A Year of Being the Most

After two years of lockdown sweatpants and Zoom galas (remember those?), the party circuit in New York City came roaring back. Black-tie benefits went mask-free. Cultural performances held opening nights. Fashion labels hosted raves and intimate dinners. Movies and TV shows had red-carpet premieres. Gallery openings spilled out onto sidewalks.

The social set was not only raring to step out, but ready to dress up. While some dusted off their tuxedos and shopped their own closets, veteran partygoers were eager to unveil new looks. Designers showed evening dresses again. And the city’s peacocks flaunted their new feathers.

“People wanted to dress up and express themselves and look fabulous,” said Di Mondo, one of the city’s most photographed society figures.

The Styles desk captured this party renaissance in a new column called The Most Dressed. Each week, the editors pored over hundreds of photos and selected outfits that felt the most festive, the most original, the most creative and the most individual.

Looking back over 2022, we noticed a few trends: Colors were brighter, prints were bolder and accessories sometimes took center stage. Some outfits also felt more personal.

“I dress up to express what I feel,” Di Mondo said.

Fab Frocks

Partygoers, many of them men or nonbinary, pushed the boundaries of what constituted black-tie this year, wearing flowing dresses and lace tulle to some of the city’s most august galas, including for the Met Opera, the CFDA Fashion Awards and the New York City Ballet.

Gilbert Bolden III at a New York City Ballet gala in September.Credit…Krista Schlueter for The New York Times

From left, Antoni Bumba, João Menegussi and Lu Chen.Credit…Photographs by Rebecca Smeyne, Dolly Faibyshev and Krista Schlueter

Jae Gurley at a LaQuan Smith after-party in September.Credit…Rebecca Smeyne for The New York Times

From left, Jesus Herrera, Kid Cudi and Legendary Damon.Credit…Photographs by Calla Kessler, Krista Schlueter and Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet

Bags Unhinged

Why limit the fun to clothing? Partygoers were not afraid to let their outfits get upstaged by novelty statement bags — the more whimsical, the better.

Credit…Photographs by Dolly Faibyshev, Calla Kessler, Jackie Molloy, Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet, Krista Schlueter and Rebecca Smeyne

Electric Lime

Forget about Pantone’s color of the year, Viva Magenta. It should have been neon chartreuse, judging by how often this otherworldly hue showed up on red carpets, dance floors and opening nights.

From left, Cris Paladino, Tiler Peck and Malina Weissman.Credit…Photographs by Krista Schlueter

Moti Ankari, right, in a bright green Etro suit at a Louis Vuitton event in the Hamptons in July.Credit…Dolly Faibyshev for The New York Times

From left, Di Mondo, Ziwe Fumudoh and Memphis.Credit…Photographs by Krista Schlueter, Calla Kessler and Dolly Faibyshev

Aaron Rose Philip, right, and Hillary Taymour at the opening of a roller skating park at Rockefeller Center in April. Credit…Krista Schlueter for The New York Times

Flaunting Denim

Skinny jeans may be dead, but denim’s fashion days were hardly over. Whether it’s worn as a trench coat, layered or as a flared skirt, denim still starred in its own parade.

Sandra Shehab at the Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks event in October.Credit…Dolly Faibyshev for The New York Times

From left, Armiel Chandler, Alyssa Ackerman and Nigel Sylvester.Credit…Photographs by Rebecca Smeyne, Dolly Faibyshev and Ye Fan

Corin Christian at a party for Platform, an arts marketplace, in July.Credit…Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet for The New York Times

From left, Jodie Turner-Smith, Chris King and David Hill.Credit…Photographs by Rebecca Smeyne and Krista Schlueter

Next-Level Nails

Manicures and blowouts alone would no longer cut it. To elevate their style game, nightlife denizens brandished ornate and intricate nail art, occasionally accessorizing with a confection of jewelry.

Credit…Photographs by Dolly Faibyshev, Gabby Jones, Jackie Molloy, Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet and Rebecca Smeyne

Hairy Styles

Gala hoppers not only let their hair down, they tossed it sideways, braided it down their backs, dyed it every color of the rainbow and spit-curled it like an octopus.

Di Mondo at Lincoln Center’s fall gala, in October.Credit…Dolly Faibyshev for The New York Times

From left, Sharon Chuter, Brittany Byrd and Marie Candace.Credit…Photographs by Ye Fan, Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet and Nina Westervelt

Talya Bendel at fashion week party at Bergdorf Goodman in September.Credit…Dolly Faibyshev for The New York Times

From left, Alok Vaid-Menon, Theresa Chromati and Julio Torres.Credit…Photographs by Calla Kessler, Dolly Faibyshev and Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet

Flashing Pecs

Peekaboo fashion was big not only on runways this year, but on the party circuit. Chests were bared by men and women in the most unlikely of places, including formal galas, jazz clubs, film festivals and even the opera.

From left, Jeffrey C. Williams, Alex Frankel and Pritika Swarup.Credit…Photographs by Krista Schlueter, Rebecca Smeyne and Nina Westervelt

Yves Mathieu East at a Frame cocktail party in August.Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

From left, Woody Miller, Hailey Gates and D’Angelo Lovell Williams.Credit…Photographs by Rebecca Smeyne and Dolly Faibyshev

From left, Machine Gun Kelly, Rob Levy and Quil Lemons.Credit…Photographs by Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet, Rebecca Smeyne and Nina Westervelt

Show Them Your Backs

First impressions are important, but sometimes the best view is from behind — plus, it makes for a grander exit.

Credit…Photographs by Dolly Faibyshev, Melanie Metz, Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet, Rebecca Smeyne and Nina Westervelt

Fashion Rebels

Here’s to this year’s risk takers, the ones who defied convention and dressed as quirkily and originally as they saw fit. Yes, dress codes are made to be broken.

From left, Yas Gaudy, Lola Von Rox and Lela Rose.Credit…Photographs by Rebecca Smeyne, Dolly Faibyshev and Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet

The artist known as Tabboo! at the Machine Dazzle party in September. Credit…Dolly Faibyshev for The New York Times

From left, Lauren Amos, Candice Saint Williams and Angelica Lindsey-Ali.Credit…Photographs by Krista Schlueter and Nina Westervelt

From left, Steve Galbraith, James Braly, Johnny Koerber and Ross Haberman at the Silver Ball celebrating the Moth’s 25th anniversary, in May.Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

The Most Dressed features great outfits from up, down and all around town.

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