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The fall/ winter 2019-2020 fashion trends are here, and we hope you’re ready. In case you haven’t been paying attention, the four major Fashion Weeks have just ended, and we can now definitively predict what the major trends will be for the next autumn and winter seasons.
For many of us the world seems to be on the verge of collapse, and designers are certainly not excluded from having this perception. There was an impending sense of doom that either colored or inspired many of the fall/ winter 2019 fashion trends.
In many cases it meant that we saw garments crafted as though the apocalypse had already occurred: either extremely minimalist and utilitarian, or inspired by films like the Matrix. Nineties grunge was everywhere, and that’s a style that certainly conveys to us that we might be living in the end times.
Some designers showed hope by not shying away from politics this season, with many making statements about the environment, war, and gender. The Seventies were a more hopeful time for activists, so many designers took that era as their design inspiration, which brought a lot of Seventies staples into the fall 2019 fashion trends.
We also saw more designers use vegan and sustainable materials to craft their garments and fall 2019 accessories. Almost everyone, from young designers to major fashion houses, played with gender in some way for the winter 2020 fashion trends. Some did so by crafting menswear-inspired items for women, while others did so by presenting unisex garments. As a result, some of the major fall/ winter 2019-2020 fashion trends are suits, loose trousers, and big-shouldered jackets and blazers.
However, there was also a little bit of room for fantasy and drama, particularly in the form of copious ruffles and voluminous garments, as we saw overt sexiness in the form of see-through clothing, visible lingerie, and corsetry. If you want to treat high fashion as escapism, these are likely the fall/ winter 2019 fashion trends that you will appreciate the most. So, without further ado, let’s get into the details of what we’ll all be wearing soon!
#1. Seventies Style
Bell bottoms, vests, turtlenecks, corduroy, long jackets, and warm earthy colors – these are all staples of Seventies fashion that designers pulled from to bring that decade back as one of the fall 2019 runway trends.
The inspiration for Michael Kors’ fall runway came from his days partying at the famous Studio 54, the logo of which he secured for the collection. The styling was as Seventies as it gets, as models were clad in long, belted dresses, earth-toned leather, neckerchiefs, with their hair styled to look big and fluffy. One model was clearly styled after Diana Ross, in a shimmery purple dress, big boa, and gorgeous curls.
Naeem Khan was another designer to take inspiration from his own time designing in the ‘70s. Back then, Khan apprenticed with Roy Halston, the designer known for bringing trousers back into women’s wear and crafting figure-elongating maxi dresses and caftans. Khan’s fall collection was replete with disco glamour, trousers, and elongating dresses.
For Celine, Hedi Slimane went way back, taking inspiration from the designs the house had produced in the ‘70s, like pleated A-line skirts, culottes, and women’s tweed blazers. At Kate Spade, the Seventies effect was derived from suits with high-waisted, flared trousers and elongating blazers, even though the colors themselves were very bright and of the moment.
#2. Nineties Style
Nineties fashions are insistent on staying popular, and honestly, we don’t mind. There is something easy about Nineties fashions – a type of aggressive casualness that we’re really loving for the colder seasons.
The layering is haphazard, makeup and hair can be a little messy or undone, and the fabrics and silhouettes are as comfy as can be. Grunge is everywhere, but other elements of this decade-inspired fall 2019 fashion trend also came into play this season.
Ripped pants, band Ts, layers upon layers of textured denim and plaid, and intimidating Doc Martens were all elements in what lead to a perfect 2019 take on Nineties grunge at R13. At Paco Rabanne, the Nineties inspiration, which was admittedly combined with ‘70s elements, showed through in copious camisole dresses, often layered over T-shirts or long-sleeved shirts à la Kate Moss, or leopard print coats, also à la ‘90s Kate Moss.
There was also a Nineties feel about the way masculine blazers were layered over camisole dresses at Louis Vuitton. Camisole dresses over a shirt (again, though this time the shirts were tight turtlenecks) at Versace also helped cement the ‘90s as one of the major inspiration decades for this season.
#3. Sustainable Action for a Planet on Fire
Scientists agree that we’ve reached a point of no return as global temperatures continue to rise, so the environment was definitely on the mind of quite a few designers, who used recycled materials and made explicit pro-earth statements during and after their shows. Using recycled and sustainable materials shouldn’t be merely a trend – it should be standard practice in fashion, but unfortunately that’s not the case.
We hope that in the coming years the practice becomes so common as to leave the pages of trend reports, although we’re also aware that it won’t be even close to enough to reverse the damage done by capitalism as a whole.
At Alexander McQueen, Sarah Burton used a few different repurposed materials: heddles from a loom were used like elongated sequins to decorate a gorgeous silver dress, and fabric cuttings from the workshop floor were used to make the swirly skirt portion of a checked jacket-cum-dress creation.
Vivienne Westwood placed the deteriorating state of the planet front and center in her collection, with the main slogans of the show being “buy less, choose well, make it last.” Activists wearing Vivienne Westwood walked the runway with microphones and gave their own statements about politics and sustainability.
Westwood was criticized for pushing an anti-consumerist message while also encouraging the sales of her next collection. That being said, the designer is known for practicing what she preaches, by using recycled and sustainable materials in her collections and partnering with environmental organizations like Greenpeace. Her messaging may have been off, but the message itself was undoubtedly correct.
