I’ve worked my way through the Spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear collections, pinning directional looks along the way. Through the chaos of over-the-top outfits, unrelatable looks, kitchen-sink combinations, messy hair, scary make-up, and very ugly outfits, an interesting and cohesive set of fashion themes emerged. This makes it easier to extrapolate and predict the trends that we’ll see for the next few Springs and Summers.
Here are a few things that stood out:
- Chaos, complexity, drama and uncertainty describe the state of modern fashion for the third year in a row.
- The lack of diversity across the body type and age of the models was disappointing. I had high hopes for change this season, but nothing. It’s surprising since we’re seeing many more brands offer extended sizes, and retail campaigns are using older models more regularly. It would have been powerful and complementary if designers were equally inclusive when showcasing collections on the runway. In that respect, designer runway shows are dated.
- The emphasis is on creativity, juxtaposition, 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.
- Athleisure — wearing sports gear and workout clothing as regular casual wear — was nonexistent.
- Sporty Luxe is alive, with sneakers often combined with dressier items.
- Skinnies and hem lengths above the knee took a big backseat in lieu of wider and roomier silhouettes, and midi and maxi lengths.
- Denim was featured as a staple in many of the collections.
Interestingly, despite what’s happening on the runways, retailers continue to flood the market with body-con skinnies, stretchy leggings or jeggings, and Athleisure, because consumers buy it. 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.
My favourite shows were:
On to the trends.
There is no one way to be stylish, and fashion is 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. To some extent trends are becoming harder to define, and at some point they will be irrelevant.
Creating a signature style, milking the one you have, or evolving it over time is the most important and relevant trend of them all. 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.
3. A Billion Shades of Beige
Most runway shows had a beige component, which is a nod to the early and mid ‘90s. Beige ranges from the lightest tan to the gentlest caramel across every wardrobe item, but was especially apparent in pants, shorts and toppers. Long flowing beige layers of pant-tunic-gilet were there, and make me think of 1993.
4. Explosion of Pattern
There was SO MUCH neutral and non-neutral pattern coming down the runway. Everything from the classics like leopard, snake, stripes, florals, dots, chevrons and checks, to quirky paisleys, novelty prints, slogan prints, blurry watercolour looks, geometric designs, insects, flags, birds, tie-dye, iconic scarf prints, and botanical designs. Lots and lots of subtle and hectic pattern mixing.
5. ‘80s & ‘90s Redux
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. Think oversized tops and toppers, ruffles, flounces, pleating, ruching, fringe, flares, sharp shoulders, jumpsuits, acid wash, pleated trousers, one-shoulder dressing, boho, pleated skirts, disco, dandy, high rises, paper-bag waists, New Romantic, lace anything, bows, wrap tops, graphic statements, crop tops, embellishment, punk, neon, waist belting, oversized eyewear, and white footwear.
The ‘90s are influencing today’s fashion too. Slip dresses and pinafores worn with tees. Prairie dresses worn with sneakers and combat boots. Beige from head-to toe, palazzo pants, flowing looks with relaxed gilets, bias-cut skirts, head-to-toe black goth vibes, long blazers, lots of long flowing layers, dresses over pants, bootcuts, bootcuts with sneakers, wide pants with flats, a bit of grunge, chunky black footwear, flatforms, crystal and broomstick pleated skirts, lug soles, square toes, snip toes, bangles, shrunken blazers, ditsy florals, Hermès and Versace patterns, slides, round eyewear, maxi skirts, body-con black dresses and dungarees.
6. Jumpsuit Jive
There was some type of jumpsuit or romper in almost every collection. From stiff and rigid ‘80s boiler suits, to soft and flowing styles of the ‘90s. Patterned, solid, short, long, wide, tapered, pretty, mechanics overalls, sleeved, collared, bright, muted. You name it and it was there.
7. Acid Wash
It’s all about light and not dark denim. ‘80s acid wash jeans, shorts, crops, skirts, jackets, handbags, dresses and vests were aplenty. Acid-wash denim was remixed with both casual and dressier items, and used as a trim.
8. High Rises
Most dressy trousers, shorts, cropped pants and jeans rises were high or very high, which goes hand in hand with the structured waist definition trend. It’s also a strong ‘80s flashback. The point is to showcase the high rise, and not cover it up with a top. Tucking or semi-tucking is key, or wear a shorter top. 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.
