The Top 12 Moments That Defined 2009


January 1st is a special day each year, but this time around it’s officially the end of a decade. And while many important events occurred over the last ten years, the ones we witnessed in 2009 will leave the most recent and lasting impression.

So now that we’ve put on our best party dresses, popped the Veuve, and counted down from ten, it’s time for a little nostalgia. The following may not be the biggest news stories of the year per se, nor the most important events in politics or world peace, but these people, moments, and events are the ones that we’ll remember most in 2009. Read on…

1. The Obamas Take Office

When Barack Obama took office in January of 2009, it was only the beginning of change on Capitol Hill. Not only is Obama’s position as America’s first black president one for the history books, but with several years still ahead of him in office, he’s already been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. We’re especially fond of the current First Family, as they’ve brought some style back into politics. Michelle Obama’s fashion choices over the last year have been followed religiously by fashion websites and bloggers, and she’s helped several talented new designers rise to success within the industry.

2. Michael Jackson Dies
Chances are high that you can probably remember what you were doing at the exact moment that you heard of Michael Jackson‘s death. It is also highly probable that you didn’t believe the news at first. But alas, it was true, and the world mourned the loss of the King of Pop — perhaps the greatest performer of all time. Jackson, however, wasn’t the only star who passed in 2009; other important people who lost their lives this past year: Farrah Fawcett, John Hughes, Brittany Murphy, Patrick Swayze, DJ AM, Irving Penn, Ted Kennedy, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and Natasha Richardson will all be missed dearly.

3. 2009 is the Year of the Vampire
While vampires are about as new a concept as the typewriter, this past year saw the blood-sucking creatures rise from mere fictional monsters to a full-blown national obsession. Thanks to Stephanie Meyer, author of the Twilight series, tweens everywhere are no longer fearful of the fanged — instead, they want to be them. First, Twilight took off, then HBO jumped on the vampire bandwagon with True Blood. And just when we thought we were vampired-out, a new series, The Vampire Diaries aired on the CW in September. If vampire-themed shows start out-numbering medical dramas on television, we may have something to be worried about.

4. Twitter Takes Over
When we first heard about Twitter, we didn’t quite understand what all the fuss was over a social media outlet that was like one big glorified Facebook status update. Then things started getting crazy. The first real photo documenting the plane crash on the Hudson broke on Twitter, and then Ashton Kutcher initiated a highly publicized face-off with CNN to see who could reach one million followers first (Kutcher won). Other celebs are using the site as a means for personal PR, too. Just this past week, Lindsay Lohan broke the news of her upcoming clothing line for 6126 via tweet. Tweet us!

5. Bernie Madoff is 2009’s Biggest Villain
When Bernie Madoff’s massive fraud was uncovered in March of this year, not only did he go down– he took a ton of people (and all of their savings) down with him. “Ponzi scheme” became part of our everyday lingo as Madoff quickly turned into the most hated man of the year. We secretly rejoiced when hundreds of luxury goods seized from Madoff’s home were put up for auction in November. What can we say — karma’s a bitch.

6. Fear of Swine Flu Grips the Nation
The amount of coverage the swine flu received in the last year instilled a fear in us we had never quite experienced before. Every time someone coughed on the subway, we were convinced we were days away from our deathbeds. Spring break trips to Mexico were cancelled (except for Speidi’s of course), and face masks became the newest fashion statement….okay, not exactly. Although we made it safely through 2009, experts say that the threat of H1N1 will persist into 2010. Just don’t make us wear our face masks to fashion week, please.

7. Tiger Woods’ Sleaziness is Exposed
With all the sex tapes, incestuous affairs, and other scandals that plague the famed, we’re hardly phased these days by an unfaithful sports star. But Tiger Woods is more than any old professional athlete. Once the best golfer in the world, not to mention someone that kids looked up to and wanted to be, Woods is now nothing more than a cheating, lying, disgrace of a man. With a list of mistresses across the country that keeps on growing, Woods is officially the biggest disappointment of the year.

8. Don Draper is the New American Obsession
Men want to be him and women want to sleep with him. Mad Men protagonist Don Draper is the most iconic male figure since James Dean, and he’s not even real. So what’s the big to-do? A combination of devastatingly good looks, refined style, and a job that requires a glass of scotch and a notepad are all part of the allure. Mad Men may have already wrapped up its third season, but 2009 saw the Don Draper effect in full swing.

9. Jon and Kate Gosselin Split
Jon and Kate Gosselin’s split after ten years of marriage was a public battle somewhat akin to the whole Team Aniston/Team Jolie scandal…except in this case there was really only one side to be on. The most beloved family in all of reality television was split apart, breaking the hearts of many fans across America. Jon was rumored to be cheating, and the children were forced to live out their grief on national television. The ex-couple’s divorce was just recently finalized, and for the kids’ sakes, we’re hoping that the final episode of Jon and Kate Plus 8 that aired November 22 will be the last of their TV appearances for good.

10. Bloggers Are In, Magazines Are Out

A few years back, people complained that with the rise of reality TV, anybody could get famous — but you still had to make it onto TV somehow. Now, anyone really can get their 15 minutes. All you have to do is start a blog. This year we watched as fashion bloggers (like Tavi Gevinson, above) replaced magazine editors at the front rows of fashion week, while print saw its worst year yet with over 400 titles folding in 2009 —Gourmet, I.D., Domino, Modern Bride, and Time Style & Design were just a few of the unlucky ones to get axed. With editorial clearly moving online, we’re thinking that bloggers have only begun to see their shining moment.

11. A Miracle Happens on the Hudson
What could have been one of the biggest tragedies of the year turned into a “Miracle on the Hudson” as the event has been dubbed. An impeccable landing and heroic effort by pilot Chesley B. Sullenberger III allowed the 155 passengers aboard to emerge safely from the sinking aircraft last January. The truly heart-warming story set against an otherwise abysmal year proved to the public that courage, compassion, and happy endings still do exist.

12. Recession Savvy Fashion Goes Global
When the recession hit, the first thing to go was shopping, and even those who could still afford an Hermes scarf practiced discretion by requesting plainly marked bags at the register in lieu of the iconic orange ones. This past year, retailers (and Anna Wintour) had enough, and launched a campaign to jumpstart consumer spending. Thus, Anna Wintour’s brainchild Fashion’s Night Out was born, which urged consumers in major cities all over the world like New York, London, and Milan to start shopping again. This past year also saw the most designer diffusion lines yet, like Rodarte’s recent collection for Target and Jimmy Choo for H&M, which brought more recession-friendly prices to fashion lovers everywhere.

What were your favorite moments of 2009?