I am so excited about 2022’s summer trends. The overarching mood was one of real optimism, but where the previous season perhaps went into overdrive with the desire (desperation?) to get dressed up for even the most low-key of weekly grocery shops, the outlook for summer is that there is a time and place to be extra fabulous but still a strong demand and a necessity for easy, simple, luxurious, gorgeous clothes and outfits you can fling on in a hurry. There are places to go, people to see and the many ensembles to suit. So while on the one hand there's a very clear shift towards revealing, ultra-sassy, cut-to-here-and-slashed-to-there kind of dressing, there's also a very chic, understated antithesis at play. It speaks to a modern shopper's whims and natural inclination to change one's mind. Some days you might channel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in a classic, all-beige get-up and others be more Dua Lipa in a rad minidress and stacked platforms. We are complex characters, and our wardrobes, and favourite brands, must keep up.
As fashion expert Lianne Wiggins, head of womenswear at MATCHESFASHION, explains, we are living through "the anything-goes mood of now," which means that the old tropes of things being "in" or "out" is in itself redundant. It means you can be as wild and adventurous as you like with your spring trends or, indeed, as basic as can be. Sit in the middle? Me too. Every personal style can be catered for in the summer 2022 fashion trends line-up.
Dries Van Noten S/S 22
It was invigorating and inspiring to see runway shows return (almost) to normal, and "fashion moments" were plentiful, playful, and highly shareable, and as such, a few went viral. Balenciaga's Demna Gvasalia merged a runway and a fake movie premiere celebrity red carpet to celebrate the arrival of a new collection. In addition, the brand created a fashion take on a Simpsons episode. Gucci took over Hollywood with runway chocked with high-profile friends of the brand in extravagant costume-inspired pieces that wouldn't look out of place in a 1940s blockbuster. Chanel's '90s supermodel–inspired collection saw endless Instagram posts capturing sashaying models in monochromatic bikinis. Fashion fun was clearly back on the menu, and it was served up for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Tom Ford alluded to a theory behind the more outré collections when he told Vogue Runway how Instagram has changed the game and made many people focus on how clothes translate into imagery, saying, "Photogenic clothes today by their very nature mean that they are not at all timid," and he was one of many designers to dive head first into loud colours, revealing cuts and high-shine finishes, all of which live very comfortably on screens and in a digital world of dress-up. In fact, one could draft the following as the blueprint for spring/summer 2022's more showy half: Loud! Bright! Daring! Revealing! If it's not turning heads or garnering likes, it's clearly not extra enough.
Elleme S/S 22
As influential as runways are, trends are not solely born on them. There was a clear direction coming from Gen Z and their social media platform of choice—TikTok—to be seen across the shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris. Youth is still currency in fashion circles but not necessarily in the same way as before: You don't have to be young to be hip, but you sure as hell can steal the outfit ideas and reference points of a younger generation. Nineties, noughties and even the 2010s have been plundered for inspiration, with many looks echoing the fashion choices shared on the likes of both TikTok and the coolest Depop resellers' accounts. No brand did it more authentically than Blumarine: The brand was known for its kitsch-cool back in the day, and now the look is ironically reflective of the archive. Looking for that denim butterfly top you owned in '99? Or how about those low-slung Miss Sixty–esque jeans? This brand is the ringleader for every person aspiring to that aesthetic and with unashamed dedication, too.
But there's more! So much more, which is why we couldn't narrow it down to a main trend or two but instead have found 17 key looks, pieces, details and ideas that create the most important summer 2022 fashion trends, with expert insight to back them up.
Keep scrolling to see the summer 2022 fashion trends hot for the season ahead.
L–R: Valentino, Proenza Schouler, Saint Laurent, Valentino
"Bold, brave brights are here to stay as we continue to embrace fantasy fashion and experiment with eclectic colours and unique prints more than ever before,” says style expert Libby Page, senior market editor at NET-A-PORTER, noting that it's these vibrant clothes that make consumers feel good from the inside out. "We’re of course backing anything with a positive and adventurous approach." And it's no wonder the buyers are keen to get involved, as the retail results back up the investment. This year, NET-A-PORTER has seen phenomenal increases YoY on sales of brightly coloured goods, with green being really driven up by bags and, specifically, the influence of Bottega Veneta's Kermit-green styles, like the crazy-popular Jodie bag.
Bottega Veneta Salon 02
Kayla Marci, market analyst and expert at retail intelligence platform EDITED, explains that the desire is already very much there on a wider scale too: "Across U.S. and UK mass-market brands, bright tones have shifted from pink to green as the top invested colour. Green apparel online has grown 28%, while orange is up 15% and pink and yellow both up 5% YoY."
