Sexy made a huge comeback in 2012, from red lips to Jennifer Lopez' sheer bodysuits to Angelina Jolie's slit dress. Some of the most memorable style moments of 2012 were more about an attitude -- like Madonna traipsing around onstage in a cheerleader outfit -- than a specific look.
1. Gwyneth Paltrow in White Tom Ford Dress
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Seriously, this had to be the biggest fashion moment of 2012. While other celebs wore complicated or over-decorated looks, 40-year-old Gwyneth Paltrow
went with a dress that most hailed as fashion perfection. Tom Ford's simple white sheath dress was accompanied by a long cape: it was strong, sexy, simple and sophisticated. On another celeb -- like someone flashy as Kim Kardashian -- the dress would have been all wrong. But on sleek Gwyneth Paltrow it was utter perfection.
2. Black Bangs and Red Lips
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Retro glamour was the key phrase for celebrity cuties Rooney Mara
and Krysten Ritter. Both young women sported dark locks with blunt bangs and knockout red lips. While Rooney was the broodier of the two, Krysten carries off the look well and had many great red carpet looks over the year.
3. Middle-Aged Cheerleader Madonna
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News from her world tour came fast and frequent: Madonna
was flashing the audience or Madonna was saying wildly inappropriate things. Through it all, there she was wearing the same pleated little skirt that millions of young girls were wearing everywhere (called skater skirts) as part of a cheerleader's uniform. With her age-stereotype-busting ways, it's only fitting that Madonna chose a cheerleader's uniform -- the ubiquitous symbol of high school youthfulness -- as her stage look. Even though she's known for sexier looks (like the iconic bustier) maybe this age-bending look is the most provocative statement of all from the Material Girl.
4. Dressing for Body Types
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Sofia Vergara has learned one thing that others like Kim Kardashian hasn't: dress for the body
you have, not for fashion. Although some of Sofia Vergara's looks are more about sex than style (like this sparkly number) she always dresses to flatter her curves.
5. Barely There
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Leave it to Jennifer Lopez to show off the epitome of one of the year's biggest trends: sheer
. With her barely-anything-left-to-the-imagination bodysuit, famous cougar Jennifer Lopez reminded concert goers why she could still bring the heat after 40. Sheer looks ranged from tops layered under jackets to see-through lace. Nude colors were also a hit, with flesh-toned dresses, accessories and shoes a summer trend.
6. Bright Jeans
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You can thank Kate Middleton
-- aka Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge -- for the fact that you can find affordable bright skinny jeans at places like Old Navy now: the mom-to-be wore J Brand's coral skinnies and made her fashion followers everywhere crave bright jeans.
7. Angelina Jolie's Slit
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It was the slit heard 'round the world: Angelina Jolie
instantly became known for her slit dress. She wore a black Atelier Versace gown to the 2012 Oscars, which was lovely but extremely un-memorable. That was, until Angelina struck the slit pose: she popped her leg right through that thigh-high slit. It was one of the biggest fashion moments of 2012 and Angelina feigned fashion innocence, saying she hadn't planned on anyone making such a fuss over the slit. Just when you think we couldn't be shocked on the red carpet or see anything fresh and new, Slitgate appeared on the red carpet and reminded us that -- in fashion -- it's always possible to be surprised.