15 Fashion Moments That Will Define 2019

These end-of-year roundups can be yawn-inducing when you've read essentially the same one over and over again. Of course, Jennifer Aniston won Instagram this year. Yes, Fleabag was the best TV show. And by all means, crown Baby Yoda as the cutest thing of 2019—we're not monsters. But this roundup is a little different. This is all about fashion and the most memorable moments of the industry this year. It's all about which designers, brands and events had the biggest impact on us—not just our wardrobes, but how we think about fashion overall.

Fashion—no matter how trivial you think it is—like any great form of art (music, film, painting), reflects society as a whole. It might be full of people who occasionally look ridiculous and lose their minds over a handbag that costs the same as a deposit for a small flat, but it's important to look underneath all of that and understand what it's really about.

For starters, there are people who have challenged gender norms, such as Billy Porter wearing a dress on the Oscars red carpet. Or how about Extinction Rebellion at London Fashion Week, who petitioned for the fashion industry to strive to be more sustainable and acknowledge its impact on the environment? And while we've been concerned about current affairs and elections (and how can you not be?), we've thankfully been entertained by the likes of J.Lo at Versace and Phoebe Waller-Bridge looking extraordinary in a black jumpsuit.

Of course, an outfit doesn't have to be profoundly meaningful—it can be simply that it's incredibly chic. And while that word is arguably overused, there wasn't one person I follow on Instagram who didn't post a picture of Katie Holmes in a matching cashmere cardigan and bra, and proclaim they needed it immediately.

In terms of pieces that people actually wore this year, I couldn't call myself a fashion journalist if I didn't give a mention to the polka-dot Zara dress that took over the whole of the UK. Not only did team Who What Wear spot it at least five times on their commute every day of the summer, but it also inspired its own Instagram account: Hot4theSpot.

Of course, that's not the only viral garment people wore this year, but for more on the above as well as a few other big fashion moments of 2019, I suggest you keep scrolling…

JENNIFER LOPEZ CLOSING THE VERSACE SHOW

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Legend has it that after Jennifer Lopez wore that green Versace creation back in 1999, Google Images was born. That is the power of a really great dress, people. And thus a whole new way of browsing the internet came in to being as a result of so many people searching J.Lo's incredible dress. A reimagined version of the frock was worn by the singer and actress during Milan Fashion Week back in September at the close of the Versace show, and Instagram collectively lost its mind.

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FLEABAG'S JUMPSUIT

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A black jumpsuit isn't exactly groundbreaking. Many women own one. Much like the LBD, it's a failsafe option to pull out of the wardrobe when you've got a last-minute event to attend. But do you know who made us feel genuinely excited about this garment again? Phoebe Waller-Bridge is who. In the first episode of season two of Fleabag, which the star wrote, directed and acted in, we saw the protagonist wearing a sleeveless, high-neck black jumpsuit with a slashed front. Polished and sassy (but not too much), suddenly, we all wanted to wear this item again.

BILLY PORTER'S OSCARS GOWN

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Thank the fashion gods for Billy Porter on the red carpet in 2019. Amid a sea of your usual off-the-shoulder, floor-length and frothy tulle gowns, at the Oscars this year, Billy wore a tuxedo dress by Christian Siriano.

The Pose star spoke about his choice to wear a dress to Vogue: "I've always wanted to wear a ball gown, I just didn't know when. I was inspired [this past New York Fashion Week] because there's a conversation happening about inclusion and diversity. There were so many people of different races and voices. At Palomo Spain, genderless boys floated down the runway in gorgeous chiffon dresses and capes. It was lovely. Fashion has the ability to touch people in a different way."

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LADY GAGA AT THE MET GALA

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What do you get when you mix Lady Gaga with the Met Gala? A truly "camp" affair, which is handy as that was the theme for 2019's event. Anna Wintour decided to choose the singer as the co-host for this year's gala, and it was a stroke of genius. Gaga turned up in not one, not two, not three but four different outfits. See them all below.

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LADY GABRIELLA WINDSOR'S WEDDING

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We love a good society wedding, and that's not just because we'll take any opportunity to see a stylish bride. No, it's because you just know the guests attending are also going to be something to gawp at. Lady Gabriella Windsor's wedding in May boasted one of the best guest lists. There was just the right mix of celebrities and royals all done up. Our favourite looks came from Pippa Middleton in her all-blue ensemble with a matching headband and Lady Amelia Windsor, who was wearing a dress by Turkish designer Gül Hürgel.