MATCHESFASHION has also experienced an increase in consumers buying into bright pieces, with colour-pop styles up YoY by 45%. "Essentially, using bold colour without any specific trends or rules," is the way Wiggins interpreted the shows. "At Valentino, there was such a strong mix of colour and looks—we saw relaxed denim with amazing flats and interesting tops alongside uplifting party dresses, which sums up the anything-goes mood of now."
You'll find this top takes on more than one trend for summer 2022.
Highlighter-tone blazers are huge right now, with fashion types wearing them with everything from jeans to midi skirts.
L–R: Jil Sander, Albus Lumen, Altuzarra, Peter Do
On the other end of the colour spectrum and sitting in a far quieter zone is a rise in interesting, ultra-luxe but ultimately very wearable wardrobe staples. This doesn't translate as boring, and I'm not talking about basic tees that cost a fortune, more low-key staples with interesting twists: a trench coat with a unique label, a co-ord set with quirky buttons, a pair of tailored trousers in a more unusual silky-satin finish.
The leading shopping app, LYST, is expecting this trend to really resonate with consumers in summer 2022: "As the fashion world awaits for Phoebe Philo’s return, we expect to see an increasing demand for minimalistic pieces. Since September, we’ve seen a rise in searches for monochromatic co-ords (+33%), neutral tones (+22%), white shirts (+41%), leather loafers (+57%) and wide-leg suit trousers (+55%), all reflecting a move towards a more low-key luxury approach."
In fact, some of the most raved-about spring/summer 2022 shows (when I looked in real time on the handles of fashion insiders—particularly buyers) skewed towards this more minimalistic and understated approach. Peter Do's debut runway during New York Fashion Week was one that many an expert got behind and really set the tone for a new wave of get-up-and-go outfits.
"Versatility and ease are more important than ever, and this can be achieved with basics with a twist, modern classics and muted tones, all of which are the vital pieces every wardrobe needs to help elevate the simplest of looks," says Page. "We’re seeing our customers invest more in quality basics and timeless pieces that can be worn for seasons and even years to come, so when those pieces have an additional quirky element—they’re sold! Our favourites for summer 2022 include Peter Do’s maxi shirt, Jil Sander’s yellow boxy blazer and Victoria Beckham’s oversized shirt in mellow blue."
A wardrobe essential if there ever was one.
Wide-leg trousers in premium fabrications are a piece you’ll come to rely on for this trend.
L–R: Lanvin, DSquared2, Givenchy, Stella McCartney
According to Google Trends, from December 2020 to December 2021, the searches for "platform shoes" have doubled. Over the past few months in particular, since "Freedom Day" finally came around (and subsequently went), the desire for revenge heels has resulted in resonance with content and social posts we have produced around party shoes and incredible heels. However, now that many of us have experienced the comfort and ease of wearing chunky, stompy flats throughout every season, there's no going back. This has culminated in designers looking at platform shoes for every level of elevation and every possible task: There is still a strong lean towards sensible sandals you can walk all day in but now varying degrees of high-heel platforms you could consider for work, for partying or for simply being chauffeur-driven in.
These stacked shoes, sandals and boots were everywhere, from casual collections like the breezy bohemian look at Chloé through to amped-up ranges like Versace's fun-fun-fun going-out looks. From foam-bottomed Velcro sandals and thick-soled flip-flops through to strappy, metallic, high-high heels, there's a little lift to be had, no matter what your personal preference might be.
On the fancy, OTT end of the spectrum, there is one new brand in particular that fashion editors, stylists and buyers are all keen to tell you about. D'Accori's sculptural, extra-high platform sandals—particularly the Belle style—have already been chosen by the likes of Dua Lipa, Ariana Grande, Doja Cat and Lady Gaga, so we expect this name will be everywhere in summer 2022.
These impressive heels also come in silver and gold.
L–R: Alaïa, Nina Ricci, Louis Vuitton, Tory Burch
Midi skirts have reigned supreme for some time now—at least the past decade—but during the summer of 2021, we started to notice an uptick in people on our Instagram and TikTok feeds moving back into maxis. The trend looks set to continue strongly in 2022, with key brands such as Louis Vuitton and Givenchy backing the cut. There is a Y2K lilt to these hemlines descending, with simple tube styles that fit closer to the ankles being more present than, say, a hippy, tiered cut.
"I like this trend because it stands out even if it is a simple colour or cut," personal shopper and fashion expert Angelina Pietrafesa told me earlier in the year. "Extremes rather than 'in the middle' are proving popular, and I personally prefer to go really short or really long. Extreme lengths are easily paired and contrasted, always creating a more dramatic look, day and night."
