On Trend: Top Ten Wearable Trends for Spring


ColumnFor a true fashion lover, seeing the explosion of new trends that come down the runways at fashion weeks around the world each season is exhilarating.

Making sense of new fashion trends can be quite daunting, and something that looks great on a runway model may not exactly be ideal for you. From black and white to bright color, graphic patterns to lace and embellishments, and ’90s grunge to statement sunglasses, here are our top ten wearable trends for spring.

Left: Louis Vuitton S/S 2013, right: Tommy Hilfiger S/S 2013. Photos via Style.com

1. Graphic Patterns: Stripes, Checks & Polka Dots
For fans of geometric simplicity and straight lines, this is looking to be the best spring ever. Graphic prints, from chessboard checks and burglar stripes to polka dots were seen on the runways of Diane von Furstenberg,  Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors and Tommy Hilfiger. Don’t be afraid to mix these prints, the key is to keep them simple and graphic and in an understated primary color scheme.

Left: Diane von Furstenberg S/S 2013, right: Marc Jacobs S/S 2013. Photos via Style.com

2. Black & White
Minimalists around the world rejoice, finally spring does not mean we have to wear pastels! Many designers — including Alexander Wang, Proenza Schouler, DKNY, Diane von Furstenberg, Calvin Klein, Narciso Rodriguez, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Diesel Black Gold, and Jen Kao — emphasized black and white in their spring collections. We’ve already talked about this trend and given you some ideas on conscious choices that will achieve the look. Seasonless and certain to have timeless appeal, this trend is the epitome of wearable. For extra impact, combine this trend with the graphic print one (above).

Left & right: Barbara Bui S/S 2013. Photos via Style.com

3. Black & Blue
A holdover from winter, the black and blue trend has staying-power for spring as well. If you want to brighten things up a bit, opt for a bright Yves Klein blue instead of darker navy. We’ve already given you some suggestions how to adapt this trend into your wardrobe in an eco-chic way, and Ohne Titel, Vera Wang, Helmut Lang and Barbara Bui showed some interesting takes on this trend in their spring collections. These colors are both timeless basics, so the best way to ensure you invest in clothing that will last you for a long time is to buy solid black and blue separates and combine them.

Left: Dolce & Gabbana S/S 2013, right: Jen Kao S/S 2013. Photos via Style.com

4. Lace & Embellishments
Spring is the season of romance, and this year it comes through in fashion as well. Couture elements like lace and intricate embellishments were seen at Vera Wang, Jason Wu, Lela Rose, Alexander McQueen, Jill Stuart, Pierre Balmain, Thakoon, Carolina Herrera, Jen Kao, Oscar de la Renta, Dolce & Gabbana and Roberto Cavalli (just to name a few). Don’t fret if you don’t have any red carpet affairs to attend, this look is easily dressed down for everyday wear by combining embellished pieces, such as shoes or a top, with jeans. Also, the great news is that pieces like this, especially lace, can easily be found in almost every thrift store. Look for pieces that are clean and well-maintained and always keep in mind that an old lace dress can easily be turned into a spectacular top.

Left: Helmut Lang S/S 2013, right: Stella McCartney S/S 2013. Photos via Style.com

5. Bright Color
Vibrant color has been in fashion for quite some time now, but it’s a trend that is still going strong. Instead of color-blocking, you’ll want to wear your brights from head to toe or combine them with black or white for a more graphic statement. Pretty much any bright color goes, but runway standouts were electric Yves Klein blue (Stella McCartney, Gucci, Chanel, Derek Lam, Ohne Titel), sunshine yellow (DKNY, DvF), acid green (Stella McCartney), bright orange (Helmut Lang), fuschia pink (Jenni Kayne), deep purple (J. Mendel), coral (Jason Wu), sea foam (Blumarine, Gucci, Alberta Ferretti, Antonio Berardi) and bright vermillion red (Valentino, Gareth Pugh, Giambattista Valli). Thanks to the ’80s, this is a trend that can easily be thrifted as well.

Left: Rag & Bone S/S 2013, right: Derek Lam S/S 2011. Photos via Style.com

6. Flares & Long Shorts
Wave farewell to the ultrashort hot pants of last spring and thank the fashion gods for bringing back the Bermuda-length shorts this spring. This style is much easier for all women to wear, as seen on the runways of Peter Som, Rag & Bone, DKNY and more. Keep the fit loose, and avoid cutting off the legs visually, make sure your shorts are cut just right above the knee. For those who prefer their pants long, flares have made a major comeback this spring. Channel the ’70s with light-wash denim bellbottoms, pair a tailored shirt with dark-wash denim flares, or take a cue from Bianca Jagger and give the wide-leg tuxedo a try.

Left: Isabel Marant S/S 2013, right: Edun S/S 2013. Photos via Style.com

7. Exotic Prints & Textiles
New printing techniques have made it possible for designers to really go wild with their prints. From NYFW, we’ve reported on Clover Canyon’s debut collection, which incorporates roadside Americana-inspired prints and is now in stores. Mary Katrantzou is the long-time master of this look, and her signature style is now inspiring a crop of new designers to venture into print-mixing. Another version of this trend draws inspiration from exotic locales, traditional patterns and distinct cultural heritage. Inspiration can be found at Vera Wang, Ralph Lauren, Altuzzara, Marc by Marc Jacobs, J. Crew, Marchesa, Peter Som and Duro Olowu. However, we suggest that if you want to rock this trend, search out brands that actually support the artisans whose cultural traditions inspired the trend.

Left: Saint Laurent S/S 2013, right: Belstaff S/S 2013. Photos via Style.com

8. Leather
Whether we like it or not, there’s no denying that leather is one of spring’s major trends. Designers like Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang, Theyskens’ Theory, Derek Lam, Rodarte, Jason Wu, Reed Krakoff, Monique Lhuillier, Saint Laurent and Belstaff all incorporated lots of leather into their spring collections. The good news for vegans and animal lovers is that there are plenty of faux options that will accomplish the look, without harming innocent animals or compromising your conscience. That said, we’re secretly hoping that this trend, along with some designers’ gratuitous use of fur, quickly fades away. If you are going to buy anything made of leather, make sure it’s a timeless piece you intend to keep for a very long time.

image: stylehaüs Pinterest

9. Statement Sunglasses
Isn’t it an exciting time when the sun comes out and you have to start wearing sunglasses every day? This spring, it’s even more exciting because sunglasses have never been more fun. Statement-making versions were seen at Anna Sui, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Erdem, Prada, Tsumori Chisato, Chanel and Diane von Furstenberg, and Karen Walker’s frames have been seen on fashionistas around the globe. Rummage around your drawers for a pair of sunglasses that you really like, and check out this or this tutorial for tips on how to turn them into statement-making trend pieces.

Left & right: Dries van Noten S/S 2013. Photos via Style.com

10. Grunge
Remember the ’90s? Well, it seems that enough time has passed —preciesely 20 years since Marc Jacob’s groundbreaking grunge collection for Perry Ellis, to be exact — for this decade to make a reappearance on the fashion scene. The Cut calls this trend “Nevermind Redux,” and you should indeed look to those great grunge bands of yore for inspiration. The one piece you’ll want to take away from this is the plaid shirt — one of spring’s most versatile wardrobe staples. Tie it around your waist or pair it with more tailored, embellished and elegant pieces to create an impactful high-low contrast. Also, look through your closet for those old Doc Martens, you may just want to start wearing those again too.

Top image via Fucci’s photos

Johanna Björk

Johanna is a sustainable fashion writer currently based in Ojai, CA. Read her weekly On Trend column to learn what's new in eco fashion.