Perhaps more appealing was the messaging at Collina Strada, where designer Hillary Taymour was transparent about her personal and professional struggles to be eco-friendlier. She is working on shifting Collina Strada towards full sustainability, and for now, the fall 2019 collection was made primarily of deadstock fabrics and with recycled beads crafted by 4ocean, an organization that cleans the oceans of plastic waste and turns it into bracelets.
Also noteworthy are the labels that center sustainability in their production process and find ways to limit their carbon footprint at every stage, like Mara Hoffman (who released a gorgeous lookbook instead of presenting at fashion week), Creatures of the Wind, Gabriela Hearst (whose show audience included children from Our Children’s Trust, the organization suing various governments for infringing the youth’s right to a stable climate), and Stella McCartney who is considered one of the leaders in sustainable design.
#4. End of Gender
This is yet another entry that is a trend this season, it might show up as a trend next season, but in a few years, it’ll be a given – gender is out. The runways have been increasingly non-binary this season, with some designers showcasing gender-bending outfits and others releasing utterly wearable unisex creations.
The more radical looks actually seem outdated, while the mundane options are radical in their decision not to make a splash. The statement they’re making is that fashion doesn’t have a gender anymore, and you really don’t need to be surprised.
On the unisex side of things, we have the bulk of Calvin Luo’s collection, which was made up of big blazers and loose trousers that could easily be worn by anyone. Telfar is another young brand to pay attention to, which released a truly all unisex collection of ‘70s Americana-inspired streetwear garments.
Gender play at Vaquera consisted of male models in suede skirts, and comfy, oversized, and even ridiculously oversized garments, including a series of items made to look like a child playing in their dad’s blazers or button-up shirts. A collection of alt and gender non-conforming models at Gypsy Sport hammered home a message of inclusivity and body positivity, while also showcasing some of the sexiest lingerie of the season.
I’ll also take a second to profile No Sesso, designer Pierre Davis’ collection, which means no sex in Italian (and in context, no gender since the offerings are pretty sexy). The wholly unisex collection throws gender roles to the wind, putting everyone in structured corsets and patchwork dresses because nothing is sexier.
#5. Slouchy Suits
When designers send models out on the runway in relaxed suits, they effectively say that professional wear can be comfortable and loose rather than tight and rigid for the fall 2019 fashion trends. They also effectively make suits more appropriate for evening wear, by giving options that are lusher and more comfortable.
This fall 2019 runway trend is part of an overall shift towards minimalist, utilitarian, and non-gendered dressing in the high fashion world, a trend that we believe will trickle down easily into more mainstream fashion.
Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, under their label The Row, also created slouchy suits – not surprising, considering the comfortable style the two prefer. Straight legged trousers and oversized blazers looked pretty neat on their runway, paired as they were with lush turtlenecks, with both dark and light neutral color options on display.
At Proenza Schouler, gray and off-white oversized suits and blazers were comfy yet sophisticated, with options for both men and women. Many other designers gave us slouchy suit options, including Oscar de la Renta, Tibi, Nina Ricci, Roksanda, and Alexander Wang.
#6. Matrix Re-Reloaded
The fall/ winter 2019-2020 fashion trends have included a few different options to keep you warm, but the baddest of them all are the black leather trench coats – meaning bad in a good way, of course.
Black trench coats gained fame in the late ‘90s/ early 2000s when costume designer Kym Barrett dressed the cast of The Matrix in black leather trench coats (okay, Trinity was mostly in PVC), which billowed strikingly during action scenes. Nearly 20 years later, times are pretty bleak, so what better way to shield ourselves than with one of these trenches?
At the colorful Versace show, one black trench coat tied over a pair of pink leggings gave a sobering touch. The A.W.A.K.E. collection as a whole had a minimalist feel that certainly fit in with the cyber-ascetic vibe of the Matrix film, including long black coats of various materials, leather included.
Most Matrix-y of all, however, was the Alexander Wang collection where black leather was used for every type of garment imaginable, and models even wore Morpheus-like small sunglasses for fall 2019 and colorful Lana Wachowski-esque dreadlocks. We also saw long black trench coats at Coach 1941, Simone Rocha, Chalayan, Guy Laroche, Roberto Cavalli and many more runways.
#7. Patchy Patchwork
There is something comforting about patchwork designs. They might be a little tough to wear, since they can appear raggedy or old-fashioned, but they bring to mind comforting thoughts about lovingly crafted throw blankets somehow combined with a punk rock aesthetic. With meditations on what it means to reuse and upcycle as well as on intersections of identities, it was no surprise to see patchworks as part of the fall 2019 runway trends.
Matty Bovan, of course, was the king of patchwork, giving us loud combinations of fall 2019 prints and fabrics patched together into dresses and skirts that looked unfinished in the most glamorous way possible. Ashley Williams is known for having a similar punk rock vibe, but her use of patchwork in sweaters and skirts was actually intentionally matronly.
Patchwork was used to cleverly combine prints at Koché in a few different ways. Striped fabrics in different colors were cobbled together to make footballer-inspired collar shirts and dresses.
Then there was the mixture of shiny fabrics sewn together to make party dresses. Last, and most impressive, was a dress made of many different patches of fabric that came together with the help of a shiny cord trim, showing a lot of skin in the process.
Designers understood what it means to craft for winter, as cozy designs were ubiquitous on the runway. Many labels joined Missoni and Pringle of Scotland to make knitwear items, so knits easily made it into the fall/ winter 2019-2020 fashion trends.
