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Aquatic Fashion Inspiration for New Year's Eve

Can’t find the perfect outfit to wear on New Year’s Eve? Whether you’d like your ensemble to sparkle and shine or you’d rather be in your pajamas to watch the ball drop, find inspiration from the bold, shimmery, vibrant and iridescent colors and patterns of the aquatic animal world. We think they look fabulous all year-round!

Here are our nominees for “best-dressed” to ring in 2022:

Make a statement

A Mandarin dragonet shows that bold colors will always be fashionable. The Mandarin dragonet, or mandarinfish, gets its common name from the colorful robes of an Imperial Chinese mandarin, or bureaucrat.

The mandarin dragonet is small, about the size of a thumb, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in a proliferation of large, fanning fins and bright coloring.

A mandarin dragonet, found in Shedd's Wild Reef exhibit.

Stick to the classics

The banded butterflyfish is a marvelous model for a classic black and white style. Butterflyfish use their long, thin snouts to search for food in corals, or eat the coral itself.

A banded butterfly fish swims in it's habitat at Shedd Aquarium.

The banded butterflyfish, found in Shedd's Caribbean Reef exhibit.

Banded butterflyfish have narrow, round bodies with a jutting, pointed mouth.

Experiment with fringe

Flower hat jellies are a splendid example of fantastic fringe. These unique and multicolored jellies are nocturnal, meaning they sleep during the day— and stay up all night. Unlike other jellies that drift in the ocean, flower-hat jellies spend their time near the ocean floor so they can reach down for their food with their long hunting tentacles.

 A flower hat Jelly at Shedd Aquarium.

A flower hat jelly.

Sport an outfit fit for royalty

Walk into the party feeling like royalty with a dazzling crown like the queen angelfish. Queen angelfish get their name from the "crown" of electric blue encircling a black spot just above their eyes. Their vibrant colors help them evade predators by blending in among equally vivid corals on Caribbean and western Atlantic reefs.

A queen angelfish swims by, eye-catching with its bright yellow scales and fins with blue scales and fin-edges.

An adult queen angelfish.

A young queen angelfish's dark coloring and yellow stripes begin to fade into the bright yellow coloring of adulthood.

A juvenile queen angelfish.

Orange is the new black

Make the party a little brighter wearing orange! Midas cichlids, which can be orange, gray, brown and white, are found in freshwater lakes and estuaries in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

Midas cichlids, found in Shedd's Rivers gallery.

Slither into the party with ssstyle

Snake patterns are always in! Brilliant green Amazon basin emerald tree boas have vertical pupils to detect movement of prey on the ground from their usual perch, coiled on tree branches. They also have heat-sensing pits around their mouths to sense warm-blooded prey in the dark when they hunt at night.

An emerald tree boa curls its sinuous body around a branch at Shedd Aquarium.

Wear the 2022 "Color of the Year"

Despite its name, the blue blubber jelly can range in color from white to light blue to dark purple — similar shades to Pantone’s 2022 color of the year called Very Peri. The bell of blue blubber jellies pulses in a distinctive, steady rhythm.

Small mushroom-shaped jellies propel themselves through blue-lit waters.

A blue blubber jelly.

Cool colors are cool

Dazzle in shades of aqua like the blue-green chromis. Males and females of the species look the same, except when they spawn. Males will turn a light yellow color, with darker fins.

Green chromis have narrow, lemon-shaped bodies with trailing, double-pointed tail fins.

A blue-green chromis.

Go with a staple

Neutrals like cream, beige and brown should be a staple in your wardrobe. This moonlight gourami, native to ponds, bogs, swamps and lakes of Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, models a gorgeous creamy white tone. Their small, fine scales make them appear to shimmer in the water. The moonlight gourami has a special lung-like organ that allows it to breathe air directly.

Moonlight gourami have almond-shaped pale bodies with delicate, many-veined fins.

Moonlight gourami

Everything's better with texture

Texture can add interest to any outfit, and sea stars excel at texture. The lovely ochre sea star shown below is considered a keystone species, which means it is critical to the health of its natural ecosystem in the intertidal zone of the Pacific Ocean.

An ochre sea star with 5 arms lies on a rock.

An ochre sea star.

The tentacled underside of a sea star is visible as it clings against a glass surface.

You can never go wrong with silver and gold

Metallics are sure to shine like a school of golden trevally. The golden trevally genus, Gnathanodon, derives from the Latin for “toothless jaws.” These fish use their unique jaws to suck up food from the sandy ocean floor.

Golden trevally swim through Wild Reef's dark waters

A school or golden trevally in Shedd's Wild Reef exhibit.

Not sure what color to wear? Wear them all!

It's more colorful under the waves than you might think! Have a look at some of Shedd's more colorful residents below.

A group of colorful rainbow trout crowd together.

Rainbow trout sport a beautiful array of earth tones. The health of rainbow trout populations can be used as an indicator of water quality in their freshwater habitats.

A mantis shrimp's bright teal, red and green coloring stands out from its sandy surroundings.

A colorful mantis Shrimp in Shedd's Underwater Beauty special exhibit.

A mandarin dragonet twists to face a camera. Its right orange tail and back fins are visible behind its shockingly blue front fins and brightly yellow-spotted head.

The mandarin dragonet is not afraid to show off some color in Shedd's Wild Reef.

Mimic poison dart frogs are tiny-- shorter than one's thumb, and rely on their bright patterns to warn predators off.

A mimic poison dart frog in Shedd's Amazon Rising.

A bue poison dart frog sits among tigs and leaves in its habitat, small but brilliantly blue against its green and brown surroundings.

Poison dart frogs come in an amazing array of colors and patterns!

The dense, long, needle-like spines of a fire urchin form an effective defense against predators.

The striped spines of a fire urchin.

Tiny flower-like polyps cluster together on a rock.

Button polyps form colorful coral formations.