Times are tough for many, the world is in turmoil and clothing designers responded to this with a palette of predominantly black & white AND GRAY looks on last fall’s runways, forecasting for early 2024. Safe? Yes, but also pragmatic.
As for color, red remains squarely on trend, ranging from fiery to burgundy with shades of cinnamon and for many of us, this continuation of holiday reds through Valentine’s Day easily shifts this color favorite from the red-hued magenta – the 2023 Color of the Year. However, grays and shades of black & white are trend-resistant tones. Just as important is the way they are used symbolically. Numerous designers were after a feeling of “lightness” to contrast with the pull of gravity (and the dark seriousness of the world situation). The ethereality of pretty, white dresses was balanced by more grounded (and often tailored) black looks. Beautiful blends of caramel accentuated blacks and grays bringing warmth to this neutral palette. As everyone gets back to work in the New Year, pair a caramel or beige-toned belt for a “pop” over any shade of gray to soften corporate looks.
And per Vogue, designers’ most cited inspiration for 2024 was summer, which might sound basic but is anything but. With climate change setting record temperatures and the world seemingly on fire, carefree summers of another era are yearned for and feel nostalgic. (Who can forget the apocalyptic darkening of smoke-filled skies in Michigan and the northeast last summer?) As if to combat the heat, designers built a sort of air-con functionality into their garments, opting for mesh, eyelet, lace, slits/reveals and other openwork details to offer ventilation. Watch for these breezy styles in the earliest 2024 fashions which launch in January, the first lines from a variety of designers that the industry denotes as “resort wear!”
The continued elongation of the pant silhouette by raising waistlines, lengthening the leg and providing a more bootcut or wide-leg fit shall continue to reign. While cropped sweaters, jackets and casual wear go well with high-waisted jeans, tall silhouettes and higher waistlines fill in the midriff, thank goodness! And speaking of hips, the early 2024 trending style is a peplum waist – SO HIP! This feature promotes a feminine shape with successful peplum lines starting at the natural waist and finishing at or below the belly button. If purchasing new peplum-styled items isn’t in the cards post-holiday shopping, you can create your own waist-accentuating look by wearing a top or blazer with broad shoulders and then belting it at your natural waist. Wide belts that tie can tuck neat shirts and blouses precisely over the top of full skirts or long-legged pants for a peplum effect. Leather belts can be the perfect accent to so many winter outfits and can even be worn over chunky sweaters to accentuate a more feminine shape.
Also typical of the season are florals. While we hold our wintery breaths for spring, florals can be uplifting and favorable even in early 2024. And while the flowery trend may not be groundbreaking, it does echo the times; we’ve referenced an earlier era and desire for nostalgia; this trend visually seems to relate to all the feathery touches fluttering around as the world moves forward on a wing and a prayer. The world needs peace and if wearing an easy-breezy, lighthearted floral helps lighten your mood, please oblige.
Lastly, please use self-care to combat seasonal sadness! When you can, get your body moving outdoors for some fresh air. Great hats and mittens make walking the dog or walking with a friend more bearable. Also a must for your 2024 wardrobe are fun athleisure pieces for a more active you. Start the year off right looking AND feeling better!