14 looks that defined the year 2017, for better or worse
Some of the looks that defined the year 2017 in style Mic/RompHim

14 looks that defined the year 2017, for better or worse

What would you put in 2017’s time capsule? Think about the things that defined this year for you. Maybe a jar of your tears? Your Klonopin prescription? A Fenty Beauty foundation? A copy of The Handmaid’s Tale?

All of those could apply, yes. But don’t forget to consider the outfits and ensembles that, looking back years from now, we will gaze upon and think: Ah, yes, 2017.

For us, this year wasn’t great. But hey, at least we got a few year-defining fashion moments that made our hearts sing and fill with hope, if even for a few fleeting moments, and some that made us cringe (hey, it happens.)

Here are 14 looks that we feel defined this year.

Kellyanne Conway on Inauguration Day

Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, before the inauguration
Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, before the inauguration Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

2017 was a year of full of foolishness and unabashed greed, and what outfit, we ask you, encapsulated that better than Kellyanne Conway’s outlandish $3,600 Gucci coat she wore on Inauguration Day?

We mean, really. The coat had cat buttons. According to Time, she herself referred to the red, white and blue coat as “Trump Revolutionary wear.” With that red bucket hat though, she came in looking like if Paddington Bear lived through the Revolutionary War.

Melania Trump’s Jackie O.-inspired inauguration dress

Donald Trump and Melania Trump walk out together after attending church service at St. John’s Episcopal Church.
Donald Trump and Melania Trump walk out together after attending church service at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Melania Trump, as first lady, had an inevitable spotlight on everything she wore this year. So fittingly, her first outfit as first lady was one of her most notable fashion moments. On Inauguration Day, Trump wore a powder blue cashmere dress and jacket by Ralph Lauren that was extremely reminiscent of the blue outfit Jackie Kennedy wore to her husband’s Inauguration in 1961.

Jackie Kennedy at the 1961 inauguration (L) and Melania Trump on the morning of the 2017 inauguration (R)
Jackie Kennedy at the 1961 inauguration (L) and Melania Trump on the morning of the 2017 inauguration (R) Getty Images/AP Images

It felt retro-inspired, with that collar and gloves, which pretty much defined Trump’s style throughout the year, which leaned on 1950s and ’60s silhouettes and shapes heavily.

The pussy hat

Women at the Women’s March on Washington
Women at the Women’s March on Washington Sait Serkan Gurbuz/AP

There is perhaps no other garment that you can look at from this year and be transported, so very quickly, to a particular day.

That’s what happens when we see the pink pussy hats now, which were created to remind people of Trump’s “Grab them by the pussy” tape and worn by millions of women and supporters of women at women’s marches across the world, which were held to protest Trump’s inauguration.

Participants at the Women’s March in Los Angeles
Participants at the Women’s March in Los Angeles Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty Images

In every picture from that day, you see dollops or even a sea of bright pink. It’s a sign of unity — and protest — that still lives on today.

Rihanna at the 2017 Met Gala

Rihanna at the 2017 Met Gala
Rihanna at the 2017 Met Gala Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Now let’s step away from politics for a minute and come together for our one true leader: Rihanna.

The 2017 Met Gala, meant to celebrate Rei Kawakubo’s designs at Comme des Garçons, really turned out to be a celebration of Rihanna’s continuing rule of the Met Gala red carpet.

Rihanna at the 2017 Met Gala
Rihanna at the 2017 Met Gala Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

She showed up on-theme, decked out in a Comme des Garçons design that looked like she was enveloped in paper, and glowing. No one — and we mean no one — even came close to knocking her from her best-dressed pedestal.

This is how you do a Met Gala.

The RompHim

RompHims
RompHims The RompHim

Not all the outfits that epitomized 2017 were that dramatic. One in particular was equal parts silly and divisive. One was, in our opinion, the RompHim, that masculinized version of a romper that set the internet ablaze in March.

It had its haters and its lovers, yet found success. Mic has kept a close eye on the RompHim and not only has it introduced new patterns and extended sizing, but it’s launching the RompSuit, which is actually a jumpsuit, now too.

A lot of internet hype goes a long way, we guess.

Trump’s red ties

Donald Trump speaks on the phone at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
Donald Trump speaks on the phone at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

Just as inescapable in 2016 as they were in 2017, perhaps it’s those extremely long and glaringly red ties that Donald Trump loves to wear that exemplify his most definitive fashion moment this year.

We learned this year that he loves them so much that he resorts to using clear tape to keep the other end of the tie from flying about.

Donald Trump departs off Air Force One after arriving in Orlando, Florida.
Donald Trump departs off Air Force One after arriving in Orlando, Florida. Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

We’re not expecting these ties to go anywhere in 2018.

Joy Villa’s Make America Great Again dress

Joy Villa at the 2017 Grammy Awards
Joy Villa at the 2017 Grammy Awards Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

And while we’re on the topic of Donald Trump, never forget when singer Joy Villa showed up to the 2017 Grammys with her own spin on the Make America Great Again hat.

For the red carpet, she arrived in a white cloak and then once she was in front of the sea of cameras, she whipped it off to reveal a crystal-encrusted dress with Make America Great Again on the front and “TRUMP” on the back.

