I’ve worked through the Spring 2018 Ready-to-Wear collections, pinning many directional looks along the way. Through the chaos of hectic over-the-top outfits, kitchen-sink combinations, unwearable items, messy hair, and scary make-up, a set of cohesive fashion themes emerged. This makes it easier to extrapolate and predict the trends that we’ll see for the next few Springs and Summers.
What stood out:
- Chaos, complexity, drama, uncertainty and excitement describe the state of modern fashion.
- The emphasis is on creativity and comfort, so there is little regard for creating conventionally flattering proportions.
- The enormous and overwhelming variety in today’s fashion supports what I call the Individualism and Maximalism trends. In other words, just about anything goes if you are confident and comfortable in your outfit.
- Irregular outfit juxtaposition continues to be THE styling tool of our fashion era.
- Athleisure — wearing sports gear and workout clothing as regular casual wear — did not make a statement.
- Sporty Luxe is alive, with sneakers often combined with dressier items.
- Skinnies took a backseat in lieu of wide and flowing silhouettes.
- Grey is less popular than it used to be.
- Dark denim, flats and low heels, roomy soft pants, midi dresses and skirts, rainbow of colours and high waistlines rule supreme.
Interestingly, despite what’s happening on the runways, retailers continue to flood the market with body-con skinnies and Athleisure because consumers buy the look. Remember that designers do not have the power to control trends as much as we do collectively as consumers. Retailers will stock items when it’s a sure sell at retail, despite what the trend forecasts predict.
On to the trends.
There is no one way to be stylish, and fashion has become a melting pot of sartorial choices. Increasing diversity in fashion with each passing year means that there is something for everyone. Trends are no longer seasonal and fads no longer exist. Take the PERSONAL in personal style to heart because you have the power to pick and choose from the trend buffet, and sport it your way.
Maximalism means wearing it all together to create a harmonized whole. Think of wearing complex silhouettes, combining them in one outfit, layering all sorts of pieces to create interesting proportions, accessorizing to your limit, pattern mixing, texture mixing, patchwork, embellishment, remixing high-contrast colours and clashing colours, wearing statement make-up, and adding nail polish and rainbow hair. Think drama, not subtlety.
3. Explosion of Colour
There was SO MUCH COLOUR on the runways, which was my favourite part of all. From crayola brights, pastels, ice-cream tones and earth tones, right through to jewel tones and muddy colours. Lilac, which Pantone named colour of the year, wasn’t as prominent as I thought it would be. There was lots of ice pink, poppy red, and emerald green.
4. White, Black, Tan, Toffee, Navy & Metallic
Despite the explosion of colour, neutrals in all shades of white, black, navy and metallics were as strong. Earthy shades like cognac, toffee and cinnamon looked fresh for Spring and Summer. Grey takes a backseat.
5. Florals & Gingham
‘Tis a hectic floral season. Think all sorts of florals. From dainty ditsies and romantic roses, to perfect poppies, lovely lilies, terrific tulips, crisp chrysanthemums and gigantic geraniums, across all colour palettes and wardrobe items, on both dark and light backgrounds. Some florals are soft and subtle, while others are big, bold and botanical.
Gingham is a classic Summer pattern that we see every season, and across most colours. The idea is to pair gingham with florals in the same outfit.
6. Polka Dots
Go Team Polka Dots, and a classic with a graphic vibe that’s having its fashion moment. Most renditions are black, blue, white and cream, but you’ll probably see dots across an assortment of colours and wardrobe items. The idea is to pattern mix dots with florals, gingham, and just about any other pattern.
7. Wide Cropped Pants
90% of the pants coming down the runway were wide or extremely wide, and most of them were cropped. Some silhouettes were fitted on the thighs and flared at the hems. Many were wide all the way down the leg. Fabrics were both soft and rigid.
8. Wide Extra Long Pants
Dramatic floor sweeping pant lengths are making a comeback. Some lengths looked very luxurious and leg lengthening, whereas the extra longer lengths looked dreadfully precarious and impractical. Interestingly, many extra long lengths were paired with flat footwear.
9. High Rises
Most trouser and jeans rises were high or very high, which goes hand in hand with the structured waist definition trend. It’s also a strong ‘70s and ‘80s flashback. The point is to showcase the high rise, and not cover it up with a top. Tucking or semi-tucking is key. This is a hard trend to wear if you’re short-waisted and apple-shaped, so grab those mid and low-rise jeans and trousers while they’re available.
10. Happy Trouser Suiting
There was lots of warm weather matchy-matchy trouser suiting in fun colours. Pastels, brights and all sorts of light neutrals. A handy way to stay warm and look Summery in arctic a/c, dress up in a covered way, or wear pants when you don’t like dresses.
