Though the prevailing sentiment about 2016 appears to be “good riddance,” let’s not forget there were some definite high points too. (After all, we just got to see Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds’ kids IRL — what a gift!) To distract you momentarily from the ongoing dark abyss of the news, we compiled the style and beauty stories that actually inspired us this year, as well as a couple that just gave us a good laugh.
The makeup-free movement picked up steam, thanks in large part to Alicia Keys as ambassador. After attending both the BET Awards and the MTV VMAs with a (mostly) bare face, Keys inspired women across the country to skip their usual makeup routines. Gabrielle Union, Tamron Hall and even Kim Kardashian West joined in, all going makeup-free either in public or on social media soon after the VMAs. So will Keys keep up her fresh-faced look into 2017? The star hasn’t sworn off makeup for good, telling Matt Lauer on The Today Show, “I love makeup! I love my lip gloss, I love my blush, I love my eyeliner…It’s not about that. But at the same time, I don’t want to feel beholden.” Time will tell.
The fashion and beauty industries expanded their definitions of “nude-colored.” Until very recently, there has been a huge divide between nude, the color, and nude, the human state of being. In March, Neutrogena expanded its foundation offerings to 14 shades meant for everyone, spearheaded by the makeup brand’s face, Kerry Washington. Later that month, Christian Louboutin released a line of pointy-toe flats in an extended nude color palette, following a heel line in the same shades in 2015 (and the stunning ballerina campaign photos, seen above, were a nice bonus). And Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez’s Naja lingerie line launched this year with a “Nude for All” collection, so every woman can have her perfect nude bra to layer under T-shirts.
Ashley Graham became the first size-16 model to cover the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. UFC fighter Ronda Rousey and model Hailey Clauson also covered the issue this year, but it was Graham’s breakout moment that made, well, waves. “I thought Sports Illustrated was taking a risk by putting a girl my size in the pages,” Graham said at the time. “But putting me on the cover? They aren’t just breaking barriers; they are the standard now. This is beyond epic.” Since then, she’s gone on to front Dressbarn’s fall campaign, join America’s Next Top Model as a judge and even get her own Barbie — made to her measurements. No big deal.
And the fashion world became more inclusive, overall. Tommy Hilfiger launched the first clothing collection for the differently abled community after working with nonprofit Runway of Dreams, which aims to adapt mainstream clothing to be wearable for people with disabilities. Then in September, 19-year-old acid-attack survivor Reshma Qureshi, above, walked in New York Fashion Week, continuing to challenge industry standards. And model Katie Meade broke barriers in the beauty world too; the 32-year-old was the first woman with Down syndrome to be the face of a beauty product, Beauty & Pin-Ups’ Fearless Hair Rescue Treatment.
People showed solidarity with one very simple accessory: a safety pin. Inspired by the British response on social media to #Brexit, many Americans adopted the gesture of wearing a safety pin to show their support for minorities, women and other groups who might have felt unsafe under a Trump presidency. It wasn’t long before celebrities like Olivia Wilde joined in, and LeBron James even wore one on his Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year cover. Meanwhile, designers including Kaelen, Rachel Comey and Catbird chose to donate some or all of their proceeds in the days following the election to various organizations including Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and the Trevor Project.
Patagonia set an example of how large companies can give back — by donating $10 million to environmental charities. After announcing that they’d be giving their Black Friday profits directly to charity, the outdoor retailer posted Black Friday sales that were five times bigger than expected, thus setting an example of how brands can (and should) make a difference for the planet.
Khloé Kardashian launched Good American Jeans — for women of all sizes. “My sisters would wear cute denim, and I felt so fat-shamed. It was important for me to make something women feel good in. It’s a positive, empowering project,” Khloé told PeopleStyle before the launch. Considering the line made $1 million in its first day, we’d say mission accomplished.
And finally, Staples dragged Kris Jenner on Twitter, and the internet went nuts. When the KarJenner matriarch debuted her paper-clip-inspired necklace design, the office supply chain’s Canadian handle poked a bit of fun. Considering the shade we’ve heard from Kris’ own daughters, we’re sure she laughed this one off too.
What moment(s) gave you the feels this year? Share in the comments below!