The Great Shrinkage: The Barely There Trends That Dominated Fashion Month

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(Image credit: Blumarine; Miu Miu; Versace)

Two weeks out from Spring 2022 Paris Fashion Week and one thought still remains at the forefront of my mind: Where have all the clothes gone? And no, that's not a dig at this season's collections, which I've concluded were some of the finest the industry has seen in a long time. (Fendi and Versace's team-up and Balmain's supermodel army were proof of that.) Rather, it's a take on the overall sartorial shrinkage that's been creeping into fashion for a few seasons now, culminating in a spring lineup so small that there was barely any clothing at all. 

Following a summer full of Dua Lipa wearing tiny, crochet bikinis and low-rise jeans making a comeback on TikTok, it's evident that designers spent the warmer months taking note, with many introducing similarly shrunken styles into their spring collections. Starting at Copenhagen Fashion Week, Ganni and Baum und Pferdgarten styled panties as pants and debuted ab-baring tops that left little to the imagination. From there, the micro-clothing trend continued at New York Fashion Week, with Maryam Nassir Zadeh styling string bikinis with low-rise pants, Saint Sintra giving new meaning to the word miniskirt, and Theophilio reviving the tunic-as-a-dress look. But wait, it gets better (and much much smaller). 

By Paris—the final push in the marathon that is Fashion Month—any argument that oversize, swaddled clothing still reigned supreme had been debunked, in part due to Versace, Blumarine, Coperni, and Miu Miu's collections featuring smaller pieces than the next.

Now, with plenty of inspiration to pull from, all that's left to do is ask yourself whether or not you're ready for the Great Shrinkage. If so, shop the small-in-size, mighty-in-style pieces ahead. If not, let the six teeny-tiny trends below convince you otherwise.

Tunic Dresses

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Fendi/Versace)

Wearing a tunic as a dress is one trend that strikes a chord for me, who, between the ages of 15 and 19, had no gauge for what the proper length of a dress was. Apparently, though, I wasn't so wrong for donning "dresses" with such improper hemlines. At least I wouldn't be in 2021 when minidresses—like those debuted at Fendi and Versace's crossover runway show—are shorter than most standard-issue tops. 

So Low

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(Image credit: Coperni/Getty Images)

After decades spent shunning them, low-rise pants are officially back, and yes, they're runway-approved. But for once, their return doesn't sound like the worst thing in the world. In fact, after sightings at Coperni, Miu Miu, Christopher Esber, and more fashion favorites, ultra-low rises are growing on me (never thought I'd say that).

Daisy Dukes

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(Image credit: Blumarine/Getty Images)

Jessica Simpson called, and she wants her Daisy Dukes back. Just kidding. According to Blumarine creative director Nicola Brognano, there are plenty of seriously short shorts to go around. Paired with Y2K-era butterfly and rhinestone belt buckles and slim-fitting knee-high boots, the Italian fashion brand made a case for cutoffs that are NSFW. 

Micro Minis

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Miu Miu)

All hail the micro miniskirt! After roughly two decades without the teeny tiny silhouette once beloved by Paris Hilton, Beyoncé, and more style stars of the early aughts, miniskirts made a triumphant return on the spring 2022 runways, showing up at Miu Miu, Prada, Blumarine, and Christopher Esber. Forewarning: Briefs not included, but highly recommended.

Even Tinier Lingerie

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Nensi Dojaka)

Even lingerie—something that's already tiny in nature—is going under the microscope right now. No more high-rise panties and longline bralettes. Today, it's all about G-strings and other flossy undergarments. And yes, they should be visible—whale-tail style. 

Slight Sweaters

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Brandon Maxwell)

Remember when sweaters were chunky and oversize? Same. Now forget it. As of spring 2022, expect a majority of your knitwear to be miniaturized, as displayed at Brandon Maxwell, Altuzarra, Blumarine, and Maryam Nassir Zadeh. Sure, a tiny cardigan won't keep you warm on a chilly night, but you'll certainly look cute.

Not Tops

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Versace)

This isn't just a crop top—this is the most cropped top I've ever seen. So much so that I would argue that it's not a top at all. Rather, it's a not top—one of this season's most prevalent barely there trends, showing up at Versace, Miu Miu, Bevza, Chanel, and more Fashion Month shows. 

Editor

Eliza Huber is a New York City–based fashion editor who specializes in trend reporting, brand discovery, and celebrity style. She joined Who What Wear in 2021 after almost four years on the fashion editorial team at Refinery29, the job she took after graduating with a marketing degree from the University of Iowa. She has since launched two monthly columns, Let's Get a Room and Ways to Wear; profiled the likes of Dakota Fanning, Diane Kruger, Katie Holmes, and Sabrina Carpenter for WWW's monthly cover features; and reported on everything from the relationship between Formula One and fashion to the top trends from fashion month, season after season. Eliza now lives on the Upper West Side and spends her free time researching F1 fashion imagery for her side Instagram accounts @thepinnacleoffashion and @f1paddockfits, running in Central Park, and scouring eBay for '90s Prada and '80s Yves Saint Laurent.