Regarding fashion and specifically fashion week, the industry tries to uphold a delicate balance between longevity and trends. Designers work to craft collections that feel cohesive to their previous work while still breaking some form of a barrier, pushing their designs forward and inspiring a new season of style. As new designer collections debut around the world during fashion month, we begin to see clear fashion trends for 2023 emerge. Amongst TikTok’s “hot takes” on fashion week, an analysis of Anna Wintour’s subtle reactions (she seemed to enjoy the Tom Ford show), and many designer’s feeble attempts to include realistic body types on the runway, we are left with a jumble of opinions, critiques and questions. But when it comes to trends, there is one question that reigns supreme—would you wear it?
As consumers, we subsequently work through the same tug-and-pull of trends that designers do but on the receiving end. Do we aim to be aspirational or realistic? Do we shop for the moment? Exhilarating, though potentially fleeting. Or, do we shop for the future? Curated for forever, at the risk of playing it a bit safe. Spoiler alert: there’s no correct answer.
To be hyper-aware of trends and the evolving landscape of your own closet is to be a conscious consumer. To seek out trends from the runway before they run your Instagram feed is to be a conscious consumer. The current state of the trend cycle moves at a dizzying pace—getting swept up in the current feels inevitable. The art of fashion and building your personal style forms when the wearer moves past consciously participating in trends and chooses to selectively participate. No designer includes every upcoming trend in their collections and frankly, neither should you.
That being said, the fashion trends for 2023 are all over the board. From a continuation of controversial low-rise options and an influx of too-sheer-for-work slip dresses to heavy leather skirts and delicate dip-dye, the Spring/Summer ‘23 collections from New York Fashion Week create a “choose your own adventure” game plan. You can scroll through every trend, but only a special few will realistically probably make it into your closet. I’ve directed the top seven trends from New York Fashion Week for you to take your pick.
Every so often, a trend from a singular show will spark a wave full of similar styles. In this case, the trend in question is sheer and the trendsetter is Fendi’s Fall/Winter 2022 collection. The Fendi collection debuted back in February but its influence was fully felt last week in New York City. It’s no longer taboo to have undergarments show through your frock—in fact, it’s preferred. Almost every major collection on the NYFW runways incorporated completely see-through garments. Tory Burch provided a masterclass in realistically wearable sheer with strategic layering while designers like Kim Shui took the opportunity to bare all.
While many of the sheer pieces would be suitable for street style statements or a night in a dimly lit room, Jason Wu gave us multiple examples of sheer design in formal wear. The designer sent a strong variety of sheer gowns down the runway in floral, sparkly, lace and jewel tones (to name a few). In a backstage interview with Jason Wu minutes before his show, he said, “Of course, there’s always going to be dreamy gowns but you might see a sexy side of Jason Wu that you may not be so familiar with—but get used to it.”
Remember when feathers bordered every sleeve and hemline? Well, they’ve officially been replaced by tassels and fringe. Tassel trim is traditionally neutral toned which makes it a great option for wardrobe minimalists and a wide range of designers. Brands like Bevza (known for elevated neutrals) to Bronx and Banco, a party-goers go-to, embraced long fringe.
In an exclusive interview with Bronx and Banco designer, Natalie De’Banco, I got an inside scoop regarding the shift from the luxe night-life aesthetics we saw in her Fall/Winter ’22 collection to the earth-toned glam we saw for Spring/Summer ’23, “Since our resort collection was super bright and colorful, we are keeping the palate neutral and calming with blacks and beiges. That said, there won’t be a lack of color. We are using splashes of electric peach, lipstick coral and neon lime to add excitement to the collection.”
The textured tassel trim will be the ultimate party trick come spring 2023 but there’s no reason why you need to wait to wear the trend. Tassels and fringe look incredible when incorporated with a neutral sweater, hanging from suede boots, and on the back of a heavy leather or suede jacket.
Lengths of Leather
Leather jackets have been a mainstay on during fashion week for decades and this season was no exception. Heavy (and colorful) leather jackets were seen at Coach but the trend was upstaged by a more playful iteration: leather skirts. From mini to maxi, leather skirts were swinging down the runway at NYFW. Designers like Altuzarra took a longer, more structured approach to the style while designers like TK kept it short and sweet. Since leather is traditionally a textile for fall and winter, it’s nice to see a piece that works all year round. The style pairs well with everything so this is definitely a trend worth investing in for 2023
Oh Yes, Obliques
This past summer, cut-outs were everywhere, specifically a double oblique cut-out (like on this viral Cult Gaia dress). Cut-outs continued to dominate formal wear on the New York runways but this time, designers were picking a side. One-sided oblique cutouts were everywhere and on everyone—Gigi Hadid rocked the look at Tom Ford and Karlie Kloss wore a one-shoulder iteration at Carolina Herrera. The style is a great way to emphasize your waist, show a little skin and play up any simple gown.
According to designers, the boardroom may be getting a makeover. Low-rise suiting options were all over some of the most highly anticipated runways at NYFW including Tibi, Sandy Liang and Peter Do. The two-piece suit has been at the height of trends for the past two years and thankfully isn’t going anywhere. While you can absolutely still wear your regular or high-waisted trousers, designers are giving low-rise fans a third option. Low-rise trousers follow suit with the low-rise jean trend of having an exceptionally short crotch length. This gives them a well-tailored appearance instead of appearing baggy (though if you like a baggy look, simply just size up in regular slacks and wear them lower on your waist).
City School Girl
If you visit Manhattan’s Lower East Side neighborhood right now, you’ll see a strong presence of the city school aesthetic. The look takes elements of the demure, girly school aesthetic (plaid skirts, ruffled collars and pink bows) and fuses them with street-style grunge (heavy piercings, lug sole shoes and mesh layering). At the heart of the neighborhood, you’ll also find Sandy Liang’s storefront—looking out onto the street with a front-row view of the aesthetic she’s helped craft. It’s no wonder then that Sandy Liang’s S/S ‘23 collection was a direct reflection of the environment with girly-grunge pastel mini dresses. Liang paired the looks with ballet flats (the trend is here to stay!) or sleek sporty sneakers. Similar versions of the ensemble were also seen at Coach and Maya Seyferth. If you’re eager to create your own version of the city school aesthetic, I’d recommend browsing the racks at your local vintage store first.
Dressed Up Dip-Dye
It seems like just yesterday we were all wearing homemade tie-dye sweatsuits as a result of quarantine-induced boredom. Designers seem to think that enough time has passed for you to move past any tie-dye burnout and have introduced a more elegant version of the trend for 2023 with dip-dye. Dip-dye encompasses the same multi-tone color story as tie-dye without all the neon swirls. The subdued ombré coloring gives garments a one-of-kind appearance and naturally showed up on Ulla Johnson’s boho runway and surprisingly on Peter Do’s. Though dip-dye may seem like a more casual trend, designers like Altuzarra upgraded the look to formal wear with dip-dyed gowns.