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Let’s Review Your Burning Fashion and Beauty Questions From 2016

Why did everyone suddenly need to know how to cut the sleeves off a shirt?

Jennifer Garner wears a black off-the-shoulder dress to the Oscars.
Jennifer Garner, woman on fire.
Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images

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Well, guys, 2016 is winding down, and the end truly can’t come soon enough. But while we’re counting down the clock on what was a banner year for chokers OH, DID ANYTHING ELSE HAPPEN? — we can busy ourselves by rifling through Google’s data on the fashion and beauty queries that trended the highest and longest over the course of 2016. A look back at our wondering, inquisitive selves.

Let’s start with our most commonly asked fashion questions. Note that Google eliminated all “adult keywords” before giving this information to us, which is a real bummer, but we’ve gotten through worse this year, such as the sustained popularity of chokers. Here we go.

Fashion Questions

  1. How to cut sleeves off a shirt?
  2. How do I start modeling?
  3. What is haute couture?
  4. How to wear booties with skinny jeans?
  5. When can you start wearing white?
  6. How to become a fitness model?
  7. What is boho?
  8. What did people wear in the 90s?
  9. How to dress like a hippie?
  10. How to become a fashion designer?

Future alien civilizations, should they descend on the scorched, desolate landscape of the planet we call Earth and discover this list open in a tab on a laptop, forever unread, might have a decent idea of style in 2016: the ’90s influences, the ’70s influences, the rise of fitness as a form of social currency, the undying appeal of skinny jeans and booties. They will not, however, understand why some of you needed advice on how to cut the sleeves off a shirt.

Carrying on. Beauty.

Beauty Questions

  1. How to do a fishtail braid?
  2. How to make hair grow faster?
  3. How to shape eyebrows?
  4. How to curl hair?
  5. How to remove gel nails?
  6. How to clean makeup brushes?
  7. How to apply concealer?
  8. How to get rid of bags under your eyes?
  9. How to fill in eyebrows?
  10. What is balayage?

There’s not much to say here, because these are very practical, reasonable questions. Fishtail braids do seem difficult, and balayage is a word that the iPhone 6s tries to correct to “balata he.”

More telling were the fashion designers that trended this year, a number of them bubbling up out of controversy.

Fashion Designers

  1. Rachel Roy
  2. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen
  3. Angela Simmons
  4. Zendaya
  5. Kendall and Kylie
  6. Beyoncé
  7. Anita Dongre
  8. Sonia Rykiel
  9. Ivanka Trump
  10. Kanye West

While the successful launch of Beyoncé’s activewear brand, Ivy Park, put her at number six on this list, it was the Beyoncé halo effect that landed Rachel Roy at number one, after the generally low-key designer became embroiled in a Jay Z cheating rumor this spring. Ivanka Trump, meanwhile, would no doubt be further up the list if the presidential election had taken place earlier in the year.

There’s always 2017, Ivanka.

And 2018.

And 2019.

And 2020.

And finally, red carpet looks! Below, the top trending Academy Awards dresses of the year.

Oscar Red Carpet Dresses

  1. Jennifer Garner
  2. Jennifer Lawrence
  3. Charlize Theron
  4. Rachel McAdams
  5. Brie Larson
  6. Alicia Vikander
  7. Priyanka Chopra
  8. Cate Blanchett
  9. Kate Winslet
  10. Olivia Wilde

This might actually be the most surprising search trend of them all. No offense to Jennifer Garner, but Jennifer Garner? Because she showed up to the biggest entertainment event of the year, fresh off a dramatic breakup from her husband, Ben Affleck, looking like a quietly sparkling queen of the universe? Like a sober but self-assured testament to the power of the female spirit, in this, the year 2016?

Oh yes.