There were the fashion trends of 2012: Color-blocking continued. Women of all shapes delighted in the return of the peplum. Guys and gals frolicked through town in salmon-pink skinny jeans. Metallic wedged sneakers were retro '80s chic. Ombre hair was hot. Ombre nails were hotter. And Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte brought icy grills back into the fashion fold.

But there were also the moments. These flashes in time forced us to rethink our shopping habits, challenged our long-standing stereotypes, and allowed guys to be girls and girls to be guys. Here are 12 moments of 2012.

Wherever I go, there you are. Brad Pitt became the first man to serve as the face of a women's perfume with one of the most-spoofed commercials in history, and high fashion continued to change the rules. Other gender-

bending examples: YSL's creative director used a woman, Saskia de Brauw, as the face of its menswear line. Lady Gaga posed as her alter ego "Jo" on the cover of Vogue Japan.

"Greige" gets a platform. America was introduced to the gray and beige combo color after first lady Michelle Obama wore the nail polish to the Democratic National Convention. Overnight, it skyrocketed from runway grunge to soccer-mom chic.

YSL goes longer. Creative director Hedi Slimane dropped the YSL moniker from its ready-to-wear line in June, becoming just Saint Laurent Paris. The name change signaled that luxury labels can get stale and that the "Housewives" can cheapen a once-elite brand.

Salon in the sky opens. Vidal Sassoon died, and we remembered the British stylist who was single-handedly responsible for creating the now-classic asymmetrical bob of the 1960s. It freed women from hairsprayed helmets that were twirled and curled and gave them hairstyles that needed no setting.

Michael Vick unveils V-7 Apparel. The Eagles quarterback launched his line of compression shirts and shorts with a lot of fanfare. But the apparel, and later the accompanying app, never really took off - kind of like the Eagles' 2012 season.

From workout gear to searing symbol. Florida teen Trayvon Martin's death forced us to ask the unfortunate but necessary question: Does a black man become menacing merely by donning a hoodie? Americans of all backgrounds pulled up their hoods as a way to challenge racial stereotypes within black and white communities.

The poor ponytail. Gabby Douglas may have won an Olympic gold medal, but black women slammed her for her messy do. The resulting brouhaha illustrated a culture's misplaced priorities: Perfect hair trumps all.

Opening-ceremony Olympic uniforms at a loss. Ralph Lauren's preppy made-in-China getups touched a nerve with Americans dealing with a dismal economy. Lauren promised the team's winter 2014 uniforms would be made here, and we all started to think twice about where our clothing comes from.

Daffy's goes dark. After 20 years, the designer discount retailer closed its doors, forcing on-a-budget style seekers to find the perfect velvet blazer elsewhere.

Intermix opens; Knit Wit moves. These stores up our fashion quotient, but their addresses mean more to Philadelphians than the DVF and J Brand labels they both carry. Walnut Street, once home to a string of upscale, independent boutiques, now is populated by fast-fashion stores and chains. And it seems the homegrown designer stores have moved to Chestnut. But with Center City rents continuing to skyrocket, who knows how long that will last?

Kanye West as legend in his own mind. The 35-year-old rapper launched a womenswear line in February at Paris Fashion Week to less-than-stellar reviews. It was the first move in a year of peculiar fashion choices: from dressing the same as Kim Kardashian - the couple became known as Kim-ye - to performing at the Concert for Sandy Relief in a skirt.

A Spanx shout-out. English songwriter Adele admitted to wearing four pairs at one time under her Grammy dress, illustrating our addiction to shapewear. Forbes dubbed founder Sara Blakely the youngest self-made female billionaire this year, and the King of Prussia mall landed the specialty store's second U.S. location.

Contact fashion writer Elizabeth Wellington at 215-854-2704 or ewellington@phillynews.com. Follow her on Twitter at ewellingtonphl.