These Were the Biggest Street Style Trends to Come Out of New York, London, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks
The runway shows at Fashion Month (aka, the combined four fashion weeks held in New York, London, Milan and Paris) are always fun to watch, both for the spectacle and for actual trend forecasting purposes. But the vast majority of the collections shown won’t be available until at least spring 2022. That’s why we often find ourselves more interested in the street style trends spotted on the sidewalks outside the season’s hottest shows instead. These are the looks we can recreate right at this very moment, rather than waiting months for new styles (and better weather) to arrive. Read on to see the top 11 trends we saw time and time again in all the major fashion cities.
1. Cut-Out Knits
This trend is continuing to carry over from summer, when lightweight knit midis with dramatic side cut outs and flattering keyhole necklines were everywhere we looked. The cool-weather version of the trend features heavier knits and smaller cut-aways, most often centered around the neck and bust. (One version we don’t recommend trying, however, is the cold-shoulder sweater, which is too reminiscent of the not-so-great trends of the early 2010s.)
2. Patterned Pants
Polka dots, zebra stripes, Hawaiian blooms, abstract patterns and even cow spots are all excellent options for trendy wide-leg pants. Seriously, just about every pattern imaginable was seen splashed on the legs of show-goers in all four major cities. The easiest way to translate the fashion-forward to trend to everyday life is to pair your graphic trousers with simple basics, like a white T-shirt and crisp black blazer.
3. Pastel Blue
One of the few stand-out color trends to emerge this past month was an embrace of pastel blues. Some paired them with other pale shades, like lilac or winter white, while some opted for less expected pairings, like icy blue and cherry red. Either way, we bet this calming color will continue to crop up everywhere we look through the end of 2021 (and beyond).
4. Cowboy Boots
Yes, the western trend is back, but this time in the form of super-sleek designs, like black leather with a gold cap toe or knee-high shafts with intricate monochrome embroidery. Rather than wear them with the obvious choice—denim—opt for more posh pieces like a shorts suit, mini LBD or voluminous midi to avoid looking too costumey.
5. Petite Bags
During the pandemic, we got used to leaving our homes with just the basics—keys, wallet, phone, face mask—and we plan to hold onto that newfound minimalist lifestyle for as long as possible. The best part of this this trend (besides saving our backs and shoulders from undue stress) is that you can rock any handbag style, material or color you like, so long as it is mini in size.
Shop the trend: ASOS Design shoulder bag ($29); Charles and Keith bag ($59); House of Want bag ($78); Anthropologie tote ($90); Zac Zac Posen crossbody ($295); Tory Burch top-handle bag ($598); Bottega Veneta bag ($1,900)
6. Peter Pan Collars and Preppy Style
Penny loafers, cardigan sets, pleated skirts and Peter Pan collars were all the rage in London and we expect that fervor to carry over across the pond as we head deeper into fall. Be sure to add a few more grown-up, chicer elements to your look—like pointy-toe ankle boots, a chunky chain necklace or a simple, structured leather handbag—to avoid looking like you’re sporting an actual school uniform.
7. Leather Pants
This trend came as no surprise, with searches for leather pants (and dresses and blazers and leggings) already on the rise even before the start of New York Fashion Week. Generally, people seemed to follow one of two looks: Either pairing classic black or brown leather with other neutral hues, or going bold with red, emerald or lilac leather and equally colorful separates.
8. Shades of Yellow and Marigold
Multiple yellows were spotted on the street throughout fashion month, including pale buttercup hues and deep golden shades. But perhaps the most universally flattering option (and the most widely worn) is marigold. It’s the ultimate shade for transitioning from summer to fall and brings to mind stunning early sunsets and changing leaves.
9. Suit Separates
Neutral-hued blazers and straight-leg trousers were both heavy hitters in New York, London and Milan, but not necessarily worn together as parts of a suit. Instead, folks opted for a quasi casual Friday vibe, wearing tailored trousers with oversize blouses tucked in and easy sneakers or blazers layered over knit dresses or dark-wash jeans.
Shop the trend: Stradivarius blazer ($50) and pants ($30); Y.A.S. blazer ($100) and pants ($74); ASOS Edition blazer ($93) and pants ($121); Banana Republic blazer ($209) and pants ($99); J.Crew blazer ($278) and pants ($158)
10. Slouchy Boots
Tall slouchy boots are back en vogue and we’re very excited about this ‘90s throwback. Go full Rachel Greene and wear yours with an A-line mini skirt and black turtleneck, or try dark-wash skinny jeans and a button-down or cardigan set.
11. Pleated Skirts à la Thom Browne
This summer was all about the pleated mini tennis skirt, but now that temperatures are beginning to drop, so too are our hemlines. Pleated midis that hit just below the knee in structured materials and neutral hues were a particularly big hit in London this month, with the most popular silhouettes coming from designer Thom Browne. (You may recognize his signature school-inspired handiwork from David Rose’s wedding attire on Schitt’s Creek.) You can absolutely lean into the student vibes of these skirts with button-down shirts, loafers and opaque tights, but they’ll also look equally chic with some sleek ankle boots and a racer neck bodysuit and moto jacket.