Molly Goddard moved away from the overly feminine, instead giving us warm multi-colored knit sweaters, cardigans, scarves, skirts, and even a crocheted dress. We’ve already mentioned the matronly vibe the Ashley Williams collection took, with many wool offerings for the NYC millennial intent on staying at home in winter, with a cup of herbal tea, the heat turned up high, and a virtual fireplace showing on TV.
The Taiwanese designer Jamie Wei Huang also had millennials in mind, as she was inspired by youth (including her own student days) to craft a casual collection filled with oversized sweaters cut into modern, Asian street-style inspired silhouettes. At MSGM, there was also a cool schoolgirl vibe, with knitted cardigans worn over short skirts and knee-high socks.
Knits were a bit more mature – even geared towards evening wear, on the runways of J.W. Anderson, Altuzarra, and Stella McCartney who all presented unique knitted dresses. There were quite a few other designers (especially young ones) that made warm knits cool again, including Priscavera and Gareth Wrighton for Fashion East.
#9. Swathed in Ruffles
Ruffles are the “just put a bird on it” trend in the fall/ winter 2019-2020 fashion trends. If it was possible to put a ruffle somewhere, rest assured at least one designer but probably two or three went ahead and did it. In addition to ruffled collars and shoulders, we also had a lot of dresses that featured ruffles as the main event.
In the case of the newcomer discovered by Marc Jacobs on Instagram, Tomo Koizumi, the ruffles were of gossamer fabrics like tulle and organza that ensconced models like shimmery, opulent clouds in vibrant rainbow colors.
Closing the Sies Marjan collection there were two similarly opulent creations: the first was a dress and the second was a blouse, both of which were crafted out of multi-colored shimmering fabric folded into ruffles.
Big ruffles opened the show at Mary Katrantzou! The first massive dress on the runway nearly swallowed the model whole, as it exploded with a mixture of feathers and ruffles in a bright yellow shade. Rodarte could also be relied on to present opulent, ruffled garments at their show, as they do every year.
The affinity designers have for displaying the female form continues well into the fall/ winter 2019 fashion trends, with all manner of see-through fabrics used for shirts and dresses. This year the creations were often worn under a coat or a blazer (it’s cold in autumn and winter, after all), but were just as provocative as they had been in previous years.
British designer Pam Hogg is known for taking things a little wild. There were many fetish elements in her collection, so a few totally revealing outfits didn’t seem out of place or uncomfortably objectifying. We dare say we even liked the totally see-through mesh bodysuit emblazoned with “venus” across the front.
At Saint Laurent, there was a unique combination: a shimmery knitted shirt showing off a female torso, with an oversized, masculine coat worn over it. The see-through blouses continue to show up throughout the collection, but that first example is the most memorable.
Other designers whose use of see-through fabric was noteworthy this season included Molly Goddard, Balmain, and Giambattista Valli.
#11. Saturated Indigo Denim on Denim
It’s particularly nice as part of the fall 2019 fashion trends, since it’ll keep you warm but not stifled. The iteration for this season was darker than the one from spring, with the denim used being a much deeper, indigo blue.
Galaxy blue denim was big at Chloé, with a sleeveless denim top worn over denim jeans being a particularly cool look. There were a few denim-on-denim looks at Christian Dior with a particularly chic vibe. One of the other season’s trends, pleated skirts, was combined with dark blue denim and then paired with a denim blouse, creating a romantic denim-on-denim look.
Lastly, there was the exceedingly wearable collection at Lemaire that featured a denim-on-denim look made up of a long-sleeved denim top and a pair of roomie, straight-legged, high waisted jeans.
#12. Trench Coats with a Deep Yoke Back Flap
Trench coats alone cannot count as an autumn trend – they’re a seasonal staple, after all, since they are elegant, classy, and give the perfect level of protection for the season.
What we did notice for the fall 2019 runway trends was that many of the trench coats on display this season had a deep yoke back, which is a type of flap that goes over the shoulders and back, also hanging a bit at the front. The point of the deep yoke back is to keep water away, but it also adds interesting bulk and texture to a trench.
At Gucci, the flap on a long gray trench worked to sharpen the shoulders, contributing to another one of the fall 2019 fashion trends, and also added a unique element, since the flaps at the front had a sharp triangular shape. Agnona presented a Matrix-y leather trench that had two extra-long flaps at the front, giving the whole look a priestly feel paired as they were with a Roman collar.
Other designer labels that added deep yoke back saddles to their trenches included Sacai, Lanvin, and Gabriele Colangelo.
#13. Two Items Vertically Stitched Together
We’re not sure why designers opted to take two totally separate outfits, cut them in half down the middle, and then stitch them back together. Okay, so this probably wasn’t their working process, but that was certainly the effect! While this technique doesn’t always lead to wearable clothing, it absolutely cements a label in our minds. Should you go out and wear some of these unique creations, more power to you!
Our favorite take on this fall 2019 fashion trend were the gender-bending looks at Alexander McQueen, where suit jackets were augmented with flowing layers of fabric on one side, turning the look into a half-dress. The most extreme was a half-jacket half-dress number in navy blue that was worn over matching trousers.
Matty Bovan’s collection was all about stitching things together, with a vertical offering in the form of a half-paisley half-fish print collared dress worn over black, flared-bottom leggings.
