Summer 2019 Fashion Trends: Looks You Need to Know

There are so many spring/summer 2019 trends, but we're here to tell you about the ones that are going to genuinely affect your wardrobe. Decoding what's been featured on the catwalk, discovering what has been picked up by buyers or snapped furiously throughout fashion month to hit your feeds on Instagram… This isn't just a case of saying what you see—this is a proper edit of the items you'll want to buy, the old ones you'll be digging out again, the new styling tricks that will turn everything around and the new brand names you'll need to know.

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

First up, let me provide context for the S/S 19 catwalk shows and designer presentations as a whole: There was much talk around feminism and equality, with fashion houses—big and small—using their platforms as a place to host debate and discussion, promote diversity and, most of all, create clothes that women can feel confident and powerful in. We were, after all, in the thick of the #MeToo movement, with global scandals awakening many a dormant mind.

"One of the biggest trends we saw during the shows was the overarching theme of the real woman; a welcome return to femininity, women empowerment and wanting to dress for yourself by feeling confident and comfortable," says Elizabeth von der Goltz, global buying director for Net-a-Porter.

"In terms of pieces, the trend incorporates everything from comfortable tailoring, longer skirt lengths and relaxed outerwear in flattering and fluid shapes. We saw this most prominently at Riccardo's debut for Burberry and also Loewe, The Row, Valentino and Givenchy. It's a very easy trend to adopt for any woman, and this is what I love most about it," says Goltz.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Mansur Gavriel)

I'm all for designers really thinking about both the hidden and obvious strength fantastic outfits can bring to the table, and what's truly liberating and empowering clothing for women is, undoubtedly, choice (on any given topic).

Which perhaps explains why there are so many looks, items and details that make the summer 2019 fashion lineup: You've got loud and quiet looks, sporty and elegant getups and modest and racy silhouettes.

There are heritage brands being reborn, continuations of trends that are now a few seasons old, considered collections for mature women with spending power, plenty of Gen Z–friendly and highly Instagrammable items, heaps of minimalism and even more maximalism. Whatever you want, you got it. And it's all here in our report, so keep scrolling.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of A.W.A.K.E, Emilia Wickstead, Roksanda; Getty Images)

Pictured clockwise from top left: A.W.A.K.E.; Lemaire; Emilia Wickstead; Roksanda

As noted by Elizabeth von der Goltz, there is a certain relaxed elegance that subtly threaded its way through many shows—often coming in simple, demure silhouettes rendered in equally soft colours like oatmeal, biscuit, blush and off-white. In basic terms, we're looking at a spectrum of beige, but in fashion terms, that's one of the chicest things a girl can wear. This colour palette looks grown-up, sophisticated and expensive, even if you aren't able to invest in the looks pictured here.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Max Mara)

Max Mara is known and loved for its camel coats but for spring 2019, a range of neutral tones was employed in many ways via multiple fabrics—to great effect.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Givenchy)

Givenchy's tough tailoring for spring 2019 takes the trend a level deeper into tones of khaki and army fatigues. Powerful both for work and off-duty.

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Dior's balletic influencers for spring 2019 put these pretty shades of pink-toned beiges at the very centre of Maria Grazia Chiuri's dreamy collection.

Shop summer's beige trend:

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(Image credit: Getty Images; Courtesy of Cecilie Bahnsen)

Pictured clockwise from top left: Emilia Wickstead; Cecile Bahnsen; Miu Miu; Altuzarra

Over this past year, everything appears to have been fastened with horn and tortoiseshell buttons, but I predict that 2019's update will centre around bows. Whether big or small, these whimsical little additions will be found on everything from summer blouses and dresses to jewellery and hair accessories.

Shop our summer bow trend picks:

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Alessandra Rich, Atiico, Isabel Marant; Shutterstock)

Pictured clockwise from top left: Alessandra Rich; Rodarte; Attico; Isabel Marant

Just like leopard print, it would appear that the 1980s will not quit. Plundering the decade for yet another round of inspirational looks, you are going to carry on seeing strong shoulders, lamé, glitzy party dresses, Princess Diana–worthy skirt suits and gaudy accessories that all echo the eighties most outrageous trends.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Escada)

Escada was at the very pinnacle of what you'll recall as 1980s style, so it's no wonder there's plenty to be inspired by for the current creative director, Niall Sloan. We'll take this new outfit head to toe, please.

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Marc Jacob's elaborate collection was a tour de force in its decorative bows and corsages, gigantic feather dresses, super-sweet colour palette and high-shine metallic fabrics. Many many editors will reference it as a true highlight from NYFW.

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The logos, the chain jewellery, the sharp shoulders… Chanel is taking is back to the '80s, and we want in.

Shop our '80s trend picks:

Related: The Hardest-Working Staples to Buy Now and Love Forever

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Pictured clockwise from top left: Balenciaga; Dries Van Noten; Off-White; Koché

Reflective of both the 1980s comeback and a growing interest in cyberpunk, every kind of highlighter-bright colour hit the runways across New York, Paris, Milan and London. Some designers used satins and lace, others kept things casual in cotton. The trend has already managed to make its way onto the streets, offering IRL inspiration for what can seem like a daunting palette to tackle.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Versace)

Continuing the roll she's been on for a few seasons now, Donatella Versace's power women looked as sassy as ever in these slinky neon dresses styled with perfectly matched accessories.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of House of Holland)

Henry Holland's girls are never backwards in coming forward, so it's no great surprise that fluoro shades played a major part in this designer's hiking-inspired LFW show.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Preen by Thornton Bregazzi)

Creating the most adorable neon party dresses, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi made these bold hues feel approachable in its decorative use of lace. Expect next summer's wedding season to be a bright one for guest outfits

Shop our neon trend picks for summer:

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Brock, Ulla Johnson, Coach; Getty Images)

Pictured clockwise from top left: Brock Collection; Ulla Johnson; Coach 1941; Munthe

Yet another continuation from this summer (and, therefore, more good news for the potential to re-wear things you already own), the prairie dress is about to become an even bigger deal for summer 2019. These long-sleeved, long-length, often floral or broderie anglaise styles are just the kind of "throw on" dresses we've been craving for years.

