The overarching mood of winter 2022's fashion trends can be summed up in one word: Nostalgia. Now, nostalgia comes in many different forms depending on your age, experiences and interests. Whatever you might associate with happier, simpler times has likely been translated to the runways for the upcoming season because the creative collectives in New York, London, Milan and Paris have all been feeling that desire for a better life. Designers powered through the past two pandemic years with optimism, channelling their energies in quite literal pick-me-up trends such as dopamine dressing—a hashtag that continues to garner attention on almost all social platforms—but with the easing up of restrictions and a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, more varied style directions are opening up too.
Although the loudest takes on nostalgia are defining the winter 2022 outlook (more on that in a minute), for the minimalists out there, who perhaps have felt a little underserved in the past couple of seasons, a return to '90s and '00s basics will provide a great palate cleanser. If there's going to be one viral item of the season, it'll be Prada's white vest. Yes, that's correct: As we roll into the winter months, there's a surprisingly humble, surprisingly summery item that will be on the majority of fashion people's wish lists. We can already see that plain(ish) white vests are trending in high-fashion circles—Loewe's anagram-emblazoned version is selling like crazy. Other subtle riffs on minimalism are on offer as well: Oversized tailoring, classic suits, bomber jackets, maxi skirts and neutral colours are plentiful for those who want them.
Euphoria—the costumes, the cast, the makeup, the wild lifestyles—felt omnipresent throughout the shows. The throngs of young fans hoping to get a peek at Jacob Elordie or Sydney Sweeney walking into a fashion show seemed to be larger than ever. But there's no denying the big, pink attention-seeking elephant in the room: TikTok and youth-driven pop culture are the dominant forces for winter's look. The perception of TikTok is that it's the place where "extra AF" has found its natural home and that no Y2K stone will be left unturned. To a point, that is true, but I would argue that the platform offers much more across personal styles, subcultures and age groups, and I think that it's actually this diversity and freedom of taste that has led to designers tapping into even skimpier noughties looks and a veritable banquet of party looks for the best night ever and little offshoots such as the #gothaesthetic, too. "Expect the unexpected," says fashion expert and Flannels head of womenswear elevation Emma Ilori. "Over-the-top, more-is-more, experimental wardrobes—pushing the boundaries of everyday dressing. We're ready to be out and be seen. Think fresh-off-the-runway social media moments and head-turning full looks." And things couldn't be more committed to that idea than they are over at Valentino, where—during what could arguably be the show of the season—Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli crafted a custom hot-pink hue in collaboration with Pantone. Prepare to see Valentino Pink PP (or at least as close as any other brand can get) everywhere.
"The season's overarching mood is one of fun and extravagance, and the winter trends are set to be all about OTT fashion. Bags are getting bigger, colours are getting brighter, and everything seems to have been covered in shiny sequins," says Morgane Le Caer, content lead at Lyst. And almost every single buyer I spoke to echoed the sentiment—investing heavily in clothes and accessories that spark joy in the most conspicuous of ways. "More is definitely still more, with party continuing to be the predominant trend for the upcoming season," says Heather Gramston, head of womenswear buying at Browns. "As a company, we've invested in partywear across our ready-to-wear collections and non-apparel, and we anticipate the Browns customer will be wanting to dress up at every given opportunity."
There was a surreal vibe over in Paris. Loewe, Rick Owens and Schiaparelli's conceptual takes on fashion are attracting a new and younger crowd of dedicated shoppers who want items that not only provide uniqueness in every single #GRWM post but also could potentially hold their value and become more important over time (resale is the new side hustle, after all). The surreality wasn't limited to aesthetics, as the fashion world found itself in quite a predicament during the show season as Russia launched a war on Ukraine. While each person is allowed their opinion on whether the spectacle of runway shows should have continued or not, it's important for me to share that I have received messages from Ukrainian fashion brands who are miraculously keeping their businesses running and want retail to keep going. As this story is one of the most popular of the season, I want to take the chance to say please support these great labels if you can: Sleeper, Anna October and Vita Kin are just a few of my favourites.
