The Best Accessories Of 2011

When looking back on the Best of 2011, we can’t help but proclaim this a banner year for accessories. From animal hats and food-themed jewelry to suspender tights and tiny clutches, the style STAHS of the year truly accentuated their finest red carpet frocks and street style ensembles with the most eye-catching (and unusual—thanks, Nicki Minaj!) accoutrements we’ve seen in some time. Thus, without further ado, here are our picks for the best accessories of the year.


Jessie J, Demi Lovato, and Nicki Minaj sporting animal hats.
Photo: Getty Images; Splash News

Not only were animal hats a favorite of the fall season, they were EVERYWHERE all year. Leading the pack was Jessie J in a warm n’ wooly SpiritHoods leopard hat. Jessie prowled the streets of her native London in this cute head snuggie, choosing to pair it with an orange blouse, matching orange lipstick, and a fierce visage that actually recalls the animal in which she’s enrobed. Similarly, Demi Lovato wore a panda hat while hanging with pals at a haunted house in LA. We love that Demi chose to embody the sweet nature of the panda by donning slightly subdued smoky panda eyes and one adorbs smile. The aforementioned Nicki Minaj, on the other hand, wore her tiger hat to the Oscar de la Renta show for New York Fashion Week and took it one step further by throwing some leopard spots atop her hair for an extra added animal dimension. While this is a risky move (especially for a more uptown type of fashion event), we applaud Miss Minaj’s brazen, double-layering accessory audacity.


Nicki Minaj wearing food-themed jewelry from Onch Movement.
Photo: Getty Images

Where would 2011 be—style-wise—without the rainbow bright shenanigans of Nicki Minaj? She’s our unofficial accessory champion of the year! Who else would have the candy raver cajones to pull off not one, not two, but THREE insane food-themed accessories in one year? Seriously, the red carpet is less boring when Nicki struts down it, and when she does so in wackadoo accessories, we love her all the more. At the iHeartRadio Music Festival, our gal showed up in a CHICKEN WING necklace. That’s right, a gold chain weighted down with a pink-dipped plastic chicken wing just chillin’ out on her clavicle. (GAHMAZING.) Both the chix wing and the ice cream swirl necklace she sported at the MTV Video Music Awards (in what we can attest is one of the most joyously bizarre ensembles ever to grace the VMAs) are by Onch Movement as was the giant purple pretzel necklace she wore to Betsey Johnson’s spring 2012 show. It’s all outrageously delicious.


Katy Perry at the 2011 MTV VMAs, and Snooki at the 2011 MTV EMA.
Photo: Getty Images

Rings are a simple yet statement-making way to snazz up a look, and when you go for an oversized ring, your accessory is guaranteed to get some attention. This year, we saw a few ways in which this trend was executed. There’s the more subdued, matched-to-your-outfit choice that Katy Perry exhibited at the MTV VMAs. Katy chose a light peach-hued stone to compliment the pastel blues and pinks of her dress as well as the darker shade of peach on her nails. Even though it’s a larger ring, it doesn’t jump out too much; rather, it blends with the overall outfit. Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi took giant rings to another level, though, with her hand-covering, two-finger, mega bling ring that seemed to completely dominate her entire outfit at the 2011 EMA with its multiple sparkling baubles (which, surprisingly, pulled focused from those crazy nails). In the case of Snooki, if you’re going to go big, it’s best to just go HUGE.


Beyonce at the U.S. Open, Demi Lovato visits Y 100 radio station, Alexa Chung at the Hop Farm Festival, and Chloe Moretz at the Toronto Film Festival.
Photo: Getty Images

It’s easy to decree 2011 the Year of the Hat. Not only were hats popping up on runways and ad campaigns, our favorite ladies chose to add a dose of menswear chic to their streetwear ensembles with kicky chapeaus, too. Beyoncé, arguably, had the biggest year of all in so many different ways, but for the accessory lovers among us, we loved that she started adding fedoras and caps to both her pre and mid-pregnancy style regimes. At a basketball game earlier this year, Bey ran the world, er COURT, in a porkpie hat and undulating curls. Demi Lovato wore her slightly larger brimmed fedora with cascading waves, too, while also exhibiting the double layering technique by throwing in some feathers for good measure. Chloe Moretz kept her undersized porkpie balanced on the back of her head Charlie Chaplin-style, and Alexa Chung went for a wide-brim lady fedora with natural hair and makeup. We love each lady’s blend of both the masculine and feminine and hope this is a trend that sticks around next year.


Jessie J at the Vivienne Westwood jewelry collection launch, Katy Perry at the American Music Awards, and Kat Graham at a Samsung launch.
Photo: Getty Images

Speaking of noggin adorning accessories, there were a few outrageous (yet engaging) headpieces on the red carpet this year. Jessie J wore a Vivienne Westwood headpiece to the launch of the designer’s jewelry line. The silver leaf cutouts that almost appear to be blowing across her head were interesting and truly beautiful. Katy Perry also wore a Vivienne Westwood headpiece for her red carpet ensemble at the AMAs. You never want a headpiece to distract too much from the rest of the outfit, and Katy’s almost looks like a crystalline extension of her hair. Kat Graham wore a futuristic metal princess crown to a Samsung launch in early summer that made her little black dress have edgier depth.


