This is the final part in a three-part series on the trends influencing the next six months of fashion, and beyond. I base my thoughts on the Fall shows that came down the runways in February, the merchandise that’s coming into retail, and the fashion that I see online and offline. I covered footwear last week, and colour and pattern earlier this week. I’m covering themes and silhouettes today.

Despite trend forecasts and what designers send down runways, retailers will focus on what makes financial sense. If items sell well, but are not on-trend, retailers will continue to stock them. Collectively, consumers influence the trends more than designers do. 

There is no single way to look stylish. You don’t need to fit into a particular box to look and feel fabulous. Trends are no longer seasonal, and fads no longer exist. Classics and iconic items continue to have their fashion moment, encouraging us to remix the old with the new, remix items in fresh ways, and to hold onto items for longer. This makes our wardrobes more sustainable over time.

You’ll find most of the trends familiar, but the way we combine items is where most of the newness comes in. Casual, practical comfort is key. The juxtaposition of casual and dressy pieces continues to make one of the strongest statements in today’s fashion. As we head out of the pandemic, there is a resurgence of dressy glam. But of course, it’s all on your terms because there are no rules. You can be as casual or dressy as you like.

The ‘90s

The biggest influence on fashion trends at the moment is the ’90s, which looked different throughout the decade. The first part was ‘80s inspired and maximal, while the middle had ‘70s appeal. By the end, it was Y2K minimalism with lots of black and grey. We continue to see throwbacks of three fashion decades in today’s fashion.

Denim

I highlighted fifteen on-trend jeans silhouettes earlier in the year, and they haven’t changed. Notably, relaxed straights, bootcuts, wide crops, boyfriend/girlfriend styles, wide legs, and cropped flares are mainstream and going strong. Barrel/balloon styles, statement cuffed denim, paperboy waists, slit hems, crossover waists, extra wide legs jeans, and patterned jeans are fringe.

Fluidity

Fits are roomier across most wardrobe items. Tailored fits are more fluid than the norm. Although most items have more volume, they are tailored in all the right places. Body-con takes a backseat unless you’re wearing a tube skirt, bandage dress, leggings, or a tight knitted top with a voluminous bottom.

Wide Pants

Bottoms are a little or a lot LOOSER from hip to hem. Hems are tapered or flared, fluidity and volume is key. Flat fronts are as popular as pleated fronts. Fabrics are casual or dressy, rigid or soft, and patterned or solid. Some silhouettes are baggy or very voluminous on the thighs, whereas others are subtly fluid. Some pant hems are EXTRA wide.

Big Jackets and Coats

The ‘80s and ‘90s oversized jacket and coat is mainstream. Sharp shoulders and collars can be subtle or dramatic. Blazer lengths cover the bottom and hips, and extend onto the thighs. Styles are single and double-breasted, and can be left unfastened. Coats are roomy to accommodate layers like chunky knitwear and sweatshirts, streamlined blazers, and gigantic scarves. Their silhouettes can be straight, A-line, or cocoon.

Flight Jackets

Bombers and aviator jackets are classics that are having their fashion moment. Some are big, bulky, and oversized, and others more streamlined. Some are long and some short. Some have shearling trim, and a good deal of hardware. Most flight jackets have a casual integrity, but you’ll find silky and embellished bomber jackets that look smart casual. The idea is to wear flight jackets over anything.

Anoraks, Puffers, Parkas, Trench Coats, Raincoats

Outerwear reigns supreme. The options are endless, the fabrics state of the art, and the silhouettes are fun, architectural and functional. Or wear tailored versions if that’s more your cup of tea. What used to be thought of as simply practical and not so stylish has become fashionable and fabulous. Wear practical outerwear with anything and make a statement with it.

Maxi Coats

Extra long coats that go over the knee are dramatic and warm. Lengths range from top of the calf to just above the ankle. They come in handy when you like the length of your coat to be the same or longer than your midi/midaxi skirt or dress. Maxi coats can be casual or dressy, tailored or oversized, and in any colour. They are great over wide pants and jeans too.

Full-Length and Cropped Pants

Full-length pants are just as on-trend as cropped pants. Full lengths are either very long, and skim or sweep the surface of the ground, or they’re at the new and more practical shorter full length that showcases your shoes. Cropped pants are cropped anywhere from two to six inches above the ankle bone. Sometimes they are cropped an inch above the ankle bone. Cropped pants work well in Winter when you pair them with insulating tall shaft boots.

Tuxedos and Pants Suits

Trouser suiting is strong, and offered in a range of fits. Tailored, fluidly tailored, or oversized, so take your pick. Some blazers are big and long, and others are structured, hip-bone length, or shorter. Pants suits are thought of as versatile attire because they can be dressed up or down. For example, wear a dressier suit in a loosely tailored or fluid fit with a tee, shirt, sweater, knitted top, sneakers, hi-tops, boots, loafers, and crossbody bag or backpack. Layer a gilet, furry vest, or coat over the top. A pant suit is not only meant to be an occasion dressing thing. Just wear the suit like you would any pair of bottoms and jacket — only they match — and get on with your day. The corduroy pants suit is making a delicious ‘70s comeback.

