High and low. Fun and serious. Curious and open-minded. Reveling in characters. Appreciating the material world. Inviting everyone to the party. All of these are ways that The Times’s Styles desk defines its approach to whom and what it covers.
Equal parts stylish and Styles-ish, the “people” on this list — who are presented in no particular order — include politicians and celebrities and athletes and influencers and fictional characters from TV and film. Some of them appeared in the Styles section this year. Others simply captured our attention.
Love them or hate them, all have at least one thing in common. At some point over the past 12 months, they made us talk: about how we dress, how we live and how we choose to express ourselves. We welcome dissent. But we are, without a doubt, correct.
From the moment she revealed her pregnancy via a not-accidental “accidental” photo shoot, her growing belly — in all its bare, distended gloriousness — was impossible to ignore.
Since getting back together with Jennifer Lopez, he has submitted without apparent resistance to a glow-up, going from Dunkin’ to Gucci in less than a year.
It took an apron and little else for Ms. Stewart to demonstrate that thirst traps have no age limits.
The tennis player went out with a bang in a little black dress.
The Puerto Rican reggaetonero subverted gender norms by wearing a Burberry trench dress to his first Met Gala, and then made an even stronger statement when he smooched a male dancer onstage at the MTV Video Music Awards.
When the singer wasn’t pulling out a flute on red carpets, she was playing a crystal one made for President James Madison in 1813 — and designing (and modeling) a new shapewear collection, Yitty.
The freestyle skier and breakout Winter Olympics star made helmet hair chic.
Andrés in ‘Los Espookys’
Blue hair is one of the milder fashion statements made by Andrés, portrayed by Julio Torres, whose Surrealist style was on full display when he showed up to a job selling staircases wearing a sequined headpiece shaped like a staircase.
Úrsula in ‘Los Espookys’
The clothes worn by Úrsula, portrayed by Cassandra Ciangherotti, are less flashy and eccentric. But few hairstyles convey more self-assuredness than her out-of-its-time half updo.
A basketball player turned coach at Texas A&M University, Ms. Carter has redefined what a game-day wardrobe can be by choosing outfits that show off her personal style, like the white turtleneck she paired with bubble gum pink leather pants and high heels.
Ryan Gosling as Ken
There may be many Kens in the forthcoming “Barbie” movie, but the shiny-chested, platinum-haired version portrayed by Mr. Gosling melted brains like a Mattel doll on fire.
The actor, who this year became the first nonbinary person to cover Vogue, has captivated red-carpet watchers by dressing both elegant (a black Miu Miu leotard and cape at the Toronto International Film Festival) and whimsical (a Loewe balloon dress at the Olivier Awards).
Jobu Tupaki in ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’
Even an Elvis costume could not overwhelm Jobu Tupaki, portrayed by the actress Stephanie Hsu, who brazenly pulled off just about every look in the multiverse.
Her 1985 song “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” reached an entirely new audience — and the tops of singles charts in Britain and the United States — when the track became the song of the summer after being featured the latest season of “Stranger Things.”
Call it “swagger” (as he has), call it style: Either way, there’s no denying the Party Mayor’s got it, along with a closet full of impeccably tailored suits.
Lots of people have shaved their heads, but far fewer have simultaneously shaved their eyebrows. And fewer still have done both on Instagram Live.
The feline model has continued to shatter records for magazine covers, ad campaigns and mileage clocked on catwalks (in both couture and spray-on clothing).
As a rookie on the notoriously clean-cut New York Yankees, Mr. Cabrera won over fans by pairing a beaded necklace with his pinstripes.
Oliver Putnam in ‘Only Murders in the Building’
Among the questions left unanswered in the dark comedy’s latest season: Just where does Oliver, portrayed by Martin Short, get all those fabulous scarves?
Madonna’s “favorite D.J. in the whole world” received a Grammy nomination for her work on Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” album and, in November, accepted a queer visionary award from the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art.
The actress affectionately known as Keke “Keep a Job” Palmer by fans had no trouble keeping the attention of fashion obsessives this year, whether onscreen (with her wardrobe of vintage rock tees in the film “Nope”), on the red carpet (in looks like a fuchsia tulle Christian Siriano dress) or in magazines (wearing a white mesh mini dress on the cover of Glamour’s July issue).
Heidi Klum as the Worm
No one captured the existential horror of “sexy Halloween” quite like she did this year.
The curator of the Brooklyn Museum’s Virgil Abloh retrospective demonstrated how effectively a good hat can establish a signature look.
If looks could kill, as they say. Sadly, these ones do. But the mature bugs’ wings — pale gray with elegant black dots and a flash of scarlet red — made a serious visual statement as the insects pushed further into the United States.
