As a style professional I need to pay attention to the runways of fashion week because that’s where trends are born. These trends in turn have a huge impact on what we see in retail stores six months from now and even years beyond that. I enjoy seeing which trends make it through to retail stores, which trends go mainstream, which ones stay fringe, which are well received by the public, and which trends get no traction at all. Also, if you watch these shows every season, you build an appreciation for the general direction in fashion, although it may take a couple of years before things finally filter down in a meaningful way. 

This season we didn’t attend any of the shows in person, but I have watched every aingle Spring 2013 runway show online. With that as a frame of reference, this is how I see the trends for Spring and Summer 2013 shaping up. 

  • Colours: To recap an earlier post, all colours will be represented. From pastels, muted tones, jewel tones and brights, to earth tones, light earth tones and neutrals. I mentioned that blue will be big and that white was its runner up. But I’ve changed my mind now that I’ve seen all the shows. White might just be the colour of the season. 
  • Colour Blocking: I haven’t seen as much colour blocking since the ’80s. Colour blocked garments ruled the runways in every colour and in every wardrobe item. 
  • Pattern and Pattern Mixing: We are still in the middle of a gigantic pattern-rich and pattern mixing period. There is no holding back this trend. Think patterns in every single wardrobe item — clothes, footwear and accessories. 
  • Spring Leather: Leather garments and leather trimmed garments were shown in full force on the runways for Spring and Summer. This was unexpected after a leather and pleather-rich Autumn and Winter. Black, white, bone, grey and taupe leather were most popular. 
  • An Assortment of Lengths: Pants cropped to just above the ankle or further up the calf are still huge. Hemlines are short, knee-length or midi, which provides great variation. Generally, hemlines are getting longer although maxi hemlines are taking a back seat. I’m most excited about knee length long shorts, with short shorts no longer centre stage. And it looks as though we are once again heading for a trouser season. 
  • Silhouettes: Blouses, blouses and more blouses. Tops are soft, drapey, feminine and quite voluminous. Lots and lots of buttoned up blouses too. There’s also a blouse cut in the shape of a roomy t-shirt that looks interesting. Jumpsuits were very popular, but I just don’t see them becoming more than a fringe trend. Jackets with low stances and dropped waists are the new look. Peplums and suits are still on trend. Culottes might make a comeback. High-low hemlines are strong.
  • Turn Up The Volume: Although all three fit categories  — body con, tailored, and oversized – will be represented next season, the oversized fit reigns supreme. Clothing could not have looked more baggy and slouchy than what I saw at the shows. Intentionally oversized clothing is extremely on trend and fashion forward at the moment. I suspect it’s a direct reaction to the super tight silhouettes that have flooded retail stores for several years. 
  • Soft and Hard Dressing: Head to toe soft dressing was the name of the game last season, but now there is lots of mixing of hard and soft fabrications in one outfit. Mix leather and lace. Silk and rigid cotton. Faded denim and soft Spring knits. Linen with silk. Stiff cotton with soft cotton. Sci-fi with soft cotton. 
  • Sheer Layers: We’ll see skirts, tops and dresses made of ultra sheer fabrics. Clothing will also have sheer fabric insets and garments will be made of multiple layers of sheer fabrications. Watch those camisole sales soar! 
  • Tuxedo Striping: As part of the colour blocking trend, this look is already very popular right now. And it’s going to be bigger than ever next year
  • Sharp Angles: More and more we’ll see clothing with sharp angles like oversized vests, sharp shoulders on jackets, hemlines that come into a point and collars with sharp points. Boxy clothing made of stiff fabrications also tends to give off that sharp angled look. Lots of straight lines on clothing. 
  • Boxy Short Sleeves: I am not fond of this sleeve style on already boxy soft tops and jackets. The length finishes a few inches above the elbow, is wide at the hem, and is set into a wide armhole opening. The effect is overwhelming and very boxy. 
  • White Footwear: All shades of white footwear ruled the runways. WOW. As a lover of light coloured footwear it took my breath away. We can expect to see lots of white footwear six months from now.  
  • High Vamped Footwear: Peep toe booties are the shoe of the season. Spring booties are also big, as are loafers, slipper flats, fashion sneakers, sandals with wide straps, flatforms and flat oxfords. There were generally fewer platforms and many, many shows showcased flat footwear. Quite the breath of fresh air.
  • Clutch Handbags: Still the number one bag featured on the runway for for day and night. Structured satchels are a close second. 

My favourite shows at New York Fashion Week were Marc Jacobs, Rag & Bone, Alexander Wang, Tommy Hilfiger, Altuzarra, Zero & Maria Cornejo, 3.1 Philip Lim, Derek Lam, J. Crew, Vera Wang, Diesel Black, Michael Kors and Proenza Schouler. I enjoyed the Emilia Wickstead, ACNE and Gucci shows best at London Fashion Week. Jil Sander and Salvatore Ferragamo were my top fancy at Milan Fashion Week. And the Dries Van Noten, Rochas, Jean Paul Gaultier, Chanel and Louis Vuitton shows were my favourites at Paris Fashion Week. 

I enjoy the start of a new fashion season because there’s always a fresh way to interpret a look that tickles my fancy. I’m excited about all the trends, especially white footwear, Spring leather, clutch handbags, long shorts, blouses and slouchy silhouettes. Although I love the look of intentionally roomy clothing, part of me is apprehensive as to how the oversized trend will be interpreted and received at retail level. In my experience women generally prefer structured clothing — not too tight and not too loose — and its shortage will be problematic.

How do these Spring 2013 trends grab you? Do you long for a look that is no longer on trend? How do you feel about the huge resurgence of oversized clothing, baggy fits and slouchy styles?