I’ve finally worked through most of the Ready-to-Wear shows for Fall 2016, pinning directional looks along the way. HECTIC is the word I’d use to describe most of the fashion coming down the runway because outfits were maximal in the extreme. Glance at the Gucci, Prada, Sacai, Chanel and Marc Jacobs shows and you’ll see what I mean. My hunch is that designers were inspired by over the top Fashion Week street style, which often combines many items in one outfit, in very unexpected and mismatched combinations. 

There was quite a lot of fashion coming down the runway that I did not like, which is unusual. That said, I’m pleased to see that Maximalism is the fashion direction for a while because we need a change from the Minimalism trend. Or at least, I do. 

My favourite collections were J. Crew, Michael Kors, Akris, Jil Sander Navy, Bally, Emporio Armani, Elie Tahari, Eudon Choi, Alice & Olivia and Rachel Comey

Four trends stood out from the hundreds of shows that I watched:

  • Maximalism
  • Waist Definition
  • Sporty Luxe & Athleisure Take a Back Seat
  • Extended Sleeves 

Models were wearing it all, plus the kitchen sink. There was lots of belting at the waist and midsection tailoring. Sneakers, sporty garment detailing, and relaxed athleisure vibes were scarce (a huge change to what came down the runway four years ago). And most shows showcased some form of extended sleeve, which varied from wearable to laughable. 

The world is finally embracing that there is no one way to be stylish. Fashion has become a melting pot of sartorial choices. Here are twenty trends for Fall and Winter 2016: 

1. Maximalism

Maximalism means wearing it all together to create a harmonized whole. Remix patterns, textures, colours and silhouettes, because the only limit to the aesthetic is your own tolerance for the combination. Pair unexpected silhouettes and fashion personas. Pile on accessories, dress in layers, and don’t forget dramatic nail polish, rainbow hair, and make-up.  

Maximalism runs on a continuum, and you’re free to interpret it as fully as you see on the catwalks, or tone things down considerably to create a minimally maximal look. Maybe you’d prefer something in-between — it’s all good. 

2. Cropped Pants

Jeans and trousers in just about any silhouette, fabric, colour and pattern are trendy — as long as they are cropped two to four inches above the ankle and worn with complementary footwear. 

3. Pink

Pink, from the palest blush to the richest shocking pink and fuchsia are happening. Make pink a neutral and combine it with any colour if your tolerance for colour matching is high. Pink and yellow is particularly strong.

4. Waist Definition

It was brilliant to see this trend gain momentum. Bring back the tailoring, I say, because oversized slouch has reached its peak. Showcase your waistline by wearing belted tops and toppers and tailored pieces. Think fit-and-flare frocks and high rises on jeans and pants. Tuck fluid tops into pencil skirts. The higher rises on jeans, pants and skirts are all about defining the waist when tops are tucked or semi-tucked. 

5. Renaissance 

Think velvet, brocade, lace and jacquard across all wardrobe items, and wear them together for maximal effect. Feel free to wear a corset too. The dandy style of the New Romantics in the ‘80s is great inspiration. 

6. Gothic Romance

Head to toe black with LOTS of texture and garment interest is strong. Interpret this trend in a maximal way for a fresh approach. For example, remix black wool, faux fur, lace, brocade and leather in one outfit. 

7. Sharp Shoulders

Extended pointy shoulders are back with a vengeance across jackets and coats. Think evolved ‘40s and ‘80s silhouettes for an intentional linebacker look. (This trend tends to appeal to those with narrow shoulders.)

8. Sensational ‘70s

The glam, boho and disco style sensibilities of the sensational ‘70s know no bounds. Think full-length flared jeans and trousers, flounces, ruffles, bowed blouses, T-necks layered under dresses and tops, fringe, suede anything, leather trench coats, midi skirts and dresses, wrap tops and dresses, bell sleeves, and half-shoulder silhouettes. 

9. Plaid Coats

Think of any type of checked pattern — from gingham and houndstooth to tartan and glen plaid — and sport it in your favourite coat silhouette. 

10. Military Ink Blue

Dark blue military coats are always in style, but they’re making quite the fashion statement this time round. You can’t go wrong buying a classic dark blue military coat or peacoat. Ever. 

11. Extended Sleeves

Sleeves that extend beyond the wrist to cover the palm of the hand but expose the fingers are happening across both dressy and casual dress codes. Sleeves that extend to cover the hand in true street style fashion are for the more adventurous. Remember that you can turn back cuffs and scrunch sleeves for full hand exposure. 

12. Trouser Suiting

There’s a trouser suit revival that’s quite fabulous, and could come in handy for work or over the dressier holiday season. Many of the suits are pinstriped, but trouser suiting in all colours and fabrications is fab. 

13. High Fashion Puffer Coats

Fancy puffer coats — an oxymoron, right there — are making a statement in all sorts of silhouettes, colours and lengths. Lots of models were wearing them over dressy attire. This was the only sporty item that was not scarce on the runways.

14. Socks & Sandals

Wearing sandals with socks is an acquired taste, and I’ll leave it at that. 

15. Shearling Outerwear

Most runway collections showcased a short or long shearling topper in a neutral, and combined it with both dressy and casual outfits.

16. Faux Fur Toppers

Fuzzy is fabulous. ANY type of faux fur jacket, coat or vest is trendy at the moment. Think any colour and silhouette in a solid or pattern. 

16. Mary Janes 

Retro Mary Janes — some worn with socks — have made a charming comeback. Heeled, flat, dressy or casual, it’s all good. 

17. Balloon Sleeves 

Sleeves that flare out into a balloon and taper back onto the forearm are making an architectural statement on tops, jackets and coats. 

18. Reconstructed Denim

Think patchwork denim, released hemlines, and raw edges across cropped and full-length silhouettes. All washes are fab — from light and highly distressed, to raw and dark. 

19. Platforms & Round Square Toes

Think platform boots, booties, Mary Janes, oxfords, sandals and loafers with rounded square toe boxes. Or leave off the platform part and do the toe box. 

20. Roomy Fits 

Oversized and fluid fits are still going strong, but they are no longer the most trendy fit. Tailoring is definitely gaining momentum, and I couldn’t be happier about that! 

Along with the scarcity of Sporty Luxe and Athleisure on the catwalks, there were also far fewer skinnies. Jeans and trousers were wider, and body-con took a backseat too. That said, these trends may have disappeared from the catwalks, but retailers will keep them alive because YOU will buy them. Designers can fight to change the status quo till the cows come home, but retailers will hold strong if they know that a less trendy silhouette will make a profit. 

Filter through the trends. Keep the ones that tickle your fancy on your radar and leave the rest. Don’t stop rocking your signature looks, but also try something new. The “personal” in personal style means styling the trends your way, which is the best part in all of this. Feel refreshed and empowered as the new season unfolds. 

And last, here are a few catwalk looks from J.Crew for Fall & Winter 2016 that I thought were beautiful. I might not want to wear them, but I love looking at them.

J.Crew Collection