Joy Villa at the 2017 Grammy Awards
Joy Villa at the 2017 Grammy Awards Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Melania’s hurricane heels

Donald Trump and Melania Trump walking to Marine One, on their way to see Hurricane Harvey relief efforts
Donald Trump and Melania Trump walking to Marine One, on their way to see Hurricane Harvey relief efforts Alex Wong/Getty Images

Much like her passion for pussybow blouses, Trump’s passion for wearing high heels to nearly every single event caused massive uproar and confusion this year when she decided to wear sky-high stilettos on her way to meeting with victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

Stepping out of the White House in a bomber jacket and black patent stilettos, people were infuriated. She did end up changing on the plane into more sensible sneakers, but the image remained: Trump teetering in an outfit that made it known she would not be walking through any mud or high water.

Donald Trump and Melania Trump leaving the White House, on their way to see Hurricane Harvey relief efforts
Donald Trump and Melania Trump leaving the White House, on their way to see Hurricane Harvey relief efforts Pool/Getty Images

She stepped out of the White House in heels prior to visiting hurricane victims in Texas many times after this too.

Bey’s pregnancy and birth announcement outfits

A photo posted by (@) on

Beyoncé gets two of the most year-defining looks this year, because we just can’t decide which one is more legendary.

In February, Bey announced her pregnancy (with twins!) while wearing a bra from Agent Provocateur, blue silk charmeuse panties and a green veil, kneeling in front of a wall of flowers.

Seven months later, Bey presented us those twins wearing underwear, a blue veil and a stunning floral coat from Palomo Spain, which is a genderless brand that puts on fabulous runway shows with male models in dresses.

A photo posted by (@) on

Hillary Clinton’s black leather jacket

Hillary Clinton speaking before the Professional Businesswomen of California in San Francisco
Hillary Clinton speaking before the Professional Businesswomen of California in San Francisco Ben Margot/AP

You knew a little Hillary content was coming, didn’t you? Yes, of course we have to make mention of Hillary Clinton’s style transformation this year, from hopeful president to a woman who can now dress how she really wants, without causing an international crisis.

We have to admit we loved Clinton’s style this year even more than last, with the black leather jacket she wore in March to the Professional Businesswomen of California conference being the most standout piece.

Hillary Clinton speaking at the Professional Businesswomen of California
Hillary Clinton speaking at the Professional Businesswomen of California Ben Margot/AP

Imagine the uproar this would have caused had she worn it on the campaign trail.

This is how a liberated political woman should dress.

Wonder Woman’s armor

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in ‘Wonder Woman’
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in ‘Wonder Woman’ Clay Enos/© 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

And this, we suppose, is how a female superhero should dress. Wonder Woman was one of the most popular movies this year, racking up more than $820 million at the box office worldwide.

A sign of strength, power, justice and confidence, her armor/costume remained a visual reminder that women have long deserved to see powerful women, just as much as men deserve to see powerful men, onscreen.

The blue ACLU ribbon

Ruth Negga wearing an ACLU ribbon at the 2017 Academy Awards
Ruth Negga wearing an ACLU ribbon at the 2017 Academy Awards Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Speaking of justice, the blue ribbon of the American Civil Liberties Union had quite the year.

Worn by stars at the 2017 Oscars and by the attendees of New York Fashion Week in September, the ribbon stood as a reminder of the work that organization does in the face of a president fond of trying to impede human rights.

The ribbon, in our opinion, has never looked better.

Meghan Markle’s white coat

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in November, announcing their engagement
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in November, announcing their engagement KGC-375/Star Max/IPx/AP

Let’s close out on a few very high notes, shall we? 2017, in all its horror, did give us a few women we now can’t help but constantly admire. One of those women is Meghan Markle, who had one of the best 2017s out of everyone.

Markle went from Prince Harry’s girlfriend to his fiance this year, with an engagement announcement that came with a white coat we now consider iconic.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announce their engagement
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announce their engagement KGC-375/Star Max/IPx/AP

The coat itself was from the relatively unknown Canadian brand Line the Label, and we predict 2018 to be the year when everyone, everywhere will outright obsess about what she’s wearing.

With a sense of style reminiscent of Michelle Obama’s in its embrace of smaller labels and designers with causes and hidden meanings, we really cannot wait for that wedding.

Cardi B’s Cinderella dress

Cardi B at Rihanna’s 3rd Annual Diamond Ball
Cardi B at Rihanna’s 3rd Annual Diamond Ball Evan Agostini/AP

Actually, no, wait. Cardi B had the best 2017.

This year was Cardi’s Cinderella year, going from an Instagram star to a hip-hop phenom with her No. 1 hit “Bodak Yellow.” So it’s only right that she got a dress that matched her year.

 Cardi B at Rihanna’s 3rd Annual Diamond Ball
Cardi B at Rihanna’s 3rd Annual Diamond Ball Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

To the Diamond Ball in September, which was hosted by Rihanna, Cardi B stepped out in a pale blue dress by Christian Siriano that made our hearts sing. Elegant and chic but still a little Cardi (take a look at the nails), she was obviously the woman to root for.

Now we just hope our 2018 is even a little, tiny, itty-bitty bit like Cardi’s.

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Rachel Lubitz

Rachel is a senior Style writer at Mic. She previously worked for The Washington Post's Style section for more than three years. Feel free to contact her at rachel@mic.com.