I’ve worked through the Ready-to-Wear shows for Fall & Winter 2018, pinning directional looks along the way. There was lots of fashion that didn’t resonate, because hectically oversized garments, seasonally confused outfits, and unkept models look tired to my eye. That said, there was just as much fashion that I adored, and I’m excited about the direction. I’m pleased to see that Individualism and Maximalism reign supreme, that fads are a thing of the past, and fashion is more diverse than ever.

A shortlist of the shows:

Five things stood out as I browsed the shows:

  1. The absence of athleisure
  2. A resurgence of high heels
  3. Unisex collections that blur the lines between gender-based fashion
  4. Outfit creativity
  5. Trend diversity

On to the trends, of which the first three are the most important.

1. Individualism

Fashion is a melting pot of sartorial choices, and there are countless ways to look stylish. Increasing diversity in fashion with each passing year means that there is something for everyone, and that trends have a higher longevity factor. Almost anything goes these days, which is by far the strongest message coming through in modern fashion. 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.

2. Maximalism

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 and irregular outfit juxtaposition YOUR way.

3. Structure & No Structure

Silhouettes that define the waist and those that completely surrender the waist are equally trendy. You can move along the structure continuum as freely as you like, and it’s all good. Body-con fits on the one side, hectically oversized slouch on the other, and everything in between. Pick YOUR level of structure and rock it.

Structured looks are created by garment tailoring, fit-and-flare frocks, peplums, belting, garments with attached belts, and tucking tops into high-rise bottoms. If that’s not your thing, allow garments to hint at a waistline for a bit of structure, or wear unstructured garments. Oversized, extremely oversized, fluid fits, and gently fluid fits are there and not going anywhere. Tailoring IS gaining momentum, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

4. Earth Tones

THE strongest colour trend of them all. Most of the collections showed some shade of earth tone like mustard, cinnamon, cognac, toffee, tan and brown. YES! Finally, brown is back in cool and warm shades. Olive and burgundy are there, but took a backseat to brown.

5. Red & Shocking Pink

Red is the strongest bright, and it’s a Christmas red and blue-red as opposed to an orange-y tomato red. Bright shocking pink or hot pink run a close second across all wardrobe items. The idea is to wear the two brights TOGETHER as well as separately, head-to-toe, or as an accent to just about any palette. Lilac, turquoise, lime green and orange were frequently seen as accent colours.

6. Cobalt

I was pleasantly surprised to see large amounts of cobalt coming down the runway, so there should be lots in the pipeline if that’s your colour. The idea is to wear it as a statement piece, head-to-toe, or as an accent to just about any palette.

7. ‘80s & ‘90s Fabness

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. The ‘80s continue to hugely influence today’s fashion because silhouettes were the most creative and extreme back then. Think flounces, pleating, ruching, fringe, skinnies, sharp shoulders, pleated trousers, harem pants, one-shoulder dressing, oversized outerwear, baroque detailing, asymmetrical anything, oversized eyewear, aviators, lace, high rises, paper-bag waists, bows, graphic statements, bright pink, embroideries, embellishment, punk, neon, waist belting and white footwear.

The ‘90s are less strong but present. Think slip dresses worn over pullovers, bias-cut dresses and skirts, subtle shoulder pads, bootcuts, pantsuits, chunky black footwear, gothic and rocker black from head-to-toe, overalls, square-toed footwear, long blazers, long & lean silhouettes, a bit of grunge, maxi coats, and combat boots.

8. Futuristic Gloss

This is for the daring with a magpie gene, although there’s an ‘80s influence here too. Think garments made of VERY shiny metallics like lamé with shoulder pads and ruching. Extra shiny silver boots, belts and bags, and anything in see-through plastic.

9. Longer Length Pants & Jeans

Thanks to the ‘90s trend, bootcuts are back and FULL LENGTH. There were far fewer cropped pants and jeans on the catwalks, although the trend is still strong. Full-length wide legs, straight legs and skinny pants and jeans are on their way back too. They are worn at floor-sweeping lengths and with lots of scrunch. Flared hems worn at extra long lengths look awfully luxurious, but are are awfully impractical.

10. Ruching

Thanks to the ‘80s trend, there is ruching across most wardrobe items. Fab on dresses and tops, and fun on pants and skirts too. It can make items forgiving on the midsection, and add visual interest to plain clothing, or add a maximal touch to patterned items. There is ruching on bags, scarves, footwear and belts.

11. Moody Florals & Botanical Patterns

Think patterns with a botanical theme, and florals with dark backgrounds or in moody colours across all wardrobe items (footwear and accessories too). Wear them as a statement piece, or create a maximal touch by pattern mixing them with stripes, dots, checks and other florals.