The actress has fallen in and out of fashion favor. This year she was very much in, in no small part for dressing like Andrea Sachs, her character in “The Devil Wears Prada.”
It was a bad year for the British Formula 1 driver on the track. But he was far more successful when it came to getting dressed, wearing Valentino pink suiting on the cover of Vanity Fair’s September issue, Kenzo and Versace knits in the pit lane and, to the chagrin of the sport’s governing body, lots (and lots) of bling.
Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker
Despite the obvious Dolce & Gabbana sponsorship of their wedding in Portofino, Italy, they looked good at that gilded altar.
Was she terrible in “Funny Girl”? Yes. Did she look great on that Gucci billboard? Also yes.
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson
The newest Supreme Court justice has brought statement necklaces to the Marble Palace.
She dominated the New York runways in September — and delighted many “And Just Like That …” viewers with her cameo as Rabbi Jen.
Maddy Perez in ‘Euphoria’
Gen Z largely has Maddy, portrayed by Alexa Demie, to thank for bringing ’90s and Y2K style back.
It had been years since the main stage of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” featured a performer as visually inventive as the Season 14 winner.
Lil Nas X
His outfit at the MTV Video Music Awards — a bare chest with a feathered headpiece and skirt by Harris Reed, who dressed the model Iman in a similar look at last year’s Met Gala — proved the rapper’s mastery of irreverence and references.
Deborah Vance in ‘Hacks’
Vance, portrayed by Jean Smart, oozes style and sass in a way not seen since Joan Rivers.
Shaheel Sanil Prasad
Even TikTok agnostics got religion after Mr. Prasad, a call-center worker also known as Shaheel Shermont Flair, posted satirical videos that showed him walking a runway (his patio) clad in chairs, screen doors and sheets of aluminum siding.
Nobody has ever looked as good playing dead on the cover of GQ.
Carmy and Richie in ‘The Bear’
Carmy, portrayed by Jeremy Allen White, favored vintage denim, tight white T-shirts and wool stadium jackets. Richie, portrayed by Ebon Moss-Bachrach, had a penchant for Adidas high-tops, track pants and gas-station sunglasses. Together, their wardrobes struck the perfect balance of classic and chaotic.
The fashion editor and stylist dressed some of the world’s most famous women, including Serena Williams and Bella Hadid, for covers of Vogue this year. She was also an unapologetic champion of inclusivity, as shown by her forceful criticism of Ye for wearing a “White Lives Matter” shirt at Paris Fashion Week.
Jeremy O. Harris
While seemingly always wearing Gucci, the playwright somehow always looked himself.
Sheryl Lee Ralph
Pearl in ‘Pearl’
Pearl, portrayed by Mia Goth, earned a place in pantheon of stylish scream queens with her blood red dress, lacy blue bow, smudged makeup, boots … and ax.
The Linda Lindas
Whether in thrifted dresses, baggy pants and graphic tees, or in pastel suits from Opening Ceremony, the teens and tweens in the Los Angeles punk band — Mila de la Garza, Lucia de la Garza, Eloise Wong and Bela Salazar — dressed how girls their age should: by staying true to themselves and having a lot of fun.
Her Mugler bodysuit made a stunning wedding “dress.”
Representative Ayanna Pressley
The Massachusetts congresswoman, who has alopecia and has worn her bare scalp with aplomb, this year co-sponsored the CROWN Act (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair), legislation that seeks to reframe the politics around everyone’s “crowning glory.”
As she settled into her role as a “Saturday Night Live” cast member, Ms. Sherman managed to pull off an aesthetic that deftly mixed “clown” and “horror.”
Few people seemed to have more fun on red carpets than the actor and podcast host, who always appeared so genuinely comfortable and happy in what he was wearing.
Dimitry in ‘Triangle of Sadness’
Dimitry, the pink-polo-shirt-wearing excrement salesman portrayed by Zlatko Buric, embodied the dissipation of indulgence.
After 14 years, the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” cast member launched her long awaited clothing line, She by Shereé. (Kind of.)
Uncle Clifford in ‘P-Valley’
The monochrome looks worn by Uncle Clifford, the nonbinary strip club house mother portrayed by Nicco Annan, were a master class in tonal dressing.
Not even the orbit of the buttoned-up White House, where Ms. Emhoff’s stepmother works as vice president, could pull the knitwear designer and IMG model away from her cartoonish personal style.
It has become kind of impossible to stand out at the Met Gala. But thanks to a midriff-baring Louis Vuitton gown, the vlogger managed to do so while interviewing guests on the red carpet.
James Webb Space Telescope
NASA’s splashy new technology served up several striking looks (into space).
The comedian and talk show host’s audacious Barbie style has fortunately only become more audacious.
While on tour this year, the My Chemical Romance singer’s looks included a nurse’s uniform, a green and white cheerleading outfit and a Rowing Blazers sweater.
