Six important themes have become a persistent part of fashion and style. So much so that they are more of a frame of reference than themes or trends. Representing a new normal, they have staying power and are getting stronger over time. 

1. Sustainability and Ethics

Sustainability is extremely complex, with no easy solutions, and many compromises. That said, most designers, retailers, and brands are producing more sustainably and ethically than they used to. Some more than others, but generally the industry has come a long way.

There’s also a lot we can do as individuals. Reflect on what sustainable and ethical fashion means for you and your style. Try to purchase from sustainable brands. Purchase items with longevity. Take care of wardrobe items so that they last. Repair and upcycle when you can. Shop your wardrobe first, instead of the store. Rent, swap, donate and resell. Recycle to prevent items going to the landfill.

Sustainability means different things for different people, and some can manage it more easily than others. It’s not a contest, so compare, but do not despair. If you’re making a point of being sustainable your way, you’re part of the solution.

2. Do Your Own Thing (DYOT)

Fashion these days is a melting pot of sartorial variety, and we are spoiled for choice. As a result, there is no one way to be stylish. Trends are no longer seasonal, and at some point they will be irrelevant. That’s why creating a signature style and personal stamp is one of the most important trends of all. Wear the trends, or don’t wear them. Remix them, repeat them, or reinvent them. It’s all good because you’re doing your own thing.

3. Practical Comfort

Our modern way of life demands practical comfort. Designers and retailers are finally understanding this important ingredient to style. That’s why it’s fashionable to wear sneakers with anything, and to throw on leggings or joggers with a blazer, dressy bag, and glam jewellery. Unstructured clothing, elastic waists, fabrics with stretch, fabrics that don’t crease, denim, crossbody bags, backpacks, dainty jewellery, cosy clothing, machine-washable workwear, clothing with hidden pockets, dressy flats, casual footwear, trendy puffer coats, easy layers, and the oh-so-popular juxtaposition of remixing casual with dressy pieces. These all make practical, comfortable statements in today’s fashion.

4. Celebrating Classics and Icons

Fashion repeats itself, and these days there is seldom anything that’s completely new. The newness lies in how items are combined rather than in the silhouettes themselves. Modern classics and iconic items continue to enjoy their fashionable moment season after season, which is comforting and refreshing. They are remixed in new ways to prevent boredom and showcase versatility, thereby promoting sustainability because wearing an old item in a new way can be better than buying something new.

5. Happy Tension

Today’s fashion is full of opposites that create tension in harmonious ways. Maximal outfits are as important and popular as minimal looks. Less is more, AND more is more. Oversized fits, slouch, surrendered waistlines, swooshy movement, and architectural volume live happily alongside structured looks, polished tailoring, body-con fits, and waist definition. Dressy pieces and casual items are equally on-trend, and work well juxtaposed in one outfit. Neutrals and earth tones are as popular as brights, pastels, and jewel tones. Pointy toes are as important as square toes, and stilettos are as on-trend as block and stacked heels. Flats are as fabulous as sky-scraping platforms. High necklines are as important as V-necks. Cropped pants are as on-trend as full lengths. Asymmetry shakes an uneven hand with symmetry. Dainty jewellery has its quiet, yet strong spot next to chunky statement pieces.

6. Personal Slogans

Designers and retailers continue to use their influential platforms to make statements that are important to them and their brand. Some of the messages are political, while others are light-hearted, funny, and take the mickey out of the ridiculous fashion industry. YLF is not a political blog, so the specifics of the messages are not the point. But the trend is something we can incorporate into our own styles by wearing slogans and outfit combinations that showcase a personal message. Subtle or bold, but worn with conviction.

Just about anything goes these days when you wear something with ease, intention and confidence. Themes like the six above make fashion and style more empowering, enjoyable, comfortable, manageable, and meaningful. Long may it last.