Without further ado, keep reading for the full rundown of winter's fashion trends for 2022, as told by the experts.
"We're extremely excited that our favourite Y2K trend has endured for another season. Ahluwalia, Etro and Gauchere showcased some incredibly nostalgic low-slung waistlines, which we predict will be a huge hit with our customers this winter," says Libby Page, fashion expert and senior market editor at Net-a-Porter.
The difference with this take on the '90s is that it's all about pared-back looks from the era. Think of the OG set including Helmut Lang, Ann Demeulemeester and Jil Sander, and you're on the right track. It's all plain skirts, even plainer vests, simple low-slung trousers and not a scrap of makeup.
Lyst's Morgane Le Caer notes that this "low-key luxury" could be seen at Bottega Veneta (under new stewardship with Matthieu Blazy) and The Row and that it provides the oppositional aesthetic to all of the loud looks available throughout the rest of the runways.
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Simple it may seem, a great vest provides the foundation of many a current outfit combination.
A sleek shoulder bag such as the Wandler Hannah will help you achieve this polished take on Y2K styling.
Jackets played a big part in any decent '90s uniform, and we saw the return of not only the classic moto, or biker, jacket but the bomber too. Already this year, thanks to social media, moto jackets have been making a comeback, and searches for secondhand versions on Depop have spiked over the past few months.
Marni's off-the-shoulder styling will provide many with a more directional idea, while Maria Grazia Chiuri repositioned the item as a cool way to toughen up a pretty skirt at Dior.
The look of heavy-duty leathers extended past outerwear and into biker-jacket skirts or motocross leather pants, with some brands going so far as to double or triple up on leather pieces worn together for the full "I just left my Harley outside" effect.
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Another classic wardrobe piece that only gets better over time.
"Dopamine dressing will be ever-present. Mood-boosting hues with bright Barbie
pinks made a splash on the Valentino, Prada and Versace runways. Green is also a top fashion colour, equalling 11% of current investment, blue at 10% and pink at 7%," says Kayla Marci, market analyst at Edited. "The runways prove that winter 22 will be unseasonably bright and retailers can look to colour up their best-performing coats, dresses, suit sets and sweaters in hot magenta, red, royal purple, tangerine, zesty green and azure to provide shoppers positive sentiments tied to their apparel purchases."
The exact application of colour through designer collections is also what will influence many of us. Designers used particular shades repeatedly (often head-to-toe) rather than opting for more complex clashes or combinations.
As already noted, Valentino's show was either all pink or all black, Stella McCartney leant into purple (after also supporting it for S/S 22), and designers such as Sarah Burton at McQueen or Gabriela Hearst at her namesake brand explored a citrus range. Bottega Veneta's Insta-friendly leather fringed skirts in purple and green will offer a cool way to do vibrancy in a more understated way with a simple grey knit.
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Pink dresses have been popular year after year, so this is less of a trend and more of a bona fide staple.
These trousers will pair so well with white shirting and Breton stripes.
This COS bag has been very popular in black and orange. Now it comes in this vibrant green.
If there's one (welcome) hangover from the pandemic, it's comfortable footwear. This summer has been gripped by Birkenstock Boston Clog mania, and fortunately, many designer brands are offering equally "ugly" and foot-loving options for winter 2022. With biker style back in vogue, it's no wonder that stompy moto boots are also returning.
Continuing from the last few autumn seasons' track soles, any similar boots you've bought recently still stand up. You will start to see the addition of a few tweaks going forward: steel-toe caps, lace-up details, square toes, metal hardware and longer lengths reaching up to mid-calf or even up to the knee.
Add them to a pretty outfit, and they'll instantly temper it. Pop on a pair with a '90s look, and you'll look like a celeb arriving at LAX back in the day. Try them out with a short skirt, and the casual makeover will be complete. Basically, wear them!
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"Nineties nostalgia will continue to influence winter 2022 fashion, with mood-boosting hues and gender-fluid tailoring dominating the market—think hot pinks, chartreuse and slouchy, oversized blazers," says Marci. And it's that slouchy oversized blazer—a trend that has been burning for quite a few seasons now—that appears to be most prominent. Where the trend for oversized silhouettes had previously been balanced out with slimmer fits or bare skin, for winter 2022, you'll find a dedication to the look head-to-toe.