Who What Wear UK editor Emma Spedding is sold on the addition of maxi into her summer 2022 wardrobe: "The Givenchy black slip skirt is perhaps the coolest—it’s simple but looks like something Gwyneth Paltrow would have worn in the ’90s so has lots of cool points. Pair with a white T-shirt and chunky sandals and you have an effortless, elegant summer look."
LYST confirms the concept and can already see the rise in interest: "Short hemlines might be defining the current season, but maxi long lines are coming in hot for the next one. 'Oversized' and 'maxi' are already amongst the most popular keywords when looking at dresses, and we predict that the trend will continue in the coming months." And as such, the trend is already filtering into stores particularly when rendered in pull-on ribbed jersey and knit options, which act as an easy base for creative layering and cool tops or jackets.
You’ll be surprised at how much wear you’ll get out of this full-length skirt.
The cutout waist makes this maxi skirt feel even more on-trend.
L–R: 16Arlington, Loewe, Versace, Supriya Lele
As previously discussed (feared?), there's no escaping Y2K in 2022. The noughties have been plundered for all their worth, and the outcomes show a sliding scale of dedication to the past. Some looks are just a subtle hit of reminiscence; others are a full-blown homage. So you can channel Britney, Mariah, Xtina, et al., in an excess of denim or butterfly tops with low-slung trousers, or you can opt in for more minimalist, muted pieces that are simply echoing the silhouettes of the time like bootcuts, skimpy shirts and crop tops.
According to EDITED's deep-dive on the season's offering, Y2K came up time and time again—too often to ignore. "Nostalgia prevailed, with designers taking cues from eras past to influence future trends. Circa 2000 exposed midriffs, low-slung denim, butterfly patterns and micro-miniskirts were noted at Blumarine, Chanel and Fendi's Versace presentation. Mini styles are currently 46% of skirts stocked online at fast-fashion retailers. While hip-hugging jeans are divisive within consumers, brands are banking on this silhouette and modernising it for summer 2022. The style has experienced a 21% increase YoY, with retailers attaching low waistbands to slouchy, relaxed fits to make the trend more palatable."
Holly Tenser, buying manager of ready-to-wear at Browns says, "We love a good era revival, and this has to be one of my personal favourites of late. Y2K fashion brings back so many strong memories and references throughout the music and pop-culture scene of the late '90s and '00s. We have some incredible new brands launching for spring/summer 2022, which really encapsulate this movement, such as Poster Girl, with their iconic cut-out shapewear and mesh party dresses, as well as Kim Shui’s collection that referenced pop culture throughout and encouragingly presented strong body inclusivity down the runway. We recently launched firm favourite Knwls and love her incredible leather bustier styles and printed minidresses with matching printed leggings. We’ve also seen the return of low-slung cargo pants and bootleg or loose, oversized denim from super brands Balenciaga, Balmain, and Tom Ford through to contemporary designers such as Wandler denim and Agolde."
"We love how the Y2K trend has put Gen Z firmly on the map as key shoppers and the future of fashion. But also not forgetting the burst of nostalgia that comes with each low-slung waist and plush miniskirt from the other generations revisiting the trend second time around!" says Page. "This is a trend we are certainly backing for summer 22, and we can’t wait to launch two incredible new designers, LaQuan Smith and Supriya Lele—they are ones to watch if you’re into diamanté rich bodysuits and super-fun asymmetric cut-outs. "
L–R: David Koma, Magda Butrym, Gucci, PatBo
When it comes to 2022's very extra-AF mood, nothing quite seals the deal like an outfit covered in feathers. This is a fabrication trend that has been on the rise for some time now, with this festive season's party dressing being full of the stuff. From Sleeper's instantly recognisable and oft-copied feather pj's through to Taller Marmo's fabulous, frou-frou gowns, our social feeds are full of this playful look. Searches for "feather dresses" being four times more than this time last year, according to Google Trends, and even a cursory look on the high street will show that this is starting to hit the mainstream, with feathered pieces available at the likes of Kitri, ASOS and River Island.
Valentino was one of the brands most committed to the idea, with vibrantly coloured pieces covered entirely in matching ostrich feathers—even the accessories matched, which is indicative of how many of us will tap into the look. Feathered shoes and bags feel more approachable than a full, peacocking ensemble. Although, I'm certain we'll see more and more of this finish in fashion circles.
As this trend lends itself very well to occasionwear, we predict it will make a big play for the wedding guest looks of 2022. However, there are more casual options available too: Right now, on Instagram, you'll find simple, feather-trimmed shirts or jeans playing a very normal part of day-to-day wardrobes, and the aforementioned Sleeper pj's continually selling out.
The pyjama set every fashion person wants to own.