Queen Elizabeth II
The hats. The hair. The handbags. For 70 years, Elizabeth II was not just the queen but the defining image of one.
The rapper has been known more for his lyrical style than his personal style, but he took his outfits to new places this year, including at Coachella, where he performed in a tonal black denim look that got hypebeasts talking.
Tracee Ellis Ross in ‘The Hair Tales’
Each hairstyle worn by Ms. Ross in the Hulu docuseries was more incredible than the last.
Prime Minister Sanna Marin of Finland
Ms. Marin captured attention with statements both personal (wearing a leather biker jacket and denim cutoffs at a music festival in July; posting videos of herself partying with her friends on social media) and political (moving to join NATO after the Russian invasion of Ukraine).
After Takeoff, a member of the rap trio Migos, was fatally shot in November, Mr. James mourned his death through fashion by arriving at a Los Angeles Lakers game in a black suit, sunglasses and a religious medallion — a look also worn by Takeoff — as a tribute to the rapper.
A muse to size-inclusive labels like Fashion Brand Company, the actress and comedian was giving sexy baby long before Taylor Swift made it a thing.
Mark Zuckerberg’s Avatar
Meta may not have taken off as Mr. Zuckerberg had hoped, but his metaverse avatar’s shrunken Thom Browne suit sent a serious message to fashion designers: A new market was theirs for the taking.
Kahlana Barfield Brown
The fashion and beauty editor entered the big (box) leagues with a buzzy new collection for Target.
Any lingering discourse about work-from-home style ended when the comedian wore that laptop harness on “The Rehearsal.”
Marie Gluesenkamp Perez
Thanks to the singer, gum chewing has become the coolest oral fixation.
The chef and artist created a handbag for a baguette.
During the N.B.A. finals, Mr. Curry boosted the profile of independent Black designers by wearing labels like Talley and Twine, June79 and Spencer Badu on game days.
Tanya McQuoid in ‘The White Lotus’
Portrayed by Jennifer Coolidge, Tanya’s Monica Vitti moment in Sicily was the stuff of mood-board legend. As was her “big beautiful ass in an amazing symphony of salmon.”
Watching how the stylist dresses clients like Megan Fox, Lori Harvey and Hailey Bieber is almost as exciting as watching what she wears herself.
From vintage Balmain at the N.A.A.C.P. Image Awards to channeling Audrey Hepburn in Valentino at the Emmys, the actor owned every red carpet she stepped on.
Velma in ‘Trick or Treat Scooby-Doo!’
Velma came out of the closet in style this fall — the style, of course, being her signature orange turtleneck.
Ye might have showered her with clothes during their fling, but after the couple broke up in February, Ms. Fox made it clear that her D.I.Y. dominatrix style was uniquely her own — and that she seemingly had little interest in the male gaze, despite showing quite a lot of skin.
Elvis in ‘Elvis’
The most memorable element of “Harry’s House”? The sequined jumpsuits in Harry’s tour wardrobe.
The people, characters, telescope and bug on this list were chosen from an initial pool of some 200 entries submitted by Styles staff members. The larger pool was winnowed down by a group of editors and reporters in meetings and video calls that were not without passionate debate. To those who did not make the cut, 2023 is just a few weeks away — and we’ll be watching.
Photos in order of appearance, Laurent VU/SIPA, via Shutterstock; Martha Stewart; Evan Agostini/Invision, via Associated Press; DeSean McClinton-Holland for The New York Times; Landon Nordeman for The New York Times; HBO; Texas A&M Athletics; Mark Blinch/Reuters; A24; Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet for The New York Times; Julien De Rosa/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images; Myles Loftin for The New York Times; Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times; Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet for The New York Times; Nate Palmer for The New York Times; Matt Rourke/Associated Press; Chris Graythen/Getty Images; Gucci; HBO; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images; Shaheel Shermont; FX; David M. Benett/Getty Images; Tony Cenicola/The New York Times; Krista Schlueter for The New York Times; Jin Mamengni/Xinhua via Getty Images; Mary Schwalm/Associated Press; Perry Knotts/N.F.L.; Noam Galai/Getty Images; Starz; Nina Westervelt/The New York Times; Rebecca Smeyne for The New York Times; Jane Barlow/WPA Pool; Sara Krulwich/The New York Times; Cooper Neill/Getty Images; Janita Autio; Meta; HBO; Emma Mcintyre/Getty Images; Focus Features; Noah Graham/NBAE, via Getty Images; Parkwood Entertainment; Frazer Harrison/Getty Images; Edward Berthelot/Getty Images; Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Produced by Anthony Rotunno, Christy Harmon and Callie Holtermann. Design and development by Shannon Lin and Gabriel Gianordoli.