The Eckhaus Latta collection was very clean, as a whole, but even they created a short two-in-one dress, made of two fabrics that were negatives of each other. Other designers to give us this two-in-one style included Calvin Luo, Roland Mouret, Rejina Pyo, Hellessy, and Cushnie.
#14. Return of the Ribbon
Ribbons are a fun detail that can have totally different effects depending on their size. When oversized they add an architectural element to a look, when medium-sized they are wholly romantic, and when small they are youthful and girlish. We enjoyed ribbons in many different sizes as part of the fall 2019 fashion trends.
Oversized ribbons came courtesy of Issey Miyake, where they gave an impressive touch as the top fastenings of large winter coats. At Erdem, ribbons were a natural addition, what with the brand being known for its feminine creations. There was a mixture of takes on the ribbon, with small bows running down the front of a few dresses, and large ribbons used at the neckline of more elaborate dresses.
Medium-sized ribbons had a dapper flare at Milan Fashion Week, where Italian brands like Etro, MSGM, and Dolce & Gabbana added the embellishment as a fastening at the neck of blouses.
#15. Leather Dresses
For the fall/ winter 2019-2020 fashion trends, many designers treated leather as though it were fabric, crafting dresses, jumpsuits, and even suits out of the material in a totally new way. They made leather seem soft and malleable, ensuring that at least a few divas will choose to wear it on the red carpet.
There were gorgeous black and red leather dresses at Alexander McQueen, with the leather twisted into beautiful, lush roses that decorated the skirts. Chalayan played with leather marvelously as well, with the short off-shoulder black dress that opened the show appearing especially wearable.
We can always trust a brand like Salvatore Ferragamo to offer interesting leather pieces, with a dark red leather skater dress paired with purple accessories easily drawing our eye. Tod’s is another label known for their leather creations, and we loved a ‘60s-inspired shift dress with long sleeves made of Dark Cheddar (a fall 2019 runway color) yellow leather.
#16. Leather Suits
Continuing the theme of lots and lots of leather in the fall 2019 fashion trends are leather suits. There were both skirt suits and pantsuits made of leather on the runways this season. They came both from brands who have been crafting with the material for decades, and from brands that only work with it occasionally. It’ll be interesting to see how this trend will manifest in real life!
At Akris, a leather skirt suit was fitted and chic, even paired as it was with tall leather boots. Black leather skirt and top combo took on a slightly more exotic vibes, as the buttoned leather top had short sleeves, the skirt hit mid-calf, and both items were decorated with a pine tree motif – oh, and all of this was styled along with white socks worn over sandals! Talk about a fashion departure!
Moving away from black leather, at Sies Marjan a suit set was made of dark purple or blue leather in a streamlined fit. At Salvatore Ferragamo, looks played with this season’s affinity for slouchy, pajama-inspired silhouettes, with loose leather trousers and a button-up leather top really making us think of sleepwear. Other designers who crafted unique leather suits included Chalayan, Nina Ricci, Altuzarra, Off-White, and Drome.
#17. Day to Night Jumpsuits
Jumpsuits and playsuits have been quite trendy for a few seasons now, with spring’s iteration being particularly “workman”-inspired. For the fall/ winter 2019-2020 fashion trends the jumpsuits are as professional and office-appropriate as can be, for all you working ladies out there.
The jumpsuit that most exemplifies this trend for me is the brown one that opened up the Emilia Wickstead show. The elegant tailoring on it, the simple leather belt, and the way the cuffs were slightly rolled up on the pants looked as sophisticated as can be. A similar light blue jumpsuit that came up later in the show also measured up to the same standard of elegance.
The shape of the jumpsuit like the black halter top one we saw on the Christian Cowan runway makes it the perfect day to night item – wear it with a blazer to the office, and then reveal a bit of skin to wear it to the after-work drinks or even to a more upscale party.
Jumpsuit silhouettes can perfectly echo dresses – they can flare out or stay streamlined, and all it takes is a pair of heels and some glamorous jewelry and no one can complain about your outfit – the glimmery blue jumpsuits we saw at Sally Lapointe are a perfect example of that!
#18. Pajama Couture
Every season we can be assured that at least a few designers will choose to pull inspiration from nightwear and present it as daywear or maybe even evening wear! Last season camisole dresses were a big trend, but for the fall 2019 fashion trends other types of pajamas have gotten some attention as well.
At Dolce & Gabbana, the creations were feminine and romantic, replete with silk and lace, exactly in the way we’d expect the Italian designer duo to interpret nightwear for evening.
The styling at Jonathan Simkhai was particularly playful, with silky camisole dresses worn over pajama-like pants, and a set of silky trousers and blouse looking like a full pajama set that was worn with a neckerchief worthy of flight attendant uniform. Satin trouser and blouse sets at Sies Marjan also had comfy pajama vibes, although precise tailoring made sure it was clear they were intended for the office or evening event.
#19. Dresses with Cut-Outs
Cut-outs on dresses are rarely associated with sophistication, but perhaps that was exactly why so many designers challenged themselves with this method of showing extra skin for the fall/ winter 2019 fashion trends.
Possibly winning the most extreme (borderline tacky) take on this trend is a purple dress at Moschino that was partially crafted through wrapping, to facilitate its revealing nature. On the right, the openings revealed the model’s side from rib to hip, while on the other side the opening only showed the waist. The dress was styled with big hair and lots of bling, if only to push the boundaries of good taste even further, but we’re sure that with slightly different styling an R&B diva can make it work.
