It won't go down as a year in which fashion history was made, but there were enough developments in 2013 to keep us watching and commenting on everything from the royal baby to a retailer's royal gaffe. Here's a look at a dozen.
1. Starting off with a bang
The new year had barely begun when the first lady of American fashion, Michelle Obama, showed off a new hairstyle with bangs. Some people loved the look, others loathed it, but the fringe gave an updated look to Mrs. O for the January inauguration festivities. Her bangs raised so much commentary that they were even part of President Obama's speech at the White House Correspondents' Dinner in April, where he showed a doctored photo of himself with bangs, smiling at his wife. But as FLOTUS learned, growing out bangs can be a lengthy and annoying process, and by midyear she was often wearing them swept to the side. Since then, they've largely disappeared.
2. The new crop
Michelle Obama wasn't the only one making hair news. A number of models and celebrities decided to chop their locks. Among the first to make the leap was model Karlie Kloss, a runway superstar who is a favorite with designers. Others showing up with short locks were Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson, Jennifer Aniston, who's now wearing a longish bob, and Jennifer Lawrence, who went super short in the fall after saying, "It just couldn't get any uglier." Even Keith Urban shortened his signature long hair.
3. Royal baby bumps and princely vestments
The Duchess of Cambridge continued to exhibit a nearly flawless fashion sense throughout her pregnancy, wearing simple dresses and matching hats. Prince George arrived on July 22 at St. Mary's hospital in London, and the parents appeared the next day for a photo op, Catherine wearing a simple blue and white polka dot dress.
4. Fit to be tried
Not only have they become nearly as ubiquitous as jeans, yoga pants were in the news in a big way. Chip Wilson, one of the co-founders of the upscale yoga wear retailer Lululemon, recently announced he will step down as chairman of the board, nine months after a firestorm of bad publicity. The company began recalling its pricey black yoga pants in March after consumers complained that they were too sheer. Wilson further inflamed customers by stating on Bloomberg TV that they don't work "for some women's bodies," implying that those women were too fat to look good in its product.
Helping the issue become a bigger deal is that women are serious not only about their yoga pants, but fitness apparel in general. The Associated Press reported in November that sales of workout clothes have increased 7 percent to $31.6 billion during the 12-month period that ended in August from the same period in 2012. Sales of other clothing rose only 1 percent.
5. Get sporty
Active sportswear style also was big with men this year — and will continue to be so in 2014. Designer sweatshirts were a major item, as were casual trousers that borrowed the comfort factor from sweat pants but were a little more structured. Baseball jackets were another key item for guys.
6. Shave not
Pity the guy who is clinging to his meager mustache or soul patch: Men all over the country are more likely to channel Grizzly Adams these days. Poster boys for the look at the Academy Awards were Ben Affleck, George Clooney and Grant Heslov, who all sported beards and mustaches as they accepted Oscars for "Argo." Let's just hope the men's hairstyles and facial hair in "American Hustle" don't catch on. A mere glimpse of Christian Bale's comb-over and Bradley Cooper's tight curls are enough to make one cringe in recalling the fashion lapses of the 1970s. Ditto for Ron Burgundy's "salon-quality hair" and mustache in "Anchorman 2."
7. Punks and princesses
The Metropolitan Museum of Art gala in New York is always a huge fashion event, and this year's "Punk: Chaos to Couture" in May was no exception. Sarah Jessica Parker topped her gown with a giant mohawk headdress; Beyoncé's print skirt had a thigh-high slit that revealed matching boots; and the guest list was heavy on entertainers, including Psy, Nicki Minaj and Madonna, as well as the expected range of fashion designers, models and actors.
Once confined to cocktail clothing and pantyhose, sheerness is now pervasive in all kinds of apparel. We saw blouses with mesh sleeves in the office; T-shirts with a sheer back on the weekends. But most women are unlikely to take the trend to the extreme that Gwyneth Paltrow did for the "Iron Man 3" premiere. Her floor-length gown with a sheer side panel that stretched from her waist to the floor left little to the imagination. More subdued was Jennifer Lawrence at a "Catching Fire" premiere in a sheer gray Dior Haute Couture gown that revealed what was essentially a strapless black bodysuit.
9. High fashion, mass appeal
Who doesn't love a high-fashion look at a down-to-earth price? Consumers sure do, which is why stores like Kohl's and Target continued to do deals with designers to get limited-edition collections from big names into their stores. In 2013, Derek Lam and Catherine Malandrino had lines at Kohl's; Issa and L'Wren Scott scored at Banana Republic and Target had another winner with Phillip Lim.
10. Gatsby style
The movie might have had mixed reviews from critics, but the costumes were spectacular in "The Great Gatsby." Catherine Martin collaborated with Miuccia Prada to create a sumptuous array of outfits for Carey Mulligan, who played Daisy Buchanan. Tiffany's jewelry was over the top, and the company offered designs to the public as well. And for the dapper Jay Gatsby, portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio, Brooks Brothers re-created looks from its archives.
11. Nailing it
The beauty trend of the year was at everyone's fingertips. Colorful polish, artsy designs and sticker-style embellishments were embraced by women of all ages. So pervasive is the trend that E! Online even set up a "mani-cam" at the Golden Globes so celebrities could "walk their fingers" on a red carpet that did closeups of their polish and rings. Long-lasting shellac and gelish manicures also continue to be popular with women who don't want to have to go to the salon or do their own nails at home every week.
12. Flower power
Floral prints are a fashion perennial but it's been awhile since they came on as strong as they did on the red carpet and at celebrity gatherings in 2013. Sometimes with regrettable results. We're all for a pretty garden print, but when a dress has yards and yards of the stuff, it tends to overwhelm. Sorry, but you end up looking like a sofa. That was the case with Lucy Liu at the Academy Awards, Lena Dunham at the Primetime Emmy's and Kim Kardashian at the Met gala. We wish more ladies would have followed Nicole Kidman down the garden path. The Christian Dior couture dress she wore at Cannes was the perfect bouquet.
Suzanne S. Brown: 303-954-1697, email@example.com or twitter.com/suzannebro