‘ve always blamed my inability to get dressed in March on the weather (still freezing cold, thanks for asking), but for the first time in my adult life, I’ve identified an entirely different culprit born not from unsavory temperatures but from the conclusion of fashion month. Said culprit — let’s call it “Kid in a Candy Shop Syndrome” — results from the influx of fresh ideas for how to get dressed courtesy of the hundreds of new collections and their consensus on what everyone should be wearing, such that it becomes nearly impossible to identify the handful that actually have staying power.
This condition is exacerbated every time I click through another runway slideshow or trend recap and find myself deluged with possibilities. As I’ve learned from prior experience, many of them will turn out to be short-lived fads, but a select few will reshape the way we think about what we want to wear for a significant period of time. So this season, I’m trying to be a little pickier about the trends I decide to invest mental energy (and dollars) in, and make a concerted effort to identify the ones that have genuine, lasting appeal. Scroll down to read about the biggest trends for Fall/Winter 2019 as determined by this diagnostic lens.
1. Poet Blouses
You’re about to be a poet and you might not even know it. The top of Fall/Winter 2019 is a billowing fantasy with long puffy sleeves and — in many cases — a dramatic attached sash to tie around your neck. From a silhouette point of view, it looks exactly like something a recluse bard would have conceivably worn in the 19th Century to write limericks by candlelight with a quill pen, though the modern versions are rendered in far more exciting colors, patterns and textures. This particular sartorial phenomenon is bound to have loads of appeal in that it affords winter the kind of privilege that has (up until now) been relegated to warmer months: a shirt trend that sends an electric thrill up our collective spines, not unlike off-the-shoulder tops and whisper-thin white blouses, but intended for cooler temperatures. Also, show me a person who doesn’t love a ridiculously enormous sleeve and I will show you someone who has never stuck their arm inside one.
2. Slouchy Boots
Fashion’s trend-o-meter has had a weird relationship with boots over the past few years. It never quite found its footing (pun intended) after the ankle boot frenzy that died down sometime around 2015, and although cowboy boots provided some intriguing fodder for a time, they always erred too much on the side of gimmicky to have actual legs (pun intended again). When I first detected the burgeoning appearance of a slouchy boot trend on runways this season, I balked at the memory of bad early 2000s outfits past, but upon closer look, I realized 2019’s iterations featured key modifications that made them feel like a new idea instead of simply a re-up of an old (and possibly dated) one. No suede, for example (why were all of the 2000s’ slouchy boots suede!?), slightly less slouch, the occasional open toe, etc. I’m calling it now: This new era of slouchy boots will cure the boot fatigue that has collectively plagued us for far too long.
3. Moody Macro-Florals
There was definitely something in the water during fashion month where flowers were concerned, given that multiple of fashion’s most heavy-hitting brands showed them supersized on dark fabrics, offering a compellingly broody take on a pattern that can easily be typecast as overtly girlish and summery. This is the art of contrast at its very best, turning connotations on their heads and recombining classic elements to make you see them in a new light. I felt immediately enthusiastic about this trend, which was both satisfying and significant since the work of this particular set of designers often takes time to digest. When we’re served up something easy to metabolize — fashion’s equivalent of applesauce — I say pick up a spoon and enjoy.
4. Jacket Vests
I love the rare trend that is not only fun to look at but also provides a useful solution to a persistent obstacle. “Jacket vests,” a term coined by Leandra in reference to this season’s preponderance of jackets that looked like vests with sleeves, are an answer to the fact that layering a vest over a jacket looks very cool in theory but can be bulky in practice. Like an optical illusion or a fake bookshelf with a trap door behind it, a jacket vest has a secret, special quality to it that makes you go “aha!” when you figure it out. Such is the delight of something that appears to be a vest layered over a jacket sans bulk, but is in fact a hack made possible by nothing more than a few extra seams.
5. Oversized Pleated Trousers
There are few items of clothing with more appeal than pants that make you feel like a grown-ass woman. Slightly oversized trousers with artfully tailored pleats at the waist are those kind of pants. The kind that make a swishing sound when you walk, subtly announcing your presence. The kind that make any outfit look “put together” even if you spent five minutes throwing it on. The kind that give you emotional energy — whatever that means to you. They’re also comfortable without being sloppy, and that counts for a lot in my book.
The shawl trend that seems to be very much in the making for Fall/Winter 2019 feels like a eureka moment for cold weather accessorizing. Sick of scarves? Me too. Confused about when and how exactly to wear a balaclava? Ditto. Shawls are next autumn’s alternative option for looking cool and staying warm simultaneously. They’re also easy to concoct from the depths of your existing wardrobe with an oversized scarf or cool blanket, and the runways have provided plenty of compelling ways to tie/wrap/style them so they feel like thoughtful complements to whatever you’re wearing instead of something you simply tossed around your neck.
What genuinely appealing trends have caught your eye this season?