"This trend has a lot to do with the desire to dress more modestly as well as more romantically," explains Emily Gordon-Smith, director of consumer product at trends company Stylus. "It’s feminine but super-casual and covered up. An ongoing theme and one with broader connotations about what it is to be feminine and in control as a woman in the 21st century."

From the smaller, independent fashion weeks in Copenhagen and Stockholm to some of the biggest names in the major fashion capitals of the world, this is going to be a major retail smash. You can shop our favourite prairie dresses right here.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Erdem)

Erdem's vision of Victoriana never fails to entice A-listers or those partial to a high-drama dress, but alongside the more evening-ready pieces were some pared-back iterations that could easily be worn to great grunge effect by the right girl.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Batsheva)

This section wouldn't be complete without the brand who specialise in—and have paved the way for—the prairie-dress trend to really take off in the first place. Batsheva's modern take on this old-fashioned silhouette runs from simple daywear versions like this brown maxi through to jazzy velvet and lamé for the evening.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Alexander McQueen)

Creating possibly my favourite dress ever, Sarah's Burton's romantic, corseted, puff-sleeved midis and gowns were full of historical references yet felt entirely relevant for now—perhaps down to the leather accessories and hard jewellery.

Shop our summer prairie dress picks:

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(Image credit: Getty Images; Courtesy of Chloe, Miaou)

Pictured clockwise from top left: Fendi, Chloé, Miaou, Etro

Athleisure has taken a more outdoorsy turn for 2019 and is bound to rule summer holiday style: surf-, skate- and cycling-inspired looks are very much de riguer, with one particular item really summing the whole thing up.

"The unexpected cycling-shorts trend, which has been bubbling under for a couple of seasons, is finally coming to fruition. Love it or hate it, but call it the 'Kardashian effect.' This will emerge most commercially in combos of the Lycra biking shorts worn with oversized sweats or slouchy tees and blazers," says Gordon-Smith.

Etro sent pro surfers down the runways, bohemian Chloé girls are now wearing pukka necklaces and Insta-adored label Miaou is putting high-tech jersey separates on the menu for influencers everywhere.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Sportmax)

From the anklets to the beachy hair—and, of course, the wetsuit-inspired pieces in between—Sportmax's ode to the surf is enough to make you book a holiday ASAP.

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Who knew a collection could a) be inspired by the iconic movie Jaws, and b) look so incredibly cool, smart and covetable all at once? Such is the magic touch of Raf Simons and his Calvin Klein 205W39NYC collection. PS, tie-dye is definitely going to happen.

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Marine Serre was one of the first designer to appropriate the tight-fitting shell tops of pro cyclists, and she continued with her signature for spring 2019, pairing them—rather unexpectedly—with luxe midi skirts, pointed flats and serious visor sunglasses.

Shop our surfer-girl picks:

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Alessandra Rich; Getty Images)

Pictured clockwise from top left: Alessandra Rich; Miu Miu; Chanel; Jacquemus

If your accessories for ssummer 2019 aren't big enough to warrant their own postcode, fashion isn't interested. Although mini bags and barely theres will still be present, the most outrageous It pieces of the season are going to, quite literally, be huge.

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Valentino's entire show has been described by many editors as pitch perfect. Pierpaolo Piccioli used the brand's haute couture reference points to create some of the most luxurious yet entirely relaxed and easy-to-wear clothes on the spring 2019 runways, as well as the most fantastical accessories—including these enormous feather hats created with Irish milliner Philip Treacy.

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Prada's giant satin headbands are going to take over your Instagram feeds—I promise you this.

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(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Earrings that enter a room before you do? Leave it to Demna Gvasalia of Balenciaga to create yet another must-have accessory.

Shop our big accessories picks:

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Alberta Ferretti, Celine, ALEXACHUNG, Philosophy Di Lorenzo Serafini)

Pictured clockwise from top left: Alberta Ferretti; Celine; AlexaChung; Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini

Utilitarian style is this summer's default casual look, and nothing sums it up quite as directly as the boilersuit. Loose-fitting but with the option to belt up, easy to wear into the evening with heels yet effortlessly cool with ankle boots or sneaks, this one-piece will be a wonder purchase. No wonder this autumn's iterations have already been selling like hotcakes.

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The ultimate in elevated boilersuits: a red style from Hermès. Thanks.

Related: This Is Hands Down My Favourite Bag Trend of 2019

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Stella McCartney's boilersuit is already set to be big, and it hasn't even launched yet. The team at Net-a-Porter has ordered it in multiple colourways and in bulk for spring 2019 (along with the resort collection that drops beforehand).

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

The penchant for topstitching, big buttons and statement buckles continues into 2019, with this utility jumpsuit ticking all the boxes. Bravo, Zimmermann.

Shop our boilersuit trend picks:

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(Image credit: Getty Images; Courtesy of Loewe; Shutterstock)

Pictured clockwise from top left: Louis Vuitton; Oscar de la Renta; Loewe; Sonia Rykiel

What ruffles were to 2018, fringing is to 2019. This is the detail you'll see swishing from every possible hem, sleeve, bag, shoe and even necklace. Whether crocheted into something more bohemian, tasselled onto power shoulders or used to decorate basket bags, there appears to be no end to this one detail's potential.

Shop our summer fringing picks: