For us mere mortals, the end of the calendar year usually leads to such stirring self-reflections as, "Did I go totally broke this year?" and "Do any of my pants still fit?" But for celebrities, we imagine the scorecard is more consumed by things like “number of cleanses completed,” their ratio of bought shoes to free ones, and, of course, a tally of tabloid covers and fashion-police arrests. Sadly, we can’t help them with the state of their colons or shoe closets, but we can single out a handful of stars who can rest easy this holiday season knowing that no matter what else went awry, their wardrobe did not. So herein we present our Best 11 of ’11, so chosen for the size of the sartorial splash they made, and, of course, the numerical symmetry of the name. We are nothing if not exacting. (For more from the Fug Girls, visit GoFugYourself.com)
After several years off the grid, Dunst burst back onto the scene thanks to Melancholia, for which she won the Best Actress Award at Cannes. And the press tour surrounding the film made us wonder if maybe she spent some of that time out of the spotlight shopping. Dunst used to gravitate toward clothes that wore her more than she wore them, but this year, she's looked almost unfailingly polished, while still maintaining her quirky sensibilities. It's nice to have her back … and awfully smart of her to come back looking so good.
Kristen really earned this one — and not just for heroically maintaining her cool while promoting a movie in which (spoiler!) a vampire infant is chewed out of her body and then bewitches her wolf bestie. In fact, after several years of standing in the spotlight looking like someone put itching powder in her britches (and that disastrous Runaways haircut, which felt like it took the life span of a Cullen to grow out), Stewart finally relaxed and hit her stride. She attended endless premieres and press events for Twilight — and all the teen- and tween-oriented awards shows it dominates — having finally nailed the exact right calmly glamorous look that mixes elegance with her trademark edge (and leg). Maybe she’s just relieved people can stop asking her about uterus-chewing, but we prefer to believe she’s just … dare we say it…happy.
Talk about a charmed year: Zoe Saldana looked so cool, so confident, and so cute throughout 2011 that we’ve started to wonder if she made some kind of deal with the devil. And the best part is, she rarely plays it safe; in fact, Zoe is one of the few actresses you can count on to wear color (like the amazing lemon Calvin Klein she wore to the Met Gala) and pattern (the ballsy peppermint-striped number she sported in Cannes). She seriously pulls off almost every risk she takes. At this point, we’re betting even her hangovers look impeccable.
Emma Stone is heading into 2012 as Hollywood's most adored new "It" girl, and why not? She's got the acting chops, she’s smart, and she has so much charm that we simultaneously envy her and are incapable of hating her for it (plus, God knows we have an opening for a Sassy Talented Redhead since Lindsay Lohan struck out on all three counts). Stone would be doing okay for herself even if she were bumming around Los Angeles in a burlap sack. Luckily, she instead opted to spend most of the year experimenting with a variety of fun, fashion-forward looks. They may not have always worked, but they were never boring, and at 23, experimenting is exactly what she should be doing. And she's made out with Ryan Gosling. 2012 has a tough act to follow.
Speaking of Gosling, let’s be honest: We all want to think that, prior to this year, we’d have I.D.-ed him based on Lars and the Real Girl, or … see, we already forgot the rest of his CV, because he was primarily known for his damp, manly yearning in The Notebook and his ensuing relationship with co-star Rachel McAdams. But in 2011, Gosling not only nailed an abundance of layered movie roles, he also displayed a natty, witty fashion sense, all of which contributed to the uproar when he lost People’s Sexiest Man Alive to Bradley Cooper. Which means we’ve officially graduated from wanting him to date some other girl, to wanting him to date us. In a whimsical suit, please.
Not so long ago, Lady Gaga was a walking Radio Shack – every outfit had strange metal protuberances, like you could plonk them on a TV set and pick up a decent NBC signal. She even came with her own carrying case (surely you haven’t forgotten the egg-mobile). It was exhausting, and perhaps a tad dehumanizing – she didn’t seem like a singer, or a person, so much as a sideshow. That’s why, after the heinous mess of her Jo Calderone appearance at the VMAs, we were so encouraged to see Gaga strip it down a bit. Just a bit, mind, but enough that we felt like 2011 was the year of Gaga Unplugged, rather than Gaga Unhinged.
Going from an unknown pre-teen to a multiple award nominee in the span of a few months might have broken other child stars (and probably has). But Steinfeld swanned onto the scene with self-possession that escapes even many more seasoned starlets — right down to making sophisticated and brave wardrobe choices that both winked at and defied her age, without prematurely turning her into a creepy pubescent pinup. That's a tough line to walk, and she cartwheeled down it like an Olympic gymnast.
Well, she's definitely the best-dressed alum of That ‘70s Show, now that Ashton Kutcher seems to be taking grooming tips from the homeless. But that’s damning with faint praise, so here's some actual kudos: Mila casually wandered into 2011 and used pretty prints and bold colors to steal awards season from pretty much everyone, including her Black Swan co-star Natalie Portman. Granted, Natalie was pregnant, but she's still Natalie Portman, and she won things, and yet we totally forgot that in the wake of Mila’s breakout glamour. Kunis even reduced Justin Timberlake to a mere accessory on the Friends With Benefits tour. Consider your transition to the A-list complete, Mila, and send your stylist some flowers.
Most avid Harry Potter readers leave the series with an abiding affection for Neville Longbottom, but few of them would have added, “Also, I’d totally tap that.” That is, until Matthew Lewis — the cinematic Neville — showed up at the Deathly Hallows Part 2 events looking like … how to put this delicately … a smokingly tasty slice of man-meat. “Hot Neville” may never have been in J.K. Rowling’s lexicon, but we’re thrilled to have it as part of ours.
When Jennifer Lopez got hired on American Idol, we thought, “Oooh, this might make Paula Abdul look like a Mensa candidate, and also, THE CLOTHES.” Yet she surprised us all, displaying a real charm paired with a willingness to give constructive feedback as opposed to just booty-smooching false hope, all en route to being named People’s most beautiful person. And also, THE CLOTHES. Plenty of them were as deliciously insane as we had prayed – her performance outfits were funnier than any episode of Whitney; NBC should just air half an hour of J.Lo – but she also dazzled us in equal measure. In other words, Lopez always goes big and never goes home.
One could argue that Pippa, who went from Bonus Middleton to having a Facebook page devoted to her bum, had the true breakout year. But she didn’t have as much at stake as Kate, who had to: a) plan and survive a sartorially perfect wedding the world would watch – Pippa’s rump-cradling confection included; b) survive comparisons to William’s mother, Diana, arguably the most beloved royal since Cinderella put a ring on it; c) embark upon a high-profile North American tour with a heavily scrutinized trousseau; and d) wear everything amid immediate speculation of a new uterine tenant. There is no brighter, harsher spotlight, and she stood tall in it and made us (and nearly everyone else) fall in love with her. Well played.
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