This spring, the fashion trend report is calling for a season of stark contrasts.
“There’s really two camps right now,” Shannon Schafer, the senior fashion director for Nordstrom, says. “There’s the perfectly practical, with lots of utility and suiting and really practical, serious items. … And then there’s the opposite side, with this optimistic exuberance or joyful creativity.
“It’s this perfect paradox.”
While Schafer says the utilitarian element has been translated from runways to real life as a “resurgence of classic items” such as blazers and suiting pieces in neutral tones of beige, brown and khaki, the element of “joyful creativity” is all about playing with colour.
Big, bold colour.
“Colour is queen right now,” she says. “It’s all about this joyful creativity that’s celebrated this season through the vibrant, show-stopping colour. Whether it’s dreamy pastels, which really expresses a feminine palette of choice, or an illuminating rainbow with really vibrant hues, we’re seeing people express themselves through this energetic colour — whether it’s monochromatic, or colourfully clashed.
“It’s really all about letting go of chromophobia and embracing colour and embracing exotic, exuberant colour combinations.”
While the two trend categories may seem like complete opposites — understated neutrals versus bold brights — Schafer says the true art of tackling this season’s hottest trends will be in perfectly mixing and matching the two together.
“It’s really this nice juxtaposition between the two and both are really relevant — and it’s even more interesting when you mix the two together,” she says.
So, which colour is shaping up to be the hottest hue? According to Schafer it’s all about thinking pink.
“Pink has been such a huge colour for us. It has been going for quite a while,” Schafer says. “And now we’re seeing really bright, shocking pinks and really loud pinks. And, even more exciting when you mix it with orange or pink and purple, or even lavender.”
For those who are interested in playing with colour, but aren’t exactly sure how to pull it off, Schafer recommends playing with pastels.
“Pastels are an easy one to incorporate,” she says. “We’ve seen a lot of monochromatic pastels over the last season, so now I recommend pastels with a punch for anyone that is a little hesitant to try colour.”
When it comes to prints, Schafer points toward animal print as an ongoing element that we can expect to see still going strong.
“Animal mania is not slowing down,” she says. “And I feel like people are having fun with animal prints and clashing animal prints — and seeing the more exuberant or exotic animal prints they can come up with. So, I do think we will see more of that.”
As for popular silhouettes, it’s another study in contrasts, with structured suiting facing off against soft, flowing dresses.
“Tailoring, tailoring, tailoring. I can’t say enough about the suit. And the blazer is back. We’re going to see blazers all year round. We’re seeing them right now on the runway, and outside the shows at fashion week. So, we’re going to see those definitely carry forward into spring, and even into fall,” Schafer says.
But, that push toward tailored pieces doesn’t have to mean looking like you’re wearing a 9-to-5 wardrobe all week long.
“People are having fun with tailored pieces and how they mix them into their wardrobe. The blazer, we’ve seen it everywhere from head-to-toe, match-set suiting or we’ve seen it back to bike shorts — the ’90s bike short is back with the oversized blazer for the younger customer,” Schafer says.
As for what Schafer refers to as “loose-and-languid dresses” it’s all about embracing the comfort, ease and effortless style of a pretty dress that has playful movement.
“We’ve seen a huge movement in soft fluidity,” she says. “They’re a versatile staple for day or night and really, they feel freshest in saturated brights. The idea of draping and wrapping, ties and knots, they all achieve that soft, sophisticated look.”
Not sure which dress style will be a perfect fit? Well, you might want to try slipping into a classic wrap dress.
“A wrap dress is really something a lot of people can easily embrace in their wardrobe,” Schafer suggests. “It’s a flattering, feminine shape; cinching at the waist and kind of this loose, languid femininity. It’s really easy to wear and it’s a one-and-done item. You can put it on without having to think about much else and you look dressed up and you look put together rather than having to coordinate so many items together like a skirt and a top. You put on one item and you look great.
“And, frankly, they’re comfortable.”
An inspection of the season’s top trends wouldn’t be complete without exploring what’s new-and-now in one of the most versatile categories: denim. While skinny jeans will likely always be popular, fits are borrowing from vintage-inspired styles with roomier cuts and higher rises.
“We are seeing the looser, fuller cut really gain momentum. So, that wider leg with a more relaxed fit. That shape is really the newest,” Schafer says of denim trends. “However, the exciting stuff is happening in washes. We’re seeing a lot of light-wash denim, distress denim through washing techniques, we’re seeing colourful denim. Again, that colour and exuberance is spilling over into the denim category, as well.
“It’s really about that technique and the personalization of making denim your own.”
For fashionistas who want to stay one step ahead of the crowd, Schafer points toward flared legs — whether in denim or trousers — as the cut that’s sure to gain popularity in upcoming seasons.
“But I think that’s somewhat on the early adopter phase on the trend curve,” she adds.
Spring style is also harbouring a surprise or two, too; with leather and suede becoming a year-round go-to rather than one that’s held over strictly for cooler months, Schafer says.
“The leather look is huge right now. Whether it be faux leather or real leather, we’re seeing warm-weather leather in dresses, skirts and blazers,” she says. “Black is a staple, but we’re seeing a lot of browns and colourful warm hues, like red or oranges.
“There is this new trend around season-less materials, and leather is now one of them that is making a comeback. So, I would say, a statement leather piece can easily become a focal point in your wardrobe.”