.