At Roberto Cavalli, waist cut-outs on a long-sleeved yellow dress that was already partially see-through made us wonder if this was a particular combination that the world really needed. Carolina Herrera, Dion Lee, and Proenza Schouler were a few of the labels to give us their own takes on garments with skin-baring cut-outs.
#20. Puffer Coats
As anyone who’s ever lived in a truly cold climate knows, the best winter coats are the ultra-puffy ones. Unfortunately, these winter puffer coats are too big and bulky to be the most fashionable options around, that is, until now. Puffy coats are a definite part of the winter 2019-2020 fashion trends, which is especially great for those living in places where a trench coat won’t suffice.
Warmest of all was a long puffer coat at Tory Burch, which was worn open over a floral printed dress, also showing that the coat’s lining was made of a fabric with a similar white paisley floral print. Jonathan Simkhai also gave us a sleeping-bag-sized puffer coat of note, this time with a floral pattern on the outside that was made to match the dress worn underneath.
The opening of the Prabal Gurung runway for this season could best be described as “neon coziness” what with all the bright winter offerings. These included an excellent long puffer coat in neon blue, worn over a tie-dye sweatshirt. At Brandon Maxwell, LaQuan Smith, and Christian Siriano, we saw cropped takes on the puffy coat that could be paired with the club or evening wear garments for which these designers are known.
#21. Return of the Meringue Dress
Last year I dubbed it the meringue dress, but for the fall/ winter 2019-2020 fashion trends the name doesn’t seem to work quite as well, since while the shape is the same, the vibe the dresses give off is a little different. I’m talking, of course, of voluminous dresses, both long and short, with a meringue or tent-like shape.
It’s a dress that doesn’t show any curves or hint of a figure. Last season I wondered whether these dresses were inspired by the costuming in The Handmaid’s Tale, but the ones showcased were so opulent that I thought naming them after a dessert would be more fitting. This season I feel differently.
I think the inspiration at Vaquera is the clearest: millennials stay at home, so sanctuary was the word in mind for the designs. What is more comforting and homier than a big dress that you can get lost in? Some of the oversized dresses had a grandmotherly vibe, while others were more youthful. A peachy dress in satin even gave us the feeling of a very young girl trying on her mother’s dress, which on her looks oversized and shapeless.
Voluminous dresses at Roksanda were crafted in striking colors like reflective Dark Cheddar yellow and magenta. Despite being decorated with bows and layers of fabric, there was still something austere about these gowns.
The newcomers to the Nina Ricci label, Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh, were primarily menswear designers, so it was interesting to see them craft long, voluminous dresses that gave models a larger than life silhouette. A few other labels that returned to this silhouette were Erdem, Marc Jacobs, Y/ Project, and Valentino.
#22. Ridiculous Old-Timey Ruffled Collars
Whether the inspiration was circus clown or Elizabethan fashion, big, ruffled collars made for one of the most extreme fall/ winter 2019-2020 fashion trends. It’s a fashion element that demands attention, and will draw lots of admirers but also a lot of ridicule. If you’re truly committed, give one of these creations a try!
Tory Burch gave us a fairly reserved and easily wearable collection this season, but she managed to punch it up by including quite a few ruffled collars. Most were simple black or white collars worn over autumnal fare, but on quite a few dresses the ruffles were two-tiered and more elaborate.
Ruffles were turned up a notch at the Brock Collection show, with the most elaborate being an asymmetrical ruffle collar that was part of a slouchy gold blouse – paired with a matching skirt, of course.
Lastly there’s Rodarte, a label known for supplying romance in heaps. Floral dresses and blouses embellished with lush ruffled collars seemed like a natural creation for the brand.
#23. The Modern Corset
Here and there we saw an affinity for truly historical designs, with corsets being one of the key nods to earlier centuries. As part of the fall/ winter 2019 fashion trends corsets were positioned as outerwear for nights out – a positioning that has come in and out of style over the years, and with which we don’t think you could ever go wrong.
The corsets in the Dion Lee collection gave structure to some flowier materials, and boy were they structured. The corsets were made up of thick, visible boning, with a square neckline, looking rigid and contrasting against the curvy shape they emphasized in the body. They were often paired with workwear, another contrast that we greatly appreciated.
For Fashion East, Charlotte Knowles designed corsetry that really looked like the undergarments of the ‘50s, and that had a unique behind closed curtains vibe because of the provocative framing of the breasts.
Alexander McQueen, Sacai, and The Blonds are only a few of the other labels to present corsets on the runways for the fall 2019 fashion trends.
#24. Cinched Waists
Even without corsets, it was all about the waist, with all kinds of cinching emphasizing natural curves, often in contrast to a strong shoulder, which avoids an overly feminine silhouette and instead gives us a unique shape that transcends gender. Often, this effect was achieved by layering a belt on top of a blazer, which also contributed to the “safari explorer” look we’ve seen in the fall 2019 fashion trends.
This was exactly what was done at Michael Kors, where thin belts layered over bulky blazers helped emphasize a slim waist. Big belts were used to cinch in the waists on dresses and over jackets at Zimmermann, although in other cases the waist looked particularly cinched because of the way billowy shirts were tucked into loose high waisted trousers.
At Balmain, we were presented with what felt like the most “of the season” take on the cinched waist trend, with ultra-tight belts over oversized jackets creating the coolest hybrid masc/femme silhouette.
