My rule of thumb as a fashion editor is, if I see something out in the wild—i.e., not on a runway or in a fashion publication—three or more times, it’s a trend. Or at least it’s a micro trend that’s primed and ready to become a full-fledge moment in the weeks and months to come. Late spring has always been a peak time for new trends to appear as we get ready to shed our well-worn puffer coats and array of boots for lighter, warm-weather pieces, like sundresses and sandals. And while there are definitely pieces from 2022 I’ll happily break out again this year (looking at you, loose-fit denim and cut-out dresses), there are plenty of new trends I’m itching to incorporate into my summer outfit rotation. Below, my predictions for the nine biggest summer fashion trends you need to know in 2023.
9 Fashion Trends, from High-Shine Metallics to Colorful Blurring, That Will Be Huge This Summer
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Meet the Expert
Abby Hepworth has worked in fashion for more than a decade, first as a fashion editor at the shopping-forward print magazine People StyleWatch and then covering all the must-know trends for PureWow.
1. All Denim Everything
Jeans will never be out of vogue, but for summer 2023 you can expect to see denim in every way imaginable—corset tops, A-line dresses, maxi skirts, cut-off shorts, knee-high boots, shoulder bags, bucket hats, even swimwear. The most prevalent denim styles thus far appear to be coordinating sets (be it a button-up shirt and jeans or a skirt and structured top) and midi dresses, but for those who’d prefer to just dip a toe into the trend, try a denim scrunchie or denim sandals rather than an all-out ensemble.
2. Loose Legs
Denim is reigning supreme this summer in all shapes and forms, but in the realm of pants, long, wide-leg jeans are definitely the trendiest option. Jacquemus and Veronica Beard showed ‘70s-inspired styles (think high-waist jeans with a structured wide leg) during their SS23 runway shows, but ‘90s skater jeans (with a lower waist and baggier cut) are also popping up everywhere I look. The best way to wear these voluminous cuts is with classic, simple silhouettes—a plain white tee or button-up shirt and sleek sandals or minimalist sneakers. For petite shoppers, I suggest looking for a mid or low rise to prevent all that denim from swallowing your figure whole.
3. Blurred Patterns
Not quite tie dye, not really ombre either, this watercolor-esque blurring of colors is gearing up to be one of the most popular prints this summer. It all started last summer with Loewe’s must-have blur print tank dress, and now lots more brands have hopped on the artsy tie-dye spin. Ferragamo, Peter Do, Jonathan Simkhai and Altuzarra all included blurry prints in their SS23 runway collections, and I’ve seen plenty of fast fashion and other affordable brands following suit as well. My favorite versions are those that play with interesting draping and asymmetrical silhouettes to further amplify the abstract vibe of the nebulous pattern.
4. Ballet Flats
Yes, this preppy footwear is still going strong as we head into summer. Luckily, in 2023 there are many more ballet flats with arch support and ample structure than last time they were a top trend in the early aughts, when wearing flats felt like you were wearing cardboard on your feet (and they seemed to wear out just as quickly as cardboard would). Try pairing your new-and-improved flats with sleek straight-leg denim or even a suit to dress them up, and don’t be afraid to try all different silhouettes—pointy-toe, bow-adorned, Mary Janes, square-toe—to find the shoe that works best with your existing wardrobe.
I first called out metallic accessories as a micro trend during New York Fashion Week, but it looks like it is only going to grow in popularity as the year goes on, expanding to include clothing as well as shoes, bags and, of course, jewelry. In fact, I’ve seen multiple other fashion editors rocking silver faux-leather pants in the past month (and, yes, I’ve already added a pair to cart for myself). My Instagram and TikTok feeds have also been inundated with lightweight lamé blouses, sequin skirts, gold jackets and even some fascinating chainmail-inspired designs. The easiest way to make any of these bold, shining styles work for day? By pairing them with super casual basics, like straight-leg jeans or a plain white T-shirt, to offset their party-ready vibes.
Related to the metallics trend above is Mermaidcore, a combination of shimmery silvers, cool, ocean-inspired tones and net dresses and tops. Although designers plan their collections very far in advance, and therefore predicted this trend ages ago, I can’t help but think these drapey silhouettes are getting a major boost from Disney’s The Little Mermaid live-action remake. The film comes out in late May, and I anticipate a huge uptick in all things glittery and aqua-colored as we head into June. This is one trend that’s all about having fun, so I say go big with a sequin midi skirt, clamshell pleated top or blue eyeshadow rather than playing it safe.
7. Shades of Brown
Earlier this year I called out Bottega Green as the It shade for 2023. And while I stand by that prediction, there is another color swiftly becoming a top contender for the title, and it’s not one I would have expected: brown. Yes, shades of brown, from deep chocolate to warm caramel to sandy beige, have been steadily rising in popularity everywhere I turn. Brown is definitely the neutral of the season, with folks mixing and matching lots of shades all in one outfit for super chic monochrome effect. I suspect the resurgence of all things chocolate is related to the rise of ‘90s aesthetics—it was a very popular color back then, too—though there is also something very warm and welcoming about brown that might feel comforting after so many years of chaos and turmoil. Whatever the case, I highly suggest you invest in a few good brown basics, in whatever shade you prefer, to wear now and forever.
8. Quiet Luxury
You may have read about the rise of “quiet luxury” or “stealth wealth” during Gwyneth Paltrow’s ski accident trial (if you haven’t, I highly recommend catching up on all the weird details), but the term generally refers to a kind of paired-back elegance that emphasizes high-quality investment pieces over trendy fast fashion. Quiet luxury is about looking expensive without screaming “look at how much this cost!” It’s essentially the opposite of logomania, and luckily doesn’t require you to actually spend a fortune to look high-end. The key to looking quietly luxurious is in taking your time to find timeless, sophisticated pieces that fit you beautifully and that are made to last. Pay attention to fabrication (natural fibers will wear better and last longer over time) and take special care to treat these pieces well (that means dry cleaning, hand washing and air drying when necessary), and skip the prominently placed logos for less obvious branding.
9. Next Level Florals
Perhaps one of the most surprising throwback trends to make a comeback in 2023 is the 3D rosette. The breakout NYFW trend is definitely still a thing, but you can also add other “in your face” floral effects to your list of summer trends to try. Highly saturated and busy prints, blown-out blooms and more 3D designs, like palm-shaped tops and sleeves or skirts that resemble petals, have overtaken the dainty Laura Ashley daisies of summer 2022. Allow these pieces to fully shine (trust me, they’re going to steal the spotlight anyway) by wearing them with solid-colored or neutral styles.
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