12. Midis

Midi skirts and dresses reign supreme across body-con, tailored, A-line, and unstructured architectural silhouettes. Lengths range from just below the knee to below the calf muscle but above the ankle. Hemlines are straight, round, asymmetrical or high-low.

13. Long Blazers

Longer length blazers, another ‘90s look, are having their fashion moment and making shrunken blazers look particularly short. The silhouettes vary. Some are highly structured like an equestrian jacket. Others are soft, floppy and fluid. Some are single-breasted and others double-breasted. The stance of the blazer is low, and that’s a very important design feature. Patterns, solids, neutrals and non-neutrals, it’s all good.

14. Puffer Mania

What was essentially a practical item of gear, has become quite the fashion statement. Puffer jackets and coats across all sorts of colours, patterns, lengths and silhouettes are being worn with ANYTHING. From shorts and boots, corporate wear and casual wear, to ballgowns, Modern Reto looks and avant-garde styles. Puffy outerwear is THE look of our fashion era.

15. Bright Hosiery

Bright as in solid red, shocking pink, yellow, mustard, orange, lime green, purple, cobalt and turquoise opaque hosiery was worn with the same colour footwear under skirts, dresses and cropped pants. Or the footwear was matched with another very deliberate colour in the outfit to create a cohesive matchy-matchy statement.

16. High Rises

High rises on pants and jeans reign supreme, and are yet another ‘80s influence. Waistbands finish anywhere between just under the belly button to a few inches above it. The idea is to showcase the high rise by semi-tucking or fully tucking a top, which does a great job of lengthening the leg line from the thighs and hips upward.

17. Tartans, Checks & Tweeds

We see these types of plaids and textures every season, but this time it’s across a larger assortment and across a range of colours. The idea is to combine various tartans, checks and tweeds in one outfit. Keep the palette neutral or throw in some colour.

18. Animal Print

We see animal print every season, but this time it’s on steroids. Think leopard, cheetah, snake, cow, zebra and giraffe patterns across neutrals and non-neutrals, and in ANY wardrobe item. Combine various forms of animal print – neutral and non-neutral – in one outfit, if you dare.

19. Wild West

Think ornate belt buckles, cowboy boots, all sorts of Western-inspired footwear, cowboy shirts, denim shirts, western headgear, fringed bags and jackets, lacing detailing, faux shearling, faux sheepskin trim, flounced and ruffled midi skirts, yoked shirts, plaid shirts, ponchos and ruanas.

20. Statement Socks

Socks are becoming an increasingly important VISIBLE part of an outfit, especially in bold and subtle patterns. They’re making a statement worn with cropped pants, Winter shorts, skirts and dresses. Socks are often paired with sandals and open-heeled or open-toed footwear for maximal interest. Or they’re paired with loafers, oxfords and pumps. They add a quirky, casual and playful element to an outfit.

21. Sneakers, Block Heels, Low Heels, Flats, Tall Boots & All Toe Shapes

Round, pointy, witchy-pointy, almond, square, rounded-square and snip-toe – you name it, it’s ALL there and in almost any form of shoe. ‘90s inspired square-toe and rounded-square toe footwear looks the “newest” at the moment. Pointy toes are a Trendy Classic. Chunky footwear is as trendy as dainty footwear. Narrow heels are as trendy as block heels. Low heels and flats are all the rage, but high heels are making a comeback. Tall boots are as fab as booties. There is no stopping the sneaker trend, with white sneakers the “it” choice despite the range of colours. The point here is to celebrate the diversity of footwear in fashion. That’s a GOOD thing because there is something for everyone.

As you process these trends, remember that:

  • There is no such thing as a dated colour if you wear it with panache. Your colours are always in style.
  • It can take years for runway trends to have an impact on retail, which means that fashion does not change overnight.
  • Some trends do not make an impact on retail at all, or stay fringe at best.
  • Mainstream trends last between 5 and 15 years. Some longer. Some vibes never go out of style, but a current version of the look in current and technologically advanced fabric is important. Vintage items can work when they’re combined with a good dose of Modern.
  • Consumers keep trends alive, not designers and fashion houses. Retailers will continue to stock a trend if they know they can sell it. For example, designers might want to call it quits on Athleisure, but the look makes a fortune for retailers who are in business to make a profit. They won’t stop supplying a trend if you keep on buying it. Athleisure is a very popular way of dressing casually in America and Canada, and it will not disappear from retail.

I like all of these trends. If not for me, then for someone else. For me personally, I’m excited about individualism, maximalism, structured outfits, ‘80s fashion, earth tones, brown, full-length pants, Winter florals, shocking pink, midis, high rises, tartans, low heels, flats, western boots and animal print. I’m intrigued by statement socks, but unsure how to incorporate them in a dressier and less quirky way. My thinking cap is on.

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. I hope you feel refreshed and empowered as the new season unfolds.

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