#25. Full of Pockets
“Women’s clothing needs pockets” has been a steady feminist refrain over the last few years, and obviously designers are listening, because pockets became one of the fall 2019 runway trends. This coming autumn you will not have to worry about carrying a purse all the time, because all of the pockets can do the job of carrying everything you need!
Opening the Adeam show, for example, there was a deep yellow trouser and blazer combination that could be worn in any semi-casual workplace. The blazer was fitted with four sizable pockets on the front – big enough to carry a phone, wallet, a couple of pens, a makeup compact, keys, and whatever else one might need! Other pocketed looks in the collection included a skirt with pockets around the calves and a cape with large black pockets.
Large pockets on a beige puffer coat at Eckhaus Latta and multiple front pockets on jackets at Palm Angels and Max Mara also made an impression on us.
#26. Noisy Clothing
Movement and noise are two things that are meant to come together. In a world where women were historically meant to be seen but not heard, it is quite the statement to have loud clothing that announces one’s presence before they arrive. Designers found all kinds of ways to increase the sound garments made for the winter 2019-2020 fashion trends.
A few garments made of wooden beads at Eckhaus Latta gave an island twist to a very urban collection, and would have likely thudded quite a bit as the models moved in them.
Jewels would have been responsible for all the clinking at Area, where skirts, bodysuits, and dresses were lined with a jewel-studded fringe. A jeweled fringe would have also been responsible for noise around a very slightly more reserved dress at Christian Cowan.
Other labels to play with noise-making garments were Tom Ford, Christian Siriano, Alexander McQueen, and Prabal Gurung.
#27. Light as a Feather
Big and small, natural yet luxe, feathers are the ultimate texture that brings a fun twist to evening wear in the fall/ winter 2019-2020 fashion trends. Feathers were used all over or as accents this season, giving outfits that unique slow, light as air movement that is unique to this natural material.
The copious use of feathers did make us wonder whether this natural material is sourced without animal cruelty. Overzealous organizations like Peta would say feathers can never be ethical in fashion, but there certainly are humane farms selling molted (i.e. naturally shed) feathers to the fashion industry.
We cannot help ourselves, so we’re going to start with our very favorite: the deep purple-brown dress that closed off the Marc Jacobs show. The dress was entirely covered in feathers, with a cinched waist, V-neckline, big skirt, and mid-calf length.
Needless to say, it was so gorgeous it made us gag, but also brought up a bit of guilt about the amount of birds who lost their own feathers. It’s worth mentioning the other instances where Jacobs used feathers: a few more dresses, all-feather jackets, capes, oversized scarves, and as an embellishment to a number of other items.
At Toga and Roksanda, feathers were a complement, used at collars and along the sides to add wispiness to jackets and dresses. At Elie Saab, black feathers were a complement taken to the extreme, used as they were in copious amounts to decorate modern day pimp jackets.
What seemed to be feathers at J.W. Anderson was actually cleverly crafted fabric that was able to effectively mimic the movement and texture of the animal-sourced material. We would love to see other major labels examine their sourcing and be more transparent about where their feathers are coming from.
As for other brands who used feathers in their collections this season? We have Gucci, Tom Ford, Oscar de la Renta, Richard Quinn, Erdem, Natasha Zinko, Ports 1961, and the list continues…
#28. Over and Under Wear
Every year, designers find a different way to present undergarments to us on a runway that are predominantly evening gowns or chic daywear. For the fall/ winter 2019-2020 fashion trends it was as simple as presenting a garment, and plopping a bra or camisole on top of it.
At Simone Rocha, there was a lot of consideration to this styling, however, as a white lace bra decorated with red jewels was carefully matched to a pair of shiny red flats, and worn over a barely-there peach-colored dress made of a translucent fabric.
At Versace, the vibe was a little more S&M with a touch of neon, with models wearing strappy bras over tight turtlenecks in complementary or matching bright colors – we’d be keen to see these bras worn in a more traditional way, as the intentional styling certainly brought down their “sexy” factor.
#29. Loose Trousers
Personally, I appreciate this small return to comfort. Loose trousers make up my favorite kind of look: easily stylish and malleable. Loose trousers are inherently a little boho but with the right styling they can be made part of a professional look. I’m thrilled to see so many designer options from the fall/ winter 2019-2020 fashion trends.
R13 gave us a punk take on loose trousers, as models were styled to look like tough grunge girls who popped on whatever was laying on the floor when they got dressed. The items themselves, however, were versatile, since styled differently the plaid and tweed trousers could certainly be made office-appropriate.
Loose fabric pants at Chloé looked particularly soft and comfortable, with a tight around the waist giving an interesting touch. The trousers at Zimmermann looked just as comfortable but a little more feminine, since they were tied up with a bow at the waist, giving an hourglass figure.
There were also loose pants on offer from Rejina Pyo, in shades like navy blue and white, paired with blazers or blouses for a more professional take on the comfy style.
#30. Maxi Skirts
For the fall/ winter 2019-2020 fashion trends, long skirts have become a modest option that adds a romantic touch to professional wear, or a daring casual twist to evening wear.
On the evening wear side of things, we had long, shiny satin skirts at Peter Pilotto. They were paired with equally shiny pleated tops, giving all the glamour of an evening dress but in the form of separates.