Isabel Lucas at the ASOS Australia launch, Nicole Richie at the Baby2Baby event, and Kim Kardashian celebrating her Belle Noel jewelry line at Bloomingdales.
Photo: Getty Images

There were some rather head-scratching hair accessories this year, too. The first one that came to mind was Isabel Lucas (not to fret, you’re GORGE!) and her somewhat unfortunate Bo Derek-esque beaded wig headdress. Somewhat odd yet slightly more accessible was Nicole Richie’s self-designed House of Harlow head thong. For some reason, she actually makes this work in a medieval sort of way. Kim Kardashian wore a hair hammock for her ponytail that makes us think, “Huh?” and also, “Why?” If we’re going to dig even deeper, we might also suggest “HOW??” because how does this thing stay in place when your pony is whipping all over the place? (Really, HOW?) Sigh, it was a moment we’re still debating.


Lady Gaga in New York, Alexa Chung at London Fashion Week, and Evan Rachel Wood at the Venice Film Festival.
Photo: Getty Images

Houndstooth how we love ye, let us count the ways! Finally, we’re pointing out a genuinely 2011 style moment courtesy of Lady Gaga. (Trust us, she’s going to be all over our Best Of lists this year.) Mother Monster rocked the H-trend like nobody’s biz with a full-on, all-over harvest of houndstooth when she co-hosted The View. We’re talking every accessory being represented from hat to glasses to handbag. Bravo, Lady, BRAVO. Alexa Chung took a more subtle approach in her pair of Ralph Lauren houndstooth sunglasses. And even though shoes are technically their own category, Evan Rachel Wood treats them like an accessory as they’re the only bit of pizzazz adorning her streamlined Venice Film Festival ensemble.


Justin Bieber at Fashion’s Night Out in NYC, Anne Hathaway at the ’Rio’ premiere, and Ryan Gosling at the Cannes Film Festival.
Photo: Getty Images

Who doesn’t love a cutie in nerd glasses? We’re so happy that certain celebs aren’t afraid to exhibit their possibly less-than-perfect 20/20 vision by rocking nerd glasses with stylish attire at events. When done correctly, glasses can be a fantastic accessory that can pull an entire look together (and a smart look at that). Justin Bieber is the perfect example of this as his oversized black-rimmed glasses funk up his plum leather jacket and acid-wash jeans even more than you think they would. Don’t you want to ask him to quote Proust in those frames? We know Anne Hathaway’s a smarty pants (and a cutie), but there’s something about the glasses being used as an accessory with her purple dress that makes this whole look so much more interesting. She looks like the most approachable girl at the party. (Note to self: purple + glasses = radness). OK, we’ve come to Ryan Gosling at last. Sigh. Let’s stare at The Gos in his glasses and SHARP suit for a minute, shall we? The suit and white leather oxfords alone make this sartorial wonderment something special, but the glasses veer into hot professor territory, and we like that even more.


Rihanna in London, Jessie J modeling for Henry Holly for Pretty Polly, and Selena Gomez in Paris.
Photo: Splash News; Pretty Polly; Getty Images

Another giant accessory trend this year was faux suspender tights—and from the same designer. Rihanna wore Henry Holland’s suspender tights with shorts while bopping around London, and Selena Gomez wore the very same ones on the streets of Paris. Jessie J probably started the trend, however, as the actual campaign model for the entire range of tights. Yes, folks, when talkin’ tights for 2011, suspenders were superior.


Selena Gomez at the Teen Choice Awards, Hailee Steinfeld at the MTV Movie Awards, and Elle Fanning at the Chanel Boutique in LA.
Photo: Getty Images

Another MAYJAH development in the world of accessories as juxtaposed with red carpet moments was the uptick in tiny clutches. Not only are they great for holding your lipstick, ID, and some fresh dolla bills, tiny clutches—when chosen carefully for whimsical color or astonishing shape—can make any outfit pop. Case in point, Selena Gomez’s pink octagonal clutch by M.C.L. by Matthew Campbell Laurenza made her entire dress come alive. Without this pop of color, Selena’s look would have gone completely unnoticed. That’s not a snarky judgment, just an observation. The same could be said for Hailee Steinfeld’s green and black striped rectangular clutch. While we adore the Louis Vuitton sequin suit, there’s something about this little striped clutch that makes everything more fun. But holy moly mother of Coco Chanel, Elle Fanning’s mini Lucite Chanel clutch? However will we toast the end of 2011 and say hello to 2012 on New Year’s Eve without it?!

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