Cheers all around for the world of fashion in 2011 that brought us ease, girlishness and all-out pretty styles for spring/summer, and new, colorful swagger with a royal touch of elegance for fall/winter (not to mention some bargains).
>Here is a look at our top trends:
*Star of the season: The statement coat. Toppers of all sorts made news this season -- ponchos, capes, maxis and boyfriend styles some in those vivid shades (like one from DKNY). If you have to buy just one new thing, make it a great coat.
*Designer collaborations: People lined up, waited for, desperately sought the sprightly Missoni for Target collection that crashed a website. And they worshipped at the temple of H&M when Donatella Versace's collection hit the store. Guaranteed: there's more to follow.
*Fur, faux and otherwise: From sci-fi mounds of dyed real fur to sleeker faux fur vests to well-placed touches of fur on sleeves and collars (as in a Vince sweater), fur was a fashion focus for fall/winter 2011.
*Color crazy: In a season that is traditionally neutral, color reigned supreme with loads of bolds, brights (including jeans) and even a heavy dose of pink for winter/fall. And what made it all that much more fun? Color blocking and wearing colors that (some would say) clash -- like a J. Crew ensemble, for instance.
*The Kate Middleton factor: Many a fashion pundit credited Kate Middleton for steering trends in more formal, proper direction. From her wedding dress to her sheer hosiery, the Duchess of Cambridge has had a strong influence on the fashion scene.
*Grrrrr-animal prints: In a nod to the exotic, spots, stripes and skin patterns turned up head-to-toe, as on a leopard trench coat from Banana Republic's 'Mad Men' collection.
*It's a boot-iful life: From knee-high ladylike heels to short combat-style stompers, boots are a must-have. New to the scene, high wedged heels and in a novel twist, work boots styled fashionably.
*Hang loose Mama: Easy, breezy silhouettes were showcased by many designers, giving gals a languid moment to relax.
*Happy hippies: We loved those floppy hats that dominated spring catwalks and cute, easy frocks including the maxi and little floral prints went right along with that groovy '70s vibe, like on the runway at Tracy Reese.
*Sheer magic: See-through dresses, tops and even pants raged on spring/summer runways, so layering became a must, and -- don't be shy -- underpinnings were showcased.
*The white stuff: White was a staple for spring from evening wear to sportswear, a crisp alternative to also popular lingerie shades of nude, beige and blush. Ralph Lauren led the way in his spring show.