11. Structure & No Structure
There was an incredible amount of structured waist definition coming down the runway. AGAIN. This was created by garment tailoring, fit-and-flare frocks, peplums, belting, garments with attached belts, and tucking tops into high-rise bottoms. Showcasing the waistline is trendy. If that’s not your thing, allow garments to hint at a waistline for a bit of structure. Oversized, extremely oversized, fluid fits, and gently fluid fits are there. Tailoring is definitely gaining momentum, and I couldn’t be happier about that.
12. Dark Denim
I have never seen as much denim on the runways, and wonder if designers are trying to substitute Athleisure with jeans. Most of the collections featured dark denim jeans, jackets, skirts and dresses in all sorts of fresh silhouettes. Few rips and tears, and lots of denim from head to toe.
13. Trench Coats
Trench coats are an iconic classic, yet they’re having their fashion moment. Rigid and soft long trench coats featured in almost every collection across a variety of colours. All styles belted or cinched at the waist in some way for structure.
14. Midi Skirts & Dresses
’Tis a dress and skirt season. The runways were swarming with dresses and skirts across all sorts of silhouettes, colours, patterns and fabrics. Some were soft and romantic, and others were strict, avant-garde and rigid. There is sleeved, sleeveless, structured, unstructured, casual and formal. Some were layered over cropped pants and worn as long tunics. Most lengths were midis that finished between the knee and calf.
15. An Assortment of Shorts
There was a huge assortment of both casual and dressy shorts across all sorts of lengths, colours, fabrics and patterns. From the shortest hot pants, to the longest Bermudas. Vibes were both masculine or as pretty and feminine as can be.
16. Western Boots, Dainty Shoes, Block Heels & Sneakers
Western boots are another iconic classic having their fashion moment. Think ANY type of cowboy boot and incorporate into just about any outfit. Backless cowboy mules and shooties are on-trend. Booties in any type of style are still strong. There were lots of white and pastel sneaker and sneaker hybrids combined into any outfit. Dainty pointy toe pumps, T-strap pumps, ankle strap pumps, and sling-back pumps with either stiletto and block heels are the heels of the season.
17. Flat Footwear
Designers continue to make a statement with dressy and casual FLAT footwear (in which I include heels up to the height of an inch). Backless, and slip-on footwear like oxfords and loafers continue to trend. Peep-toe booties, booties, and sandal booties are still going strong, as are all sorts of sandal styles with ankle treatment like straps and ties. Simple flat sandals with dainty straps, and refined slides are popular too.
18. The ‘80s and ‘90s
Modern Retro means that you’re incorporating a style, trend or design from a bygone era AND adding a good dose of modern to the look. Retro items are new pieces, not vintage items that actually come from those eras. Silhouettes from the ‘60s and ‘70s are strong, but the ‘80s continue to hugely influence today’s fashion. Think ruffles, flounces, pleating, ruching, fringe, flares, sharp shoulders, pleated trousers, one-shoulder dressing, boho, disco, dandy, high rises, paper-bag waists, New Romantic, bows, wrap tops, graphic statements, embroideries, embellishment, punk, neon, waist belting and white footwear. The ‘90s were less strong but definitely there. Slip dresses worn over T-shirts with sneakers and combat boots are back. Head-to-toe black goth looks were not uncommon.
19. Body Bags & Straw Bags
The body bag and “fanny pack” are more ‘90s looks making their way back to the front line of fashion. Crossbody bags are a form of body bag, and the dressier and more refined the vibe, the better. Rigid and soft straw bags with a ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s flavour are strong.
20. Tantalizing Texture
We think of Fall and Winter fashion as texture-rich, but warm-weather clothing can be as texture-rich. Texture is achieved through fabric, garment detailing, or adding accessories, Think plastic, pleather, all sorts of transparency and sheerness, rubber, patent, nail art, pom-poms, feathers, fringe, tassels, embroidery, tuxedo stripes, pleating, ruching, piping, tipping, rosettes, lace, statement buttons, scarves, brooches, belts, jewellery and hardware. Anything that embellishes your outfit is a win.
WOW. I’m in trend heaven. I’m extremely pleased with everything, but will probably give the ‘90s looks, shorts, and oversized silhouettes a miss. I’m particularly drawn to Modern Retro ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s sensibilities, Cropped Pants, Dresses, White, Florals, Gingham, Polka Dots, Explosion of Colour, Structure, Texture and Flat Footwear.
On a more general note, these trends are very wearable, and have already started to come through at retail.
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 do 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.