In her fall collection, Rosie Assoulin presented more a casual maxi skirt for daywear in the form of a white striped skirt, a skirt that could be styled for the office that was made of dotted lace layered over a slip, and the perfect evening maxi skirt in black dotted with silvery polka dots.
Whereas most maxi skirts were quite billowy, Nanushka presented a knitted yet professional maxi skirt in yellow, with a figure-hugging silhouette. Other designers to present us with some truly lovely maxi skirts included Ulla Johnson and Brandon Maxwell.
#31. Structural Power Shoulders
These are not your mama’s ‘80s power shoulders. Big shoulders have been making a slow comeback, with the fall/ winter 2019 fashion trends giving us an edgy, structured take on them that is modern, severe, and gender-bending.
To start off we have the ultra-structured jackets and coats from Maison Margiela. Galliano combined slight left of mutton sleeves made of a textured fabric with a more streamlined jacket, leading to a powerful non-binary effect.
A bit of extra fabric at the top of the sleeve at Koché created an effect that was somehow both structured and slouchy. It was all about the way the fabric extended the shoulders and fell sharply, which appeared powerful but not rigid. There were a few other clever instances where shoulders were made stronger thanks to subtle sewing techniques that kept things from looking bulky.
At Etro, tops were crafted in a rigid style, where added fabric extended from the shoulders looking separate from the sleeves, reminding us of an armor. This was particularly unique because this design was applied to both sweaters and sporty sweatshirts.
Other designer brands to give stronger shoulders included J.W. Anderson, Saint Laurent, Cong Tri, Isabel Marant, Loewe, Coach 1941, and Fendi.
#32. Leg of Mutton Sleeves
So while our favorite shoulder trend is all about edge, we gotta also pay attention to the leg of mutton sleeves that have been giving the kind of poofy shoulders Anne of Avonlea was dreaming of.
The dresses that had leg of mutton sleeves at Ulla Johnson were actually ones that were flowy but not over the top. The combination of a slightly puffed sleeve with a ‘60s mini silhouette or a flowy printed dress was lovely rather than cloying.
At Lemaire, these sleeves showed up on austerely dark dresses as well as quite a few jackets. The styling of dresses reminiscent of the ‘40s with slimmer leg of mutton sleeves was unintentionally funny, with blingy body chains layered over them giving an odd fetish vibe.
Lastly are the extreme leg of mutton sleeves at Richard Quinn that were plopped on top of busy floral dresses, often contrasting against extra-short lengths.
#33. Military Gear
Perhaps it was the continuous wars in the Middle East, the polarization in society, or attacks on women… either way, designers felt the need to reflect army uniforms and military gear in their creations for the fall 2019 runway trends.
At Prada, for instance, army uniforms came through in olive green bomber jackets worn with matching skirts or trousers. An olive green jumpsuit at Stella McCartney was clearly inspired by military pilot uniforms.
We have to mention the Sacai runway, where military inspiration was twisted into something totally new: models wore corsets modeled after army tactical vests in olive green and covered in pockets. It was the most unique combination of feminine and masculine, aesthetic and utilitarian – the kind of marriage of contrasts that makes high fashion so exciting.
#34. Pleated Skirts
Pleats are something that will always come and go, with the fall/ winter 2019-2020 fashion trends marking their return in the form of skirts – much more sensible than last season’s pleated blouses, we must say. You don’t have to buy a new designer garment, you’ve probably already had a pleated skirt sitting in the back of the closet ready to be Konmari’d. Now, you don’t have to give it away – this coming autumn it will spark joy yet again!
Brands that understand fashion wear, like Sportmax, Tod’s or Audra, crafted soft fabric skirts with smaller pleats – textures that will surely pair well with the copious blazers (oversized or otherwise) that we saw this season.
Alberta Ferretti and Emilio Pucci positioned pleats as evening wear, the former with dresses and the latter with skirts, by utilizing longer lengths and luxurious or shimmery fabrics. Fendi stands out for making leather pleated skirts, while at Gucci we were actually surprised to see a more restrained calf-length white pleated skirt.
Other designers to give us pleated skirts included Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Tory Burch, Celine, Christian Dior, and Peter Pilotto.
#35. Safari Explorer Chic
Last season we had wanderlust as a theme, the extension of which for the fall 2019 fashion trends is… disappointing. The image of the safari explorer, in a belted all-khaki outfit and hat, à la Jane in Disney’s Tarzan or Mr. Thornberry in the Wild Thornberrys (yes, my references come strictly from cartoons), became outdated in large part because it’s hard to separate the look from the exoticization and colonialism its archetypal wearers took part in.
Well, for some reason the safari explorer look is back… maybe designers forgot why it went out of style in the first place.
For Isabel Marant the explorer theme was quite explicit, as models wore sandy colors from head to toe. Slouchy fall 2019 boots and waists cinched with blingy belts gave an urban fashionista twist to what I can’t help but think of as the “white person on safari” look – the casting for the show certainly doesn’t help with that.
The effect was perhaps unintentional at Tibi, but belted blazers worn over pencil skirts or trousers all in light colors were definitely giving the safari explorer effect.
#36. Ruffled Shoulders
Ruffles were not strictly reserved to collars for the fall/ winter 2019 fashion trends. Ruffled shoulders were another take on the romantic technique that also contributed to the trend towards bigger shoulders in designer land.
