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The Best and Worst Dressed Celebrities of 2012 (PHOTOS)

From Gwyneth Paltrow in Tom Ford to Kate Middleton’s jaunty McQueen, see 2012’s fashion highs and lows.

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From Gwyneth Paltrow in Tom Ford to Kate Middleton’s jaunty McQueen and Justin Bieber’s overalls, 2012 was filled with red carpet spectacle. Isabel Wilkinson rounds up the fashion highs and lows of the year.

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Best Dressed, Natalie Portman

At the Golden Globe Awards last January, Natalie Portman was a vision in pink: she wore a custom-made fuchsia satin dress with a crimson gathered hip, Jimmy Choo sandals and clutch, and Harry Winston jewels. An A+ all around.

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Best Dressed, Michelle Obama

There was something utterly pitch-perfect about Michelle Obama’s dress at the Democratic National Convention in September. First, it showed off her arms. Second, it subtly combined the color schemes of both political parties—a nod, perhaps, to bipartisanship? But most important, it was the work of the young African-American designer Tracy Reese, a native of Detroit. (A version of the dress, Tracy Reese announced afterward, would go on sale for less than $500.) And, to top it all off, J. Crew shoes.

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Best Dressed, Carey Mulligan

This dress was important for two reasons: Carey Mulligan hosted the Metropolitan Gala at the Costume Institute last May, which honored Miuccia Prada. And so, of course, she wore this two-toned gold and silver Prada halter dress custom-made for her by the designer. But it was also a big deal because she auctioned the dress off on eBay after the event—and it sold for only $2,950.

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Best Dressed, Gwyneth Paltrow

Sometimes the right people wear the perfect dress to the right events. Sartorially speaking, the stars align. They did just that on Oscar night for Gwyneth Paltrow, who showed up in an exceedingly simple cream-colored Tom Ford dress from his Fall 2012 collection, with a cape and Jimmy Choo heels. In my book, this was the best dress of the year.

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Best Dressed, Robert Pattinson

Robert Pattinson, king of surprises with suit colors. Fresh off Twilight girlfriend Kristen Stewart’s cheating scandal, he wore a Gucci blue suit, over a blue shirt and black tie, to the Cosmopolis premiere on Aug. 13—and looked pretty snazzy.

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Best Dressed, Rooney Mara

If we had published this best dressed list following awards season last year, the winner would undoubtedly have been Rooney Mara. But time has eroded our memory of her fashion this year, and she’s been upstaged by duchesses and legions of pop stars in neon. Here’s our favorite: a structured white Givenchy couture fishtail gown with a sculptural bodice from the Spring 2009 collection, with Fred Leighton jewels.

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Best Dressed, Diane Kruger

There’s something always so prim and proper—even old ladyish—about the components of a Kruger wardrobe: big diamond earrings, pumps, clutch, poufy skirt. A recipe for a good Park Avenue nap. But she always makes it look young and fresh. At amFAR’s Cinema Against AIDS Gala on May 24, she wore a short-sleeve Chanel dress embroidered with lavender and Christian Louboutin pumps.

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Best Dressed, Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley has been on a roll this year, with a string of incredible dresses during her Anna Karenina press tour. But a real highlight came at the film’s London premiere in September, when she wore a peach-colored dress from Chanel’s Fall 2012 couture collection with floral appliqué.

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Best Dressed, Kate Middleton

In the past year, Kate Middleton has flexed her fashion muscles, getting a little more comfortable and creative in her fashion choices. She looked radiant, for example, in a red Alexander McQueen dress with a pleated skirt, a jaunty Lock and Co hat, and (High Street chic) L.K. Bennett heels. Kim Kardashian—who later wore the identical dress—didn’t fare as well.

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Best Dressed, Lauren Hutton

In an age of perfect cocktail dresses, platforms, and clutches, God bless the woman who shows up in a suit and sneakers and still looks incredibly cool. Lauren Hutton looked effortlessly chic in a cream suit by The Row, a square shoulder bag, white T-shirt, and white Superga sneakers on the red carpet at the CFDA Fashion Awards in 2012.

