2012 & Beyond: Memorable Fashion Trends of 2012

December 30, 2012 Updated: November 16, 2014

The year 2012 will be remembered as the year that fashion went back in time for its top trends.

One may argue that this is always the case and that trends are typically recycled. Whether new or recycled, no one can argue that 2012’s fashion trends spanned centuries.



Dating back to the 1600s, baroque was simply everywhere in 2012. Baroque prints adorned everything from dresses and blouses to accessories in luxe fabrics such as silk, velvet, jacquard, and leather.




Another trend that was seen on everything and everyone in 2012 was peplum.

Dating back to ancient Greek fashion icons, peplum is the epitome of ladylike fashion.

This year’s peplums adorned everything from structured blazers, dresses, and skirts to coats. A little bit of peplum goes a long way toward a sophisticated, tailored look.



Spring 2012 brought us back to the 1980s in a big way with the revival of neon. I limited this trend to my 8-year-old daughters; however, many embraced this trend. Designers showered neon onto clothing, accessories, and home decor.


Studs and Spikes


Studs and spikes, borrowed from the ’80s punk rock scene, were unveiled in 2012 on anything and everything—including sneakers, boots, jackets, accessories, handbags, and shirt collars.

The design house of Valentino ushered this trend into the haute couture world with its “rockstud” shoe and handbags collection. (Side note to my husband during this holiday season: I covet a rockstud Valentino handbag.)




Although never quite leaving the fashion scene, leather took over in 2012. Every designer showcased his or her version of the perfect leather pants, whether the style was cropped, skinny, or cargo. The ideal fit was coveted by all fashionistas.




Fur—real or faux—was also in abundance during 2012. Fur coats, jackets, and vests have always been commonplace; however, this year we saw fur on handbags and shoes as well.


Shoe Trends


Lastly, what is any year-end fashion piece without a discussion on shoes?

The ankle strap was a big hit this year. All adorations of the ankle were welcome, whether it was with fur, jewels, or spikes. This complemented the peplum trend and other aspirations to ladylike fashion.

Although the wedge heel was less on display, it made a comeback in the sneaker arena. Borrowing from the hip-hop world, these high-heel numbers with a sporty edge proved to be a staple in 2012.

Probably the most important shoe trend of 2012, going into 2013, is the influx of the classic pump with a pointed or almond-shaped toe as opposed to a rounder toe box.

And much to the chagrin of shoe lovers everywhere, the platform is slowly fading in preference for a more demure, “ladies who lunch” pump. 

Elena Marks is a freelance writer specializing in fashion, music, and adventure travel, and lives in Port Washington, N.Y.