Lupita Nyong’o accepts the award for best actress in a supporting role for "12 Years a Slave" during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday, March 2, 2014, in Los Angeles.  (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

Top 10 black fashion moments of 2014

10. Viola Davis’ Wig on Shonda Rhimes’ “How to Get Away with Murder” on ABC

More people talked about her character, Annalise Keating’s cock-eyed hairpieces, than the actual plot of the show. But when she took off the wig at the end of a recent episode, fans related to the wig as part of the armor that helped her cover her pain. Black women totally related to that hair issue.

9. Solange’s Glamorous November Wedding

Solange Knowles’ wedding in New Orleans’ Marigny Opera House was one of the classiest celebrity nuptials I’ve ever seen. The background was exposed brick. The simple, caped dress by Kenzo was pretty fly. And her family – also dressed in ivory – looked phenomenal. This was a much better look than the now infamous Solonge/Jay Z elevator incident that popped off earlier in the year.

 8. Kanye West/Kim Kardashian Make Vogue Cover

LOS ANGELES, CA – MAY 12: Kim Kardashian and Kanye West talk from their courtside seats before the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Denver Nuggets in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)

Much to the chagrin of fashion purists everywhere, Anna Wintour actually put the couple on the April issue of Vogue. In hindsight, it was clearly shameless self-promotion for their wedding the following month — an over-the-top affair in Florence, Italy. However Kim’s tummy-bearing Givenchy was bold and slick.

 7. Human Hair Finds Home in Philadelphia-area Vending Machines

Former high school basketball star and Philadelphia entrepreneur, Marvin Kilgore put a luxury vending machine that sells remy – yes 100 percent human hair from India and Brazil in The Gallery at Market East in late October. The vending machine, perfectly situated in front of a MAC Cosmetics pop-up, has been there since October and is still eliciting spirited chit-chat from curious passersby. Kilgore plans to put the machine in Cherry Hill and King of Prussia malls, too.

6. Black Twitter Goes Nuts Over Black Fashion Misappropriation

Whether it was crediting Kendall Jenner with making cornrows chic, giving Iggy Azalea big butt props, or runway models rocking baby hair, Black Twitter wasn’t having it.

5. Booty, Booty, Booty, Booty, Booty Everywhere

Rihanna rocked a sheer, body-skimming Adam Selman gown to the Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards in June. Beyonce’s white mesh Michael Costello gown stole The Grammys. Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea tried to make pop-music history (but only really irritated folks) with their single and video, “Booty.” And Kim Kardashian managed to nearly break the Internet with her controversial, oiled-up Paper Magazine photos. Not to mention, the backsides I saw creeping out of too short-shorts up and down Market Street all summer. #SMH.

4. Jumpsuit/Onesie Takeover of black fashion

I’m sure this has a lot to do with the year of the booty, but black women loved showing ours off in one-pieces fashioned in everything from viscose knits to leather. I’m predicting the trend will continue to be strong in 2015.

Scandal Publicity photo

The Limited debuted a collection based on Kerry Washington’s Scandal, taking black fashion to the masses. (ABC Publicity Photo)

3. Pantone names Marsala the 2015 Color of the Year

The warm brown tone in lipsticks, nail polishes and even hair color compliments all hues of mahogany skin tones –light-skinned sisters not withstanding. (Speaking of all things perfect for our complexions, 30-year-old Ade Hassan launched a line of matching panty and bra sets in shades of caramel to cocoa last August called Nubian Skin.)

2. The Limited’s Scandal Collection takes black fashion mainstream

Say what you want about Kerry Washington’s character Olivia Pope. Yet the entire tailored grouping featuring slacks, sheaths and capes in classy neutrals and Pope’s signature ivory shade is simply awesome. Not only does this collection mark the first time a specialty retailer based a line of clothing on a TV character, they also managed to make a black woman’s look aspirational (as in there isn’t a mammy scarf or a pair of booty shorts to be found).

1. Lupita Nyong’o Named People’s Most Beautiful Person of 2014

Lupita Nyong’o dazzling 2014 award season culminated in April with the ebony-skinned beauty capturing the coveted title. Past winners have been Halle Berry and Beyonce. This may be a sign that we are moving to a space where women of all hues have the potential to be fashion stars.

Featured photo: Lupita Nyong’o accepts the award for best actress in a supporting role for “12 Years a Slave” during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday, March 2, 2014, in Los Angeles.  (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)


Elizabeth Wellington is a fashion columnist with The Philadelphia Inquirer and a contributor to the Wake Up With WURD show on 900 am WURD radio.

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