Hello flats, goodbye mullet skirts

The rise of more comfortable footwear and smaller bags was a significant fashion highlight of 2012

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WEDGE sneaker by Marc Jacobs

We knew the era of the vertiginous platform heel was nearing its demise when Victoria Beckham was photographed wearing—gasp!—flats!

We never thought we would see the day, but Posh, who teetered in sky-high heels even in pregnancy, was recently seen schlepping in Los Angeles with her brood, uncharacteristically shod in a pointy pair of buckled flats.

The British fashion designer and pop icon is in step with the times, naturally. In 2012, we saw the rise of relatively more comfortable footwear in the form of wedge trainers, popularized by the French designer Isabel Marant. Marc Jacobs had his coveted version, and high street quickly caught on.

Fashionistas also took to the comfy soles of slip-ons—“smoking slippers,” they’re also called.

CROC clutch by Lally Dizon

Trend-setters like fashion editor Carine Roitfeld pointed to a new direction: single-sole heels, the old pointy pumps of yore—minus the platforms. No McQueen armadillo heels here, thank you very much. And with the pointy footwear silhouette also came cap toes, in heels and flats.

Toughened up

Designers also went crazy with spikes and rock studs in 2012, with serious deadly weapon-like metals in everything, from shoes to collars to shoulder pads to bags to jewelry. Studs and spikes toughened up an outfit that would otherwise have been too pretty and sweet.

ACTRESS Leighton Meester with her Celine Luggage tote

Oversized bags also took a backseat to envelope clutches. Of the more substantial totes, the most visible on fashionistas’ arms was perhaps the Celine Luggage in its varied permutations and color combinations. This bag was so hot, the alleged “Birkin scammer,” which we wrote about here in late June, reportedly had a dozen of this style, in a variety of exotic skins and color combinations.

Speaking of bags, 2012 was also the year the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama peppered Louis Vuitton’s enviable luxury retail empire with her signature dots in a successful collaboration with creative director Marc Jacobs.

Apart from studs and spikes, one accessory trend we saw the past year was the Peter Pan collar-slash-bib necklace.

SMOKING slipper by Topshop

Not everyone warmed to the redux of the peplum, but it was one of the most visible trends of 2012. They were seen on celebrities, pop tarts, even girls who were not yet born when peplums last made a major appearance—in the 1980s.

If there’s a 2012 trend that will perhaps haunt those who were ever photographed in one, that’s the mullet skirt. The mullet style extended to formal eveningwear. But it’s the streetwear that quickly wore out its welcome—it was seen on practically every young girl out there, the mullet skirt and its cousin, the sheer maxi skirt.

And these were some of 2012’s hottest trends, some of which we will look back on with fondness, others with dread.

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