Work and family visits take me to Europe frequently and I enjoy observing fashion across the continents. Trends are generally the same, but cultural and regional preferences do create important differences. For example, skirts were big in London last Autumn but virtually non-existent in America. Instead, dresses were the “it” item over here.

Spring 2008 was officially launched in Euro stores this month, which made the timing perfect for my visit to Spain last week. Spanish-based fashion retail stores offer an excellent overview of European fashion trends. Here is a summary of what the new season brought to Barcelona last week.


  • Brights – tomato red, watermelon coral, citrus yellow, kelly green, lipstick pink, mandarin orange and cobalt blue
  • Pastels – antique pink
  • Neutrals – army green, mushroom brown, warm tan, ink blue, cream, white and black


  • Florals both large, small, monochromatic and brightly coloured
  • Black and cream gingham
  • Earth toned tribal designs


  • Leather
  • Metallic silver and gold man made and natural fibre blends
  • Creased futuristic polyester blends
  • Linen
  • Silk
  • Rayon and cotton blends
  • Denim
  • Cracked patent


  • Skinnies were by far the most popular silhouette for casual pants. Leg openings for skinnies ranged from extremely tapered to straight. Fashion critics who predicted that skinnies would be gone in one season were so wrong. We are going into our fifth season for this style and it has become a mainstream basic. You can’t wear a voluminous tunic with anything else and nothing tucks into boots quite as well as a pair of skinny pants.
  • Bootcuts were the order of the day for pants that weren’t skinny and many of them higher in the rise.
  • Knee length pencil skirts in denim and thick cottons.
  • 80’s “membership jackets”, but fabulous this time around. They’re fitted, tailored, sometimes belted and not bomber-shaped like they were 25 years ago – a modern day military look.
  • “Safari” inspired styling on dresses, skirts and jackets.
  • Belted trench coats in every colour and fabrication.
  • Fitted biker jackets in black and cream
  • Trapeze jackets
  • Belted jackets to the hip were just as popular as trapeze and baby doll styles.
  • Billowing soft tunics with wait cinching belts
  • See through soft blouses either tucked into high-waisted pants or left un-tucked and cinched in at the waist with a belt.
  • Voluminous short shift dresses and waist-focusing fit-and-flare ‘50’s dresses
  • Soft printed ankle length maxi dresses


  • 80’s inspired ballet flats (the pointy-toed kind with uniform circular cutouts patterned into leather or plastic)
  • ballet flats with ankle straps
  • Heels with “T-strap” detailing
  • Floral printed pumps
  • Gladiator sandals
  • Wedges
  • Converse sneakers in canvas and patent

I didn’t see wide-legged pants, colour blocked shoes, 50’s full skirts, acid wash jeans, shoulder pads or preppy blazers. But these trends might follow in the next few months. I’m particularly excited about the new season’s bright colours, gingham prints, military inspired styling, higher rises, biker influences, soft blouses, belted jackets, tunics, waist-focusing dresses, patent Converse sneakers and 80’s inspired ballet flats. Which Spring trends get you excited?

Michael Kors Carina BalletIndigo by Clarks GianaEnzo Angiolini Laces

Ballet flats that are characteristic of the season: circular cutout, floral and ankle strapped. The circular cutout ballet flats in Spain were less sporty and generally more retro 80’s looking than this Michael Kors style. I swear I had a plastic fuchsia pair as a teeny bopper and can scarcely believe that I bought a virtually identical cream pair in leather a few days ago.