Most of the fashion world would agree that the last design season was the first one in two years to resemble “normal”.
While nobody’s saying the pandemic has gone away, our industry, like most others, has found ways to work around it, keeping designers creating, factories working, catwalk shows attracting the press and the buyers, and retailers seeing busy shops again.
Now that it's full speed ahead, what kinds of looks can we expect to be seen on our streets, in the office and in our social lives? We’ve been poring over the shows and we’ve identified a number of important trends. Ready to start shopping for your spring and summer wardrobes? Here’s what’s hot.
The greys, blacks and muted tones that have been filling the stores of late are about to be given a much-deserved run for their money. That’s because there’s a notable return of proper, full and unapologetic colour. We might not quite be in the realms of 1980s popmobility class colour, but we’re not far off – it’s only really lacking the Day-Glo.
Some of the shows have really pushed the boat out with loud tartans, clashing patchwork pieces and multi-colour knits, but the key here is that it’s a rainbow of colour within the same garment – not just by mixing tops and bottoms.
You’ll be seeing a lot of tops in the baseball style in the spring and summer. That’s where the sleeves are one colour and the torso is another, like the Jenna jumper, where there’s plenty of colour going on to retain interest and style.
Maybe you’ve got some old tops at the back of your wardrobe that you’ve not been wearing because they’re just a touch too chirpy for the prevailing trends – well now’s the time to get them out, give them air and wear them out, because when it comes to colour, nothing is off limits.
Larger, more flowing clothes have been conspicuous on the runways, too. We’re talking long, flowing skirts, flouncy blouses, spacious summer dresses and wide legged palazzo trousers (preferably cropped well above the ankle). There seems to be an either/or rule with regard to the colour trend mentioned above, though.
The general rule is that the baggier your clothing, the quieter the design. You can still brighten up the look by sticking to white, pale browns and pastels, but it’s a single colour, rather than the kaleidoscope look.
On the whole, though, the look seems to be being implemented in little darker tones, which works perfectly well when it’s blended with a neighbouring garment that’s as loud as a jet engine.
The 1950s had a major revival in the 1980s, probably because it was historic enough to look otherworldly, rather than just outdated. It’s quite surprising that it hasn’t really had another comeback since then, but that could be about to change.
There does seem to be a renewed interest in the flattering, larger-than-life dresses that signalled the post-war boom, Marilyn Monroe, rock and roll and the glamour of international travel.
We’re not talking wholesale vintage revival here, mind you – it’s more of an interpreted look, taking some of the motifs such as polka dots, dresses with wide skirts and narrow bodices, stripes and a bit of lace.
The accessories and hair also give the look away. Think white-rimmed sunglasses, beehive dos, properly functional bags and big earrings. Maybe it will develop into a full-blown 50s rehash once toes have been dipped into the water and some teen starlet has released an album of Buddy Holly hits, but let’s just wait and see.
We are back with the colour again, but specifically in knitwear this time. It has been coming for some time, to be honest, so the sharp-eyed will be familiar with the trend, but in spring especially (and no doubt running into the autumn), expect to see a lot more of the patterned jumpers, cardigans and tank tops in the homemade genre –that is, relatively simple patterns such as lines, squares and other geometric designs.
The pattern is also manifesting itself in three dimensions. There has been a definite upsurge in the cable knit look, where the pattern stands out from the fabric while being a part of it. The beauty is in the way its look depends on how the light is falling on it, which means one garment can become many when worn morning, noon and into the night.
While we’ve already covered baggy, that tends to be only in the left-right direction. The oversize look is all about wearing clothes that are either a couple of sizes too big or are designed to be overly long on the body.
Tops are the main candidate here, particularly jumpers that are reaching all the way down to the thighs, with sleeves extending past the fingertips. Practical? Maybe not. Fun? You bet. They’re great for carrying around and throwing on when the picnic turns to dusk or the afternoon gathering becomes a proper all-nighter.
You might be concluding that we’re entering a few years of exuberantly laid-back fashion, and you’d be right. But that is also heralding a new era of fitted, smart dress, especially in the professional world but also in your private and social life.
There’s an inkling in the 1950s leanings, but when all the world around you has multi-coloured oversize jumpers and big accessories, the conservative look is going to become a pretty radical option.
Since you probably don’t have a personal tailor, shop smart for your perfectly fitting dresses, blazers and trousers or get yourself handy with a sewing machine. This is a look that takes no prisoners, but get it right and the spotlight will most certainly be on you – for all the right reasons.