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The good and bad of 2009 celebrity style

By Breeanna Hare, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Nearly every celebrity broke their traditional style mold at least once this year
  • Some celebs doubled up on two or three trends at a time
  • Style experts agree the adult onesie, or jumper, should never have arrived
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(CNN) -- In a decade filled with questionable fashion choices, 2009 was the capstone, with nearly every celebrity breaking their traditional style mold at least once.

"It's been a really fun year," said Susan Kaufman, editor of People StyleWatch magazine. "Being in the middle of an economic downturn, it was fun to watch the celebrities step it up, even if it was as outrageous as a Lady Gaga, and it made people excited to watch what they were going to do. "

Watch we did, and celebrities donned a little bit of every trend from minidresses with a retro 1940s feel to Prince-era lace ensembles and sky-high, architectural platform shoes. There were so many trends floating around that some were seen doubling up on two or three trends at a time -- the more outrageous, the better.

But not every celebrity trend ended up a winner. CNN.com enlisted style experts to break down the good trends, the awful ones and what we hope celebrities will leave behind in 2009.

The good

The style-philes have a difficult time picking just one or two of 2009's trends that they loved, but nearly everyone can agree that the asymmetrical dress was one of the best, if only because it was flattering on nearly everyone.

Although many versions seen out this year were nods to the geometric style of the '80s, it's really one of those classic cuts that can adapt to nearly any trend, said style expert Katie Rice Jones.

"The one-shoulder dress is very forgiving, because of the way it drapes. Whether you're muscular or a little bit thicker, you can pull this off. It's a great, chic dress to wear whatever the season, whatever the year," she said.

Fashionista.com editor Abby Gardner has always appreciated a well-cut asymmetrical dress, but the be-sequined everything that ran rampant in 2009 took some getting used to, she admitted. It was a kind of attraction by fire for Gardner as this year's never-ending amount of well-styled shine turned her into a sequined believer.

"Emma Watson had a really good year this year all around, but the gold sparkly minidress she wore to the Burberry show in London was gorgeous," Gardner said. And then, Gardner said, there's "Eva Mendes in this multicolored Chris Benz dress [in November]. It had multicolored sequins, which was so fun for evening. If you look at the spring runway, there were definitely still sequins around."

The other top trend that won't be disappearing anytime soon is the boyfriend blazer, seen on everyone from Rachel Bilson to Gwyneth Paltrow to Kim Kardashian. "It's completely ubiquitous," Gardner said. "You can even go to the Gap and buy a great one."

For Style.com executive editor Nicole Phelps, superhero-sized shoulders was one of her favorite looks of 2009.

"The Balmain, leggy look with the strong shoulders -- a lot of music [performers] like Beyonce and Rihanna really took to it, because it's such a strong powerful style. It's not necessarily aggressive, it's statement red-carpet dressing," Phelps said. "[And] it's not traditional at all. "

The bad

Fashion followers say there wasn't that much to hate in 2009; even pantlessness and thigh-high boots got the pass from most.

Gardner said she could get behind the sans-pants trend, as long as it's left to the stars and not taken too literally -- i.e., don't try strolling into work rocking a leotard and fishnets.

Kaufman, on the other hand, came to the defense of the oft-questionable thigh-high boot, noting that the trick is to go for understated leather versus patent, something that reaches over the knee versus rising past the thigh and choosing a flat, riding-boot style instead of stilettos to class the look up a bit.

Even with the lack of commitment, there's definitely one trend that everyone agreed celebrities probably wish they could take back: that adult onesie combination gone horribly wrong, otherwise known as the jumpsuit.

"Every day on the Web site, we had Kylie Minogue in a gray jumpsuit, and she has an amazing body, but she didn't look so great it in it," said Jessica Morgan of The Fug Girls. "If Kylie Minogue can't pull off the jumpsuit, the rest of us girls do not have a chance. Plus, you'd have to take all of your clothes off to go to the bathroom."

Point taken.

For Kaufman, "That extreme shoulder that looked like a pagoda is definitely one that I don't want to see come back. Even Kate Moss, who can pretty much wear anything, it was still very extreme. On most women, it feels like a fashion victim. Any of the trends taken to the extreme won't be coming back."

That list of extremes should include lingerie as outerwear, Phelps said. Like jumpsuits and rompers, sheer tops and bras worn on the outside of clothing looked cool on the runway but then were sadly lost in translation.

"Sheer and lingerie is a very difficult one to make happen in the real world -- nipples are unforgivable. I don't think that putting nipple pasties on top of your nipples works at all," Phelps said.

The 'please die in 2010' list

There's very little that you can't still make fresh in 2010, Gardner said, but one trend that will definitely become much more subtle than it is now is the trend of dressing like the Brat Pack was still tearing through L.A.

"The '80s, hard-edged look is going to soften up in 2010," Phelps said. "We'll see a return to more '70s, romantic runway which we'll see in Hollywood. "

And unless you want to end up on the Fug Girls' site, Morgan suggests that you stay far away "from the crazy ironic sunglasses" -- including, but not limited to, the overdone Kanye West vertical shades -- all of which "we're catching the tail end of anyway," she said.

"I do think that we're leaving the '80s stuff behind," she said. "Hopefully we are moving out of the neon, neoprene, hot-pink jean look and into something a little more sophisticated."

Like plaid and leggings? Not necessarily sophisticated but still hot in 2010.

Although leggings have been hanging on the edges of fashion for the past few years, mainly because of the tireless efforts of a Ms. Lindsay Lohan, the laid-back pant earned its street cred in 2009, and it will make even more appearances in 2010 in 50 different denim washes, courtesy of Joe's Jeans.

The checked, '90s grunge for beginners look was also mightily popular this year, and it doesn't look the lumberjack train will slow down in 2010.

But the biggest trend to watch for in Hollywood will be clogs. Yes, that's right: clogs. Not to be confused with the 2007 crocs trend, Chanel's line of closed-toe, chunky wooden platform clogs are the first sign that the '80s are dead and the '70s are in. For 2010, at least.

 
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