2018 was a year of extreme contrasts in fashion. People dressed for functionality and, often, with a desire to shock.
Experts say we won’t see many of these trends disappearing, but it’s likely they’ll evolve.
Here’s what women will be wearing this year:
Last year, fashion brand Y/Projects partnered with Ugg to create a thigh-high version of the boot, bringing it back into the limelight once more. Since then, a string of celebrities including Rihanna and Sienna Miller were snapped wearing the classic style of Ugg boot.
These shoes fit neatly into the ugly-fashion movement and into consumers’ desire for comfort. New, more elegant designs mean that Ugg boots are becoming mainstream once more — fashion-search site Lyst has seen a whopping 350% increase in searches for uggs over the last 6 months.
Ugg was also named one of the most popular brands bought on Amazon’s Prime Wardrobe service during the most recent holiday season.
Practical fashion was en vogue in 2018 thanks to millennials’ desire to shop brands that sell clothes that last longer and seem to have a purpose. Because of this, outdoorsy brands such as Patagonia and North Face saw a surge in interest.
These days, you’re as likely to spot a Patagonia fleece on the back of an explorer clambering their way up the side of a mountain face as you are to see it on a hipster sipping coffee in Brooklyn.
Fashion brands such as Zara, Madewell, Outdoor Voices, and Urban Outfitters are creating their own trendy versions of the fleece jacket. According to Lyst, searches for fleeces have increased since November.
There’s a deeper meaning behind consumers’ love of faux fur, beyond simply staying warm.
Consumers being more mindful with their purchases are giving rise to the faux-fur trend. These customers not only want to eat meat and dairy alternatives but choose clothes that are leather- and fur-free and use non-animal-derived ingredients in their beauty and personal care products, Euromonitor wrote in its recent 2019 Consumer Trends report.
Hair accessories such as headscarves, headbands, and hair clips, particularly those with pearl and crystal details, are having a moment, according to Lyst.
A spokesperson for Asos recently told The Guardian that growth in sales of these items led to a major boost in its overall jewelery sales, which were up 70% in 2018.
Experts say headbands are back in fashion because of their nostalgic feel.
“A thinner band that sits further back on the head brings a 1960s vibe, while a piece of colorful patterned fabric knotted on the side evokes the 1970s girl look,” Tina Outen, a stylist for Vogue, told The Guardian in August. “The huge 1980s revival sees polka dot hairbands ruched to imitate a scrunchie, and the 1990s look is a wideband worn low on the hairline.”
1980s and 1990s fashion were the most-Googled style trends in 2018, according to Google’s recent Year in Search report.
“A boiler suit, in its 2018 fashion incarnation, is a bit like a slice of ham and pineapple pizza: captivating, a little repulsive and actually, quite delicious,” Evening Standard writer Karen Dacre wrote in October.
These hardy versions of the jumpsuit became fashionable in 2018 and will be sticking around for 2019. According to Lyst, searches for boiler suits were up 76% since September.
We can expect to see more color creeping in in 2019 after black became a symbol the #MeToo movement last year.
“The pendulum swings from one extreme to another,” WSGN catwalks director Lizzy Bowring told Business Insider. We “can’t keep wearing black to make a message.”
Highlighter green and pink have seen a 120% increase in searches on Lyst in the past 12 months. A spokesperson for the company said this is likely inspired by the Kardashian-Jenner clan.
One neon accessory, in particular, has seen a spike in interest: the clutch, which has had over 20,000 searches since September.
Lyst has seen a 22% rise in searches for specific pale green shades, including pistachio and sage, since October.
The most sought-after items in this particular shade of green are accessories, including bags and shoes, Lyst said.
Tailored items will continue to make an appearance in 2019, though they will take a more relaxed form, according to Bowring.
“It has to complement your lifestyle,” she said, which means more relaxed silhouettes such as oversized blazers that can be mixed in with everyday pieces.
Long dresses and skirts over pants
Bowring said that layering will be a dominant trend in 2019, and long dresses over pants are one of the byproducts of this.
“Layering is front and center for next winter, with plays on texture and volume in a masterful game of accumulation,” French Vogue wrote in November.
This trend is partly down to the unpredictability of the weather, and given that layers are easy to pile up or peel off, they are the ideal antidote to this, Bowring said.
Athelisure becomes lifewear
Athleisure has been a leading trend in fashion for almost a decade, and it continues to be one of the brighter spots in the apparel market. It currently represents 24% of total apparel industry sales and is forecast to grow through 2019, according to NPD.
“I’m often asked if the athleisure trend is going to fade away, and the answer is no,” Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor at NPD, said in August. “When you have comfort and function combined with fashion, it’s difficult to go back to anything else on a regular basis.”
However, 2019 will see a shift in focus to creating practical yet more elegant items.
“With athleisure transitioning into life wear, the desire for comfort and functionality continues and defines a new, elegant utility look,” WSGN wrote in its recent spring/summer 2019 trends forecast.
The high-waisted, wide legged pant is taking over from skinny jeans thanks to a resurgence of ’90s styles. Even Kate Middleton, a serial skinny jean wearer, is a fan.
Urban Outfitters’ CEO said in April 2018 that the company has been well ahead of the curve with its wide-legged pants and believes it’s well-positioned to benefit from this trend for several years.
“Demand for new fashion has surged,” CEO Richard Hayne said in a call with investors in March, adding that apparel has been stuck in a “fashion rut” defined by skinny jeans and yoga pants for the past few years.
“The last time we had a change, I think, was around 2006-2007,” he said.
Dad sneakers, arguably 2018’s most questionable style trend, will evolve in 2019.
Dan Bisson, editor of accessories and footwear at WGSN, recently told Who What Wear that we can expect to see a new take on this sneaker with a trail-style shoe.
“I believe that the rise in outdoor hiking trends will introduce the trail sneaker as the next ‘must-have’ sneaker for 2019,” he said. “This will replace some of the thick-soled designs, appealing to not only the city goers but those wanting to explore country landscapes.”
The tie-dye comeback is partly born out of a desire to make a political statement and stand up for individuality, industry insiders say.
“In the Trump era when right-wing politics is so loud, I think tie-dye can be viewed as a peaceful, but defiant protest against conservatives,” R13 denim founder Chris Leba recently told Harper’s Bazaar.
He continued: “In some ways, there are a lot of similarities in terms of the backdrop then and now. In the 60s, we had Nixon in the White House with students protesting against the conservative right. Now we have Trump in the White House with women, immigrants and the LGBQ community fighting for their rights.”
Tie-dye is also a symbol of individuality, something that can be lacking in fashion these days, Kavita Kumari, a specialist print-and-dye technician at London College of Fashion, told Harper’s.
“The re-birth of tie-dye has actually provided individuals with the opportunity to reclaim some of their personal identity without looking like clones of one another,” she said.