Even the smallest feather trims will help you tap into this trend.
L–R: Raf Simons, Botter, Y/Project, Lacoste
It's funny how, when given all the fashion options in the world, designers can't help but default back to the safety of a uniform. Classic pieces and combinations you'd instantly associate with what you once wore to school have come back into the limelight, although the way in which they're styled just might be more rebellious than you remember. It's preppy, but definitely not prim.
Across the runways, we saw outfits that harked back to proper school uniforms. Think V-neck knits, pleated skirts, socks, loafers and plain white shirts. Raf Simons and Miu Miu led the pack, with Raf's take more grunge and scruffy to Miuccia's sassy, stomach-baring girls. Both are rebels. and the concept here is to take the pillars of the uniform and turn them on their heads.
There were sporty looks for track-and-field types too, with rugby shirts and cricket jumpers making multiple appearances. Meanwhile, Dior created a series of simple black-and-white '60s-infused looks that felt like school costumes from an old French movie and were therefore as cute as can be. The trend has a wide range of options for all personal styles, but it's a look that never really fades away and makes for a safe investment.
L–R: Loewe, Carolina Herrera, Simone Rocha, Richard Quinn
As far as new silhouettes go, this is the primary update for spring/summer 2022, and I'm personally feeling pretty psyched about it. It's been a long time since the puffball looked so good—I recall the last time I was interested was thanks to Carrie Bradshaw's floral vintage dress from the first movie. (Remember the one with the giant red roses and big, poufy peplum over a pencil skirt?) The extreme outline has been pinched from the 1980s and totally modernised for the season ahead. Loewe's voluminous hems looked fresh on denim skirts, Simone Rocha's bouncy tulle dresses were somehow transformed into daywear by nana-ish cardigans, and—if you're looking for high-octane after-dark—no one did it better than Richard Quinn. "With the Y2K and the 1980s resurgence in full swing, more shoppers are looking into bolder options," says LYST, and this retro reference fits the bill if diving into the noughties just isn't for you.
One of my personal favourites within this niche trend came thanks to Hedi Slimane for Celine. His puffball-skirted floral dress looked oh so easy to fling on by adding in box-fresh sneakers and a cropped jacket—it is a formula that could really work on the streets of London, and I hope to see it replicated IRL.
The addition of puffball hems aren't solely tied to dresses and skirts. The detail works well for a nice-top-and-jeans pairing, a combination that has proven to be extra popular all year long and won't be fading out any time soon.
Such a fun option from a brand that comes in a broad array of sizes.
Layers of tulle and organza will help you achieve this aesthetic.
L–R: Christopher Esber, Nensi Dojaka, Miu Miu, Chanel
As well as Y2K and super-bright colours, the final contender in spring/summer's top trio of trends has to include this new take on sexy. "It’s been refreshing to see sexy and empowering silhouettes for summer 2022; think short, sheer and sparkles," says Emma Ilori, head of womenswear elevation at Flannels. "We were particularly excited to see the return of the super-micro miniskirt, which dominated Miu Miu’s collection. Another brand that was an advocate for sexy was Saint Laurent, who centred their collection around night-time styles, from skin-tight catsuits that daringly revealed skin to plunging necklines. Confident designs dominated the catwalk… Partywear is back!"
The concept comes in many forms, from sheer fabrics to cut-out everything, teeny tiny, shrunken silhouttes to form-fitting body-con. There's netting and lace, bra tops and miniskirts, and many are balanced out by oversized tailored or flat, chunky shoes to give a modern, laid-back spin. "A stalwart detail of the sexed-up theme, cut-outs have seen a 57% increase in tops and 143% in dresses YoY," EDITED tells me. "Another element synonymous with sexy, sheer materials has increased 7% versus 2020. Retailers have evolved their assortments, so tops are 45% of sheer investments, down from 54%, while dresses are 26% versus 22% YoY. We can expect this trend to be more commonplace in spring 2022 partywear assortments, following iterations of see-through dresses shown at Saint Laurent and Missoni."
"In terms of the new sexy dressing, our customer is a leader—she dresses for herself and she’s very empowered," says Cassie Smart, head of womenswear at MATCHESFASHION. "This is also about body confidence; the season’s co-ords emphasise your best features with a focus on new erogenous zones, such as shoulder cutouts, which feel body-friendly. There’s also a lot of through around using fabrics that flatter all shapes in an effortless and approachable way." And as such, it was refreshing and exciting to see many of these looks showcased on the runway with non-straight-sized models as well as seeing pieces configured into really nonchalant looks (see Prada's knit-and-mini above), proving that revealing skin or dressing in a super-sassy way is not just for the ultra-slim or the show-offs out there.