9. Midi Mania
’Tis another midi dress and skirt season. Wooohoooo! 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. ‘90s maxi dresses are on the rise, and minis were few and far between.
10. Playful Suiting
There was lots of warm-weather matchy-matchy trouser suiting in fun colours. Pastels, brights, earth tones, and all sorts of light neutrals like beige. 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. Denim on Denim on Denim
There was more denim at the shows than ever, which makes me think that jeans might become more popular than leggings (like they were a decade ago). The emphasis was on statement jeans with bells and whistles, and design detailing. Nothing basic, and lots of it worn in one outfit in the same or different wash.
There was an earth-toned utility theme running through a lot of the looks. Cargo pockets, carpenter pants, field jackets, camouflage, netting, webbing and drawstrings are popular. These casual items and design details were remixed with dressy and casual vibes.
14. Wide Cropped Pants
Most 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.
15. Roomy Full-Length Pants
Dramatic, soft and very wide floor sweeping pant lengths are making a comeback, and another nod to the ‘90s. 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 like strappy sandals, mules and sneakers.
16. An Assortment of Shorts
There was a huge assortment of both casual and dressy shorts across all sorts of lengths, colours, fabrics and patterns. 99% of them had high rises. From the shortest hot pants, to the longest Bermudas. Vibes were both straight, stiff and boxy, or as pretty, structured and soft as can be. Thigh length and knee-length spandex cycling shorts across neutrals and non-neutrals made a statement. Most were worn under mini dresses or combined with blazers.
17. Mustard, Earth Tones, Orange and Coral
These days we see all the neutrals every season, which is a beautiful thing. For Spring and Summer this year, I see an emphasis on shades of beige and white, dark blue, light blue denim, and some black. That said, earth tones like cinnamon, toffee, olive and mustard continue to make a meaningful warm-weather statement. All shades of red and orange are strong, like coral, burnt orange, Dutch orange, tomato red, fire engine, watermelon and berry tones. Pastel pinks like blush and ice pink continue to be strong, and can be considered a neutral.
18. Hints of Turquoise and Bright Green
I was VERY excited to see shades of turquoise come down the runway. It’s been a decade since we’ve seen it make a fashionable statement so it’s about time. From the bluest turquoises of the Mediterranean sea, to light aqua, and Tiffany blue across tops, bottoms, dresses, toppers, footwear, patterns, or used as a trim. Bright lime and apple green were there in small doses and looked great with turquoise. FRESH.
19. Every Style of Footwear
It’s reached the stage where it’s hard to wear dated footwear because it all came down the runway. Just about every style of heel and toe box is having either a small or big fashion moment. Chunky styles to dainty styles and everything in between. Pointy toes, very pointy witchy toes, almond toes, round toes, square toes, rounded-square toes, slanted toes, blunt toes, snipped toes – it’s all there. Block heels, stilettos, Cuban heels, lug soles, kitten heels, wedges and ornate heels. Boots, Western boots, perforated booties, mules, slides, pumps, ankle-strap footwear, pool slides, T-straps, loafers, oxfords, ballet flats, Mary Janes, espadrilles, Birkenstocks and sandal booties. Every style of sandal and sneaker, and hybrids thereof.
Flat sandals with either dainty or broad straps were the most popular, as were flat slides, flat mules, white sneakers, loafers, booties, and variations on the classic pump. Most of the footwear coming down the runway was flat or low heeled. Footwear was very brown, white, beige or black. A bit of red and metallic too.
20. Irregular Outfit Juxtaposition
Irregular outfit juxtaposition continues to be THE styling tool of our fashion era. The more contrasting and odd-to-the-eye a combination may seem, the more 2019 and fashion-forward it is. Sneakers both refined and athletically chunky are styled with every outfit. Faux-pas looks of the past are all the rage. What was thought of as unattractive and dowdy decades ago is hip and fab, and proportions that are just flattering enough reign supreme.
WOW. There are lots of trends that make me happy. I adore the ‘80s, high rises, white footwear, lace, acid wash, sour brights, statement denim, all shades of orange, flat footwear, cropped pants, structured fluidity, irregular outfit juxtaposition, anything that looks pretty, classic patterns, and pattern mixing. I’m going to milk the midi dress trend until the cows come home, add turquoise and bright green to my wardrobe, try a little beige with white, throw in a bright pants suit, and continue sporting my signature style. I’ll say no thank you to shorts, most things ‘90s, jumpsuits and oversized silhouettes.
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.