The last few years have been a contradicting study. Sweatpants reigned supreme – but so did sexy, strapless separates. Ugly shoes made a comeback, and high heels also made a comeback. Fashion trends have occupied both far-reaching ends of the spectrum and when you think about it, it all makes sense. Quarantine and social distancing have required everyone to tone it down for WFH environments and wear what is most comfortable for a home desk. But that can only last so long as the thirst for dressing must be quenched, and if the past few months are any indication, the collective desire to dress up is stronger than ever. With these factors in mind, the task of predicting the biggest trends for 2022 becomes all the more complex.
So the year begins on an interesting footing. And as a result, the fashion highlights of the year should reflect this oscillation between practicality and extravagance. Hear ahead of time from experts from some of the industry’s top retailers about the trends – both macro and micro – they envision flying in the coming months; not trends in the ephemeral sense of the word, but articles and ideas that will help shape the zeitgeist of what is sure to be a very pivotal period in the history of fashion.
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Macro trend: everything sexy
It’s in the air – “sexy” is back. Of course, that can be translated differently for everyone, but the general rule is: more skin, more edge, more fun. “We’ve definitely seen the return to sexy and partywear, which seems like a natural progression from a long line of comfort wear; a cry for liberation, if you will.” Brown Purchasing Manager Holly Tenser told TZR. “Micro-mini lengths were all over the runways, perfected by the likes of Miu Miu, Valentino and Maximilian. We looked longer but still daring styles, such as thigh-high slits Lion and Alexandra Reich, exudes sexiness with an air of sophistication.” She also notes that cleavages are soiled Rick Owens and LVMH finalist Rui were notable. “Up above we saw corsets everywhere, with Dion Lee mastering this style as usual,” she says. “Another Australian designer leading the avant-garde for sexy is Christopher Esber, who has such a wide offering for this trend, from cleverly placed peekaboo details to sashes and full-body dental floss.”
Micro trend: preppy polos
for The Yes Creative and fashion director Taylor Tomasi Hill, Off-kilter prep has always been a part of her style and it’s a trend she envisions for 2022. “I love the new influx of preppy polo shirts, especially in primary colors that feel nostalgic,” she says. “A little bit Schoolchild-meets-Margo-Tenenbaumthey pair perfectly with vintage denim and your favorite chunky sandals.”
Macro trend: handicrafts
One trend that has gotten around the cycle once before and is once again taking a moment is crafts. “From stitched intarsia sweaters to printed down coats, this vibrant trend has brought cozy items to life.” north current Senior fashion editor Kate Bellman tells TZR. “We’ll definitely see this by spring, as seen on the catwalks, with artisanal details like crochet and patchwork, large scale global prints and electrifying colours.” One particular catwalk where this trend peaked was in Paris. “At Chloe, Gabriela Hearst puts the spotlight on artisans and draws attention to artisans from around the world,” MATCHESMODE says Cassie Smart, Head of Womenswear. “This product doesn’t feel driven by trends or time, it feels like a collector’s item. The pieces all tell their own stories and emphasize global luxury production, which is another focus for us.”
Micro trend: baguette ‘hobo’ bag
A handbag silhouette that strikes the perfect balance between utility and style is the baguette hobo. “A coffee and an iPhone and a cute kid’s sticky hand — I already have my hands full, so a bag is out of the question,” says Tomasi Hill. “Handsfree bags aren’t just trendy, they’re a necessity. I love a versatile shoulder bag (Bottega for the bloody win) but a cool baguette slung over your shoulder is a great way to switch things up.”
Macro trend: bright colors
“Poppy flowers, cheerful and bold colors are coming your way.” Shopbop fashion director Caroline Huang Maguire forecast. “Think of pink, lime green, bright purple, cobalt blue and marigold, either individually or mixed together.” The trend expert notes that she sees bright color palettes everywhere for spring and envisions this celebratory dressing style continuing into the summer season .
Micro trend: slouchy denim
“When shopping for denim this year, look for things like a light vintage wash, upcycled or sustainable fabrics and the perfect slouch,” says Tomasi Hill. “I start my look from the bottom up (pants, shoes, even socks!) so denim is always at the top of my radar.” Curious about which pair she’ll be wearing in 2022? “I’ve been living in my B Sides Lasso jeans!”
Macro Trend: Forever Wears
Perhaps less of a trend and more of a mindset, Libby Page, senior market editor at NET-A-PORTER, sees a shift in shopping behavior toward investments and items that hold value. “We’ve seen a move away from pieces that meet a ‘one time wear’ and a definite move toward items that stand the test of time,” she says. From classic coats and blazers to perfectly tailored denim and oh-so-soft sweaters, these basics will never go out of style.
Micro trend: chunky platform mules
Tomasi Hill nods to chunky platform mules as the standout footwear moment of the year, though they’re bolder and bolder than the perpetual low heels. “It’s funny how your eyes adapt to trends and ‘normalize’ them,” she notes. “A few years ago, wearing Crocs was completely outrageous from a fashion point of view. Now we’re taking it up a notch with platform crocs and rubber mules so ugly they’re irresistible.”
Macro Trend: Homme Girl
ta Owner-buyer Telsha Anderson-Boone is excited about the “Homme Girl” aesthetic she’s discovered on the streets of New York, among her clients, and in her own social circle. “Power suits are making a comeback in our closets! Since 2020, consumer shopping behavior has changed tremendously, and the positive change has allowed more people to explore other ways of dressing and eventually return to styles and reinvent them in ways that never cease to amaze me.”