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KATIE HOLMES'S BRA AND CARDIGAN

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Bras aren't always the most comfortable of items. Ask plenty of women and they'll tell you that the best thing they get to do at the end of the day is taking it off. Katie Holmes, however, may have discovered the answer to all our prayers: the cashmere bra. Not only that, but it also matched her cardigan. After the actress was spotted wearing this creation by celeb favourite label Khaite, the whole of Instagram started talking about it. Katie proved that the bra top doesn't have to be a skintight, completely inaccessible creation, but something that everyone can wear and feel comfortable in.

MEGHAN MARKLE'S SMART WORK LOOK

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There's no denying that Meghan Markle has managed to shine a light on some brilliant causes this year. Smart Works was one of them—the charity that aids women back into work by offering them support. The Duchess of Sussex took her support further and launched a new clothing line for the charity called the Smart Set, which sold at Marks and Spencer, Jigsaw and John Lewis & Partners. 

SIENNA MILLER AT WIMBLEDON

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I’ll be honest: Sienna Miller has killed it when it comes to fashion this year. Sure, she’s had plenty of incredible red carpet moments, but it was at events where she was dressed a little more casually that she really shined. Case in point? This Ralph Lauren suit she wore to Wimbledon this year. 

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ROSIE HUNTINTON-WHITELEY IN ZARA

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We've no idea how many of these tops Zara sold after Rosie HW wore them in three different colours on her Instagram, but we imagine it must have been a lot. The model wore the simple vest back in August and we knew it'd be an instant hit. The reason it worked so well? Rosie paired all three tops with great outfits, making them look way more expensive than the £13 price. 

Dare I say that the Zara polka-dot dress became a phenomenon this summer? Not a commute went by with one of team WWW spotting the dress at least three times. It seemed like literally every woman in London was wearing the spotted frock. What was behind its popularity? It was in a print that worked with every skin tone and its loose silhouette meant it made everyone feel the same in it. A truly democratic piece of clothing. You can still shop the black version today. 

ELLIE GOULDING'S WEDDING DRESS

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There were only a handful of celebrities weddings that got our fashion hearts racing this year, and Ellie Goulding's in September was one of them. The singer wore a dress created by Chloé for the wedding and then later wore a dress by Stella McCartney, Balmain and Ralph & Russo. 

EXTINCTION REBELLION AT FASHION WEEK

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There is no escaping the fact that the fashion industry is the second-most polluting in the world, and while there’s no doubt plenty is being done in the industry to rectify and promote more environmentally friendly and sustainable clothing (rental, off-cuts, etc.), there is still a long way to go. Extinction Rebellion, the non-violent direct action to persuade governments to act justly on the Climate and Ecological Emergency, took to the line at outside Victoria Beckham's show.

CHANEL'S RUNWAY CRASHER

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Stage crashing feels very '90s, doesn't it? So it seems strange to have one appear in 2019, and at a fashion show, but that's exactly what happened during Chanel's spring/summer 2020 show this year. Thankfully, Gigi Hadid was on hand to apprehend the crasher. Here you can see what the crasher looked like—dressed like a Chanel model, so at least a chic crasher.

JACQUEMUS' PINK RUNWAY

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After 10 years working solidly on his fashion brand, Jacquemus can now boast a bona fide cult following of loyal customers that include myriad influencers and celebrities. There are a couple of things that really made his eponymous label "suddenly" huge—the first was an oversized hat that went viral on Instagram earlier this year and the second was his spring/summer 2020 show that took place this summer.

Set in a lavender field in Provence, a model walked a hot-pink runway that was sharply contrasted against the azure sky. But ultimately, it was the clothes that did all the talking. The verdict on the show was that there was a designer who creates exciting, interesting clothes for women that not only look great but make women feel great too.

ZOË KRAVTIZ'S WEDDING

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When the phrase "achingly cool" was coined, it was, I have no doubt, just waiting to be applied to Zoë Kravitz. The actress married Karl Glusman over the summer and her mum Lisa Bonet and dad Lenny Kravtiz attended looking equally as cool as their daughter. 

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Next up, check out Who What Wear columnist Monikh's best shopping picks of 2019.