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Best Dressed, Anne Hathaway

Hathaway was every where this year, between red carpet tours for her roles in The Dark Knight Rises and Les Misérables—and a wedding. But one of her strongest looks was the backless white Givenchy Couture dress with pearl beading at Les Misérables’ London premiere on Dec. 5.

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Best Dressed Couple, Tom Brady & Gisele Bündchen

Could these two look any better? At the Costume Institute Gala in May, Brady wore a black velvet Tom Ford evening jacket, tuxedo pants, and grosgrain bow tie—while Bündchen wore a floor-length, black sequined Givhenchy Haute couture gown and David Yurman jewels.

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Best Dressed, Kate Hudson

It was simultaneously intricate and astonishingly simple: Kate Hudson wore a nude Swarovski-crystal embellished one-shoulder dress by Atelier Versace Fall/Winter 2012 and Versace heels to the premiere of The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

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Best Dressed, Rachel Weisz

At the premiere of The Bourne Legacy in September, Weisz looked stunning in a white sleeveless chiffon Nina Ricci Resort 2013 dress with tiered layers and Bulgari jewels.

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Best Dressed, Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington is usually spot-on with her red carpet looks, and this yellow lace Stella McCartney dress was no exception. She paired it with Christian Louboutin heels and Sydney Evan jewels at the American Music Awards on Nov. 18.

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Best Dressed, Naomi Watts

At the premiere of Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted at the Cannes Film Festival on May 18, Naomi Watts looked stunning in a nude Marchesa Fall 2012 dress and Chopard diamond necklace.

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Best Dressed, Tilda Swinton

Tilda is fashion forward in a way that’s not always well-received. But the Haider Ackermann dress she wore to the Golden Globes in February was equal parts traditional and avant-garde.

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Best Dressed, Rihanna

So simple and yet so good: at the MTV Video Music Awards in September, Rihanna wore a white custom-made Adam Selman dress and Nude Manolo Blahnik heels. Paging 1995—in a good way.

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Best Dressed, the Entire Beckham Family

Apparently, good style is in their genes: at the premiere of Viva Forever, the Spice Girls musical in London, all the Beckham men wore suits by Burberry Tailoring (10-year-old Romeo is a new face of the brand) while Victoria wore a coat of her own design with Isabel Marant pants and Manolo Blahnik heels.

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Best Dressed, Eddie Redmayne

Another dapper dude: young Redmayne looked sharp in an Alexander McQueen suit at the New York premiere of Les Misérables.

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Worst Dressed, Justin Bieber

Who wears denim overalls to meet the Canadian prime minster? Justin Bieber does! And he stands by it.

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Worst Dressed, Charlotte Ross

A see-through mishmash of color and texture combined on the body of Charlotte Ross at the VH1 Divas event on Dec. 16. But she didn’t even seem to notice.

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Worst Dressed, Kanye West

Each of these items could have independently assembled with the best of intentions. But when they converged into a single outfit, all hell broke loose. There was Kanye West, striding through SoHo in a hoodie, leather sweatpants, and 1,000 other things.

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Worst Dressed, Miley Cyrus

Onstage at the VH1 Divas Concert, Miley Cyrus looked like a mix of Billy Idol and Jared Leto.

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Worst Dressed, Kim Kardashian

We didn’t mean Kimye to have such a dominant presence on the lower half of this list, but we were left with no choice: there was Kim, leaving Prime 112 in Miami wearing a really complicated bra and a see-through skirt with no underpants.

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Worst Dressed, Rihanna

The only person to appear on both ends of this list, Rihanna—in worse times—opted for a leather trash bag.

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Worst Dressed, Demi Lovato

At the Teen Choice Awards in July, Lovato wore an aptly named “Peacock” dress.

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Worst-Dressed, Lady Gaga

It may have been a wise commentary on a “Body Revolution,” but Lady Gaga looked absurd as she left her Paris hotel in September.

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Worst Dressed, Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj attended the ARIA Awards in November wearing, presumably, a Lisa Frank trapper keeper from 1995.

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Worst Dressed, Ke$ha

And finally, one last photograph provided without comment.