For most retailers, a lot of what’s shown on the runways is gorgeous, but impractical. It simply doesn’t work into the lives of most consumers. Don’t get us wrong, it’s great to have all that whimsy. We need it. It inspires an industry and its spectators.
But thank god – a.k.a. Bill Cunningham – for street style. Clothing worn by real(er) people, who have to contend with actual weather. People who have a phone, a bus ticket, house keys and farther than eight meters to walk.
In recent years, thanks to Instagram and its progeny, street style has become as much of an event as the runways themselves. Sure, some street style is downright loopy. But for the most part, these looks have most commercial sway. Here’s six street trends straight from Milan Fashion Week that consumers will be tapping into from your collection, if you’re ready for them.
1. Innovative Layering
There’s a breezy attitude to layering right now. During Milan and its sibling fashion weeks, dresses have been worn over pants, flimsy shapes have spilt out from shorter, boxier jackets, pajama-inspired pieces have been paired with jackets and t-shirts worn over shirts. Clashing prints that play with color and create a haphazard look is something retailers need to pay attention to for Fall 2016 styling.
Layer up garments creatively in both imagery and in-store merchandise. Deconstruct and then rework, creating unexpected pairings to draw your consumers’ attention. We repeatedly spotted double jackets worn together. Critical garments to build into your assortment for this trend are the turtleneck sweater (so frequently seen under dresses, shirts, sweaters) and shackets. Clever layering is a weather-proof transitional trick. A shuffle through Instagram will probably confirm your customers are doing it already, even if you’re not yet teaching them how.
2. Feb Fur
Colorful fur is everywhere, and not just in freezing New York, but in London and now Milan too. In bright shades and prints, with embellishment and exaggerated textures, this fabric trend makes a big statement. And it’s not just used in coats – there’s colorful stoles and sleeves trimmed with the fluffy stuff too.
Retailers know about this trend. 10,617 fur/faux fur coats and scarves arrived online in October 2015. But there needs to be greater confidence in this bold trend. Here we are, at the end of February, women are still wearing their statement fur. However, retailers started discounting en masse in November. It’s too early. Hold on a little longer – the cold snap post-holiday and the drab start to new year will entice a colorful purchase from the instantly gratified shopper.
3. The Bomber Evolution
Lean in, bombers are still going in Milan (and everywhere else). We know they’re on your radars already: nearly 3,000 new womenswear styles arrived online last month and bomber jackets have been mentioned in the email newsletters of scores of retailers in the last week alone, including Neiman Marcus, Matches, Superdry, Topshop and Urban Outfitters.
On the luxury market currently, it’s colorful silk styles that are selling best from Alexander McQueen, Chloé, Valentino and Gucci. That was evident in Milan’s street style. But so too were luxe versions of the black classic – think unusual fastenings and leather panels. Experiment with reversible styles, bright embroidery and unexpected textures to keep this a key trend mover in your offering.
4. Denim Now
“Athleisure killed the denim star” isn’t a eulogy we’ll be hearing anytime soon. Jeans are alive and kicking. Not the skinny variety either: fashion weeks have been full of wider cuts in mid-tone washes. Cropped is the length du jour and with that comes an optional raw edge. Paired with ankle boots or loafers, the shape has that potent multi-season appeal which will see it do well in retail.
5. Long, Slim Lines
Yes, this is the third outerwear trend on a list of six. Fashion is having a statement outerwear moment. A combination of duster coats, Crombies and gown-like cover ups were a louche-looking update to casual or classic looks.
Current bestsellers include a drop hem denim duster coat at ASOS, a longline MA1 bomber at Boohoo and a satin trench coat from Tibi. For Fall 2016, retailers should bring two trends together and experiment with a long jacket shape in velvet.
6. Fun Accessories
Amid a month of big fashion business comes a welcome reminder that fashion can be frivolous. It comes via the deliciously irreverent trend for kitsch accessories. Fendi’s cartoonish bird of paradise bags were seen in micro and regular sizes, and they aren’t the only ones getting figurative with arm candy: Anya Hindmarch and Hill & Friends are up to it for Fall 2016 too.
But this injection of fun doesn’t stop at colorful and embellished bags. Jackets sprayed with pins, patches and badges are more pop than punk. Otherwise sleek looks have been punctuated with a jolt of unexpected color in footwear and we’ve already discussed bright fur stoles slung across shoulders. And for styling, embrace the sock. We’ve seen them paired with even the strappiest of shoes for a pinch of zaniness.
This piece uses imagery from our street style favorites: Vogue, Popsugar, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Telegraph and The Cut. Want more street style? EDITED users, log in right here to read the latest street reports.