The excess pop songs, rather than the merely good ones, are the anybodies that make you want to smile or dance or cry. Likewise the noteworthy style icons – the ones who will be remembered beyond their red carpet shake – are the ones who make you feel something. Marilyn Monroe does this. Beyonce does this. And Michelle Obama did this, all year. The senior lady takes immense care over what she wears, but she not at any time lets what she wears overwhelm her personality. I look at Versace on the red carpet or the catwalk and I deliberate on: that’s a nice dress, that actress/model looks hot. But I look at Michelle Obama in the bespoke Versace clothes she wore to an Italy state dinner – her last – and I see more than that. I see stability in the chainmail and joy in the dazzle and inspiration in the goddess silhouette. Michelle Obama has created an embodiment which is the jumping-off point for a huge personality. Will I skip her? Doesn’t begin to cover it, dudes.
Enunciate of a masculine aesthetic and Georgia O’Keeffe is likely to come up. This year was no new, thanks to a Tate retrospective and “inspired by” collection at Jigsaw, which inserted a new group of fourth-wave feminists to her work. It also reminded us why her look is one of the uncountable referenced in fashion, particularly in this post-Céline age of genderless flavours on the catwalk and hilarious street. It certainly reminded me why I like a black suit, unfastened T-shirt, tennis shoes and dropped waistline. Her approach to monochrome is a castigation to us all, but equally, the green of the stem in Dark Iris No 1 is Pantone’s pl insignia of 2017 and mine.
I also mould her work and, with a lateral perspective, I looked to that, too – behemoth florals at Topshop or Michael Kors, who namechecked her earlier for his grow/summer collection – when I got dressed. There are additional segments – the loose, unbuttoned shirts (very sexy for the 1920s) and the embroidery of colour (a nod to her love of Mexico) and her hair, loosely scraped again and short. If that feels reductive, it’s worth thinking forth the context (1920s feminism) and then applauding her for wearing trousers. Morwenna Ferrier
Industrious (Donald Glover) in Atlanta
In every episode of Atlanta, Donald Glover’s nutcase, Earnest, is close to collapsing under the weight of a world conspiring against him. His vestments match the in-betweenness of his life (his job, attempting to make it as a manager/PR, his abandon/start relationship with his girlfriend). We see Earnest in ill-fitting pleases, duo colour weather beaten T-shirts, plaid shirts, Vans and a backpack. His pizazz may say ‘I’m prepared for anything. I’m prepared for nothing,’ but Glover pulls the look (post-normcore with a bit of Basquiat misguided in for good measure) with an effortlessness that is infectious. So perchance it’s not about what you wear, but how you wear it. Priya Elan
Barb from Foreigner Things
Her process time might have been over before it began, but Barb from Visitor Things cast a longstyle shadow across my style in 2016. It wasn’t demanding – she had me at the bottletop glasses, frilled blouse and slightly tatty quilted jacket. The John Hughes heroine-worthy gormless softness, strawberry blonde hair and Clearasil concealer habit simply added to her case. I am a sucker for an 80s misunderstood teen and Barb hit the neighbourhood. She also fitted into the thrift store look done so incredibly by Alessandro Michele at Gucci, and prompted a much deserved collective media campaign and even a mural in LA. I like to think she’s red-hot on through the likes of me. I am now the proud owner of several frilled blouses and a unsure blue vintage ski jacket that bears a resemblance to the one Barb abrasions to, um, the bitter end. Just saying. Lauren Cochrane