The trouser suit revival for dressy attire is fabulous, and comes in handy for work, over the holiday season, or for Winter occasion dressing. Think tuxedo dressing in black, navy, and cream. Think dressy jacquard and lace pants suits. Throw in some velvet too.

Dark Romance

Head-to-toe black with LOTS of texture and garment interest is a strong nod to the late ‘90s. Think black lace, tulle, sequins, patent leather, faux fur, textured leather, velvet, textured knits, tweedy wovens, satin, chiffon, silk, jacquards, corsetry, and dark nail polish. Interpret the looks minimally or maximally. For example, remix black wool, faux fur, lace, brocade, and patent leather in one outfit.

Waistcoats

A waistcoat is a short formal vest with front buttons that is worn over another layer like a shirt, tee, blouse, tank top, sweater, or dress. It’s a traditional menswear garment and can form part of a three-piece suit. That way you layer a jacket over the lot if you want to. It’s usually tailored, but fluid versions are available. It can be worn buttoned or unbuttoned, and is a fringe trend.

Low, Mid, High Rises

True to late ‘90s fashion, low rises are coming through, but are not mainstream. They are achieved by wearing bottoms with low rises, or by wearing slouchy higher rises with waistbands that rest on the hip bone. High and very high rises are strong, but mid rises are once again gaining momentum. This might be the first time that ANY length of rise is on trend.

Shackets

Shackets are strong and mainstream. A shacket is a casual oversized shirt and jacket hybrid. It’s thicker than a top but thinner than a winter coat. Some are lined and quilted, and quite warm. They are collared, boxy, and can range in length, pattern, colour and thickness. As an extremely easy throw-on-and-go type of topper, it might appeal to you. The idea is to wear it over anything, much like a short and light puffer jacket.

Minis, Midis, Maxis

Hemlines vary greatly. Midi, midaxi, and maxi dresses and skirts continue to reign supreme, but above the knee and miniskirts are coming through too. Most of the silhouettes are A-line, pleated, tiered, wrap, tulip, trumpet, gathered, and flared in some way for ease of movement. Straight, pencil and form-fitting skirts and dresses are few and far between because it’s all about flow, fluidity, and movement.

Relaxed Dressy

It’s very trendy — and practical — to style dressy items in a relaxed way. The Sporty Luxe trend, which remixes a whole lot of formal and refined luxe with sporty accents, is alive and well. Wear dressy dresses and skirts with denim jackets, moto jackets, fashion sneakers, and stompy boots. Wear suits with tees and sneakers. Combine dressy sparkle with a baseball cap and sweatshirt. Combine a hoodie with pearls and a blazer. Wear dressy trousers with a sweatshirt. Throw a moto over a ball gown. Wear a slouchy crossbody or a bomber jacket with a cocktail dress. Wear a lace top with a sporty skirt. Combine a slogan tee with a dressy jacket. Wear a tailored coat or jacket over leggings, trackpants or joggers, and throw a glitzy chain-strap bag over a slouchy pullover.

Faux Leather Anything

This trend is about faux-leather tops, shirts, skirts, dresses, pants, shorts, bags, belts, jackets, coats, vests, and hats. And across all colours. Faux-leather skirts, pants, shirts are especially popular. Make sure you are okay with how to launder the garments. And remember that it’s hard to press out the creases.

Equestrian

We see a version of the equestrian look every season, and something that Ralph Lauren does particularly well with their Polo and Double RL labels. Think herringbones, tweeds, elbow patches on jackets and knitwear, quilted body warmers and jackets, stirrup pants, pleated jodhpurs and fluid pants with riding boots, cravats, skirts and dresses with riding boots, paddock boots, horse-bit hardware and detailing, saddle bags, horsey patterns, and brown leather.

Pattern Mix

Pattern mixing has become an important part of our fashion era because it’s one way to be maximal, creative, look interesting, and make wardrobe items more versatile. You can pattern mix in subtle or bold ways, and remix exactly as you like. These days, most patterns can be worn together if there are cohesive elements in the patterns and outfit that pull the look together.

Mango Turtleneck 100% Cashmere Sweater

I find many of the trends appealing and have them well represented in my wardrobe. Personally I’m into interesting jeans silhouettes, outfit fluidity, wide pants, full-length pants, short puffers, maxi coats, big coats, tailored coats, pants suits, midaxis, equestrian looks, mid and high rises, and a relaxed dressy vibe.

As my style goals reflect, I am focussing my refresh on smart casual, business casual, and a formal look. I’m looking at dark blue trouser jeans, a navy lace tuxedo, a column of lime green, some knitwear replacements, a red bag replacement, and some outerwear replacements. I will also be embellishing my horse capsule, and prioritizing solids. Need to keep my gung-ho pattern gene under control. Here are the items that are most appealing to me. Some items work well into a Seattle Spring too. I managed to snag some of the items at a discounted price already, and FINALLY found gorgeously dressy trouser jeans.

Over to you. Which are your favourite Fall and Winter trends?