"This is all about refined, pared-back luxury that has a real sense of ease when it comes to styling choices—think vest tops with beautifully tailored trousers and silky slip skirts with matching shirts," explains Who What Wear editor Emma Spedding. "It's Gwyneth Paltrow. It's Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy. And it's, in my opinion, the chicest way to get dressed this autumn."
Blame it on Billie Eilish, or a general yearning for clothes to feel completely relaxed in without reverting to loungewear, but baggy is in. Max Mara went large on everything, from coats to pants and layered jackets. ACNE Studios set its jumbo blazers against wader-style boots. Khaite's baggy-jeans-and-giant-jacket combo will undoubtedly spark many an outfit re-creation within fashion circles and beyond. The easiest pieces to add to your wardrobe? Try for a pair of higher-waisted baggy jeans and a bigger blazer—you'll get a lot of use out of both, together and apart.
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The one, the only: It's the oversized blazer our readers love to buy!
Nostalgia for far-flung travel, for slow fashion and homespun craft, for special hand-me-down knits… all of these warm, fuzzy feelings have been translated into a slew of truly unique pieces that have a bohemian lilt.
The colours are earthy and grounded, the patterns are organic and random, the textures are far too luxe and interesting to resist your touch, and in all honesty, these are the kinds of timeless looks that really do surpass seasons, years and trends because we will always have an appreciation of things that are well-made and feel a little offbeat.
Altuzarra has cemented tie-dye as a bit of a signature, and it comes in very cool mix-'n'-match forms for winter 22, and many other brands have committed to eclectic looks head-to-toe. I like where there's an injection of tailoring, such as Johnathan Simkhai's sharp flares worn with a poncho.
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Quilted and patchwork jackets have already been hot tickets for S/S 22, so they'll definitely keep going.
Cosy knitted dresses are the ideal way to tap into the trend.
There are many strong print and pattern ideas coming through for winter 2022, but the proliferation of luxe leopard really stood out to me as feeling fresh again after a stint in the background. There are different scales and finishes, and animal prints can be employed in many ways, which is why they have become a "neutral," as many an editor or stylist will state.
You can be a bit hippy like Dries Van Noten, posh and uptown like Giambattista Valli, minimalistic like Proenza, maximalist like Roberto Cavalli…
The options are pretty endless, and it's never a bad thing to invest—leopard always finds its way home (to your wardrobe).
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It's giving Kate Moss and that's never a bad thing.
An easy way to add more leopard print into your outfits.
The perfect leopard print coat—just add ripped jeans and heeled boots for Kate Moss-style flair.
"Last season's sexy has evolved into something more elevated and glamorous, with looks for every occasion and an all-out approach to going out-out again. We saw cut-outs galore from Julia Fox's show-open for LaQuan Smith, daring midriff-exposed looks and sheer delights from Knwls and the ultimate head-to-toe pink at Valentino," says Gramston.
What I have particularly enjoyed from this slew of after-dark looks is the uniqueness and nonconformity of each. It speaks to a time when individuality was more interlinked with party culture, finding your tribe and heading to a place where you could be celebrated for your differences.
"In a post-COVID world, everything is being flipped on its head. It is better to be overdressed than under, and Miu Miu is stepping into this year with the must-have pieces that every It girl is reaching for: super-cropped tops, low-rise skirts and embellishment in all the right places," agrees Ilori.
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Scared of a cut-out dress or holographic trousers? Don't worry. Just a smattering of crystal jewellery will do.
A chainmail skirt and simple tee makes for an effective party look.
Every editor came away from the shows in Milan and Paris knowing (and telling everyone else) just one thing: Bomber jackets are going to be BIG news once more. From simplistic black flight jackets at Givenchy to shrunken suede ones at Miu Miu through to supersized, waist-nipped satin styles at both Sacai and Prada, it would appear that there is an iteration of this classic outerwear style to suit all tastes.