Nicolas Ghesquière for Louis Vuitton played with all varieties of big shoulders, giving us the aforementioned structural ones, as well as much more noteworthy ruffled shoulders that somehow avoided extreme femininity. In some instances, the ruffles were asymmetrical, while in others they were connected to the collar in a way that reminded us of a frilled-necked lizard ready to attack.
Shoulder ruffles at Balmain also had a unique architectural effect, since they were layered over a type of ultra-cropped cape that sat over the shoulders like a footballer’s shoulder pads.
Lastly, we have the ruffled shoulders offered at the Elie Saab show. What’s an Elie Saab collection without some romance? The shoulders on one of the black tops and a black dress were covered in layers upon layers of ruffles, in a way that was as romantic and lush as can be.
#37. Velvet and Corduroy
Velvet and corduroy are cousins, both soft to the touch, with a vintage charm, and belonging to the ‘90s in recent memory. Their textural value is also similar, as one would find it difficult to distinguish corduroy from velvet and vice versa when seeing a garment from a distance – for example, from one of the back seats at a fashion show. Both materials are warm yet elegant, so they were extremely fitting for the fall 2019 fashion trends.
At Tom Ford, lush velvet jackets were paired with loose satin pants, exuding luxury and elegance. The designer himself came out to take a bow wearing a black velvet blazer, to reinforce the point that velvet is in and it is modern.
At Alexachung, a dark green corduroy suit managed to achieve the same effect as the blazers at Tom Ford, although the garment we were most enamored with was a black velvet robe that was tied off with a thick white judo belt.
The MSGM show closed with a number of romantic velvet items: two velvet blouses with ‘80s mutton chop sleeves and a bubble skirt party dress that hung off the shoulders.
We also saw velvet crop up on the runways of A.W.A.K.E., LaQuan Smith, and Elie Saab, while corduroy showed up in the collections of Brock Collection and Maryam Nassir Zadeh.
#38. Tactical Turtlenecks
Sterling Archer can rejoice, the tactical turtleneck is back along with other ‘70s-inspired fall/ winter 2019-2020 fashion trends. Your personal inspiration might be Michel Foucault, Greta Garbo, Steve Jobs or Audrey Hepburn, or you might like a turtleneck because it’s another item that’ll keep your neck warm in the coming autumn and winter. They can be worn in many different ways, as designers and stylists showed us on the runways.
At Tom Ford, for example, turtlenecks were worn under blazers to give a chic yet professional vibe. Versace, as always, was giving us outrageous styling, though the pieces themselves were extremely wearable! Donatella sent models on the runways in brightly colored turtlenecks worn over skirts or under blazers, with the outrageous touch being the bras worn over them.
Isabel Marant, Tibi, and Celine are only a few of the many labels to bring turtlenecks back for the fall 2019 runway trends.
#39. Capes and Cloaks
A cape is the ultimate winter garment for the woman who wants to announce her obsession with fashion to the world. Let’s clear up the distinction, first: a cape is a shorter, sleeveless garment that drapes over the back, arms, and chest, with a fastening at the neck. A cloak is the same, but much longer and therefore warmer.
The winter 2019-2020 fashion trends gave us a massive selection of capes and cloaks in different styles, to imbue any style with a touch of 19th century romance.
Miuccia Prada made cloaks a part of both her Prada and Miu Miu collections. The Prada cloaks were a little dark, made of dark brown or black lace, in a collection that took its inspiration from gothic horror. The Miu Miu cloaks were more romantic (and also decidedly warmer), with a bulkier design and large buttons in black, navy blue, and even a few in camo!
We always love the romantic designs from Dolce & Gabbana, which featured silk capes worn over nighties and more substantial button capes made to match a houndstooth outfit. Other labels to craft gorgeous cloaks and capes included Marc Jacobs, Giorgio Armani, Balmain and Valentino.
#40. Coquettish Culottes
Culottes are a type of cropped trousers heavily associated with cool French girl style, and they’re having a comeback in the fall 2019 runway trends. They’re super practical for autumn, especially if you live somewhere a little warmer, especially as office wear. At first glance they may look like an A-line skirt, which makes them a playful choice that injects fun into professional settings.
The Celine show was opened with a pair of pleated culottes in a neutral brown, with more versions showing up on the runway as the show progressed, making it clear that these pants are going to be worn in offices all over the world in the coming season. It was actually a throwback to old designs from the house, and we gotta say it was one of our favorite iterations of the trend this season, likely because it was true to historical designs.
Rosie Assoulin’s culottes were a touch more boho-chic, as they were made of brown and then dressed up a bit with a yellow wrap tied around them.
If you’re looking for a newer, trendier take on culottes, look no further than Jacquemus, who presented a pair of dark green leather culottes worn with a lighter green shirt tucked into them. Alternatively, you might prefer the luxurious satin culottes presented at Priscavera.
#41. Undone and Deconstructed
A few designers wanted to show us what happens behind the scenes in their workshops – those moments before the final stitches are put in, when garments are a little undone. There were enough deconstructed items on the runways to make this one of the sleeper trends in the fall/ winter 2019-2020 fashion trends.
At Marni, blazer sleeves were slightly separated at the shoulders, showing where the fabric comes together. In reality, it was all held together with a differently colored fabric stitched below, but at first glance it seemed as though the sleeves were just coming off.
The undone effect was even more extreme at Acne Studios, with sleeves seeming to fall off of silk blouses. At Gucci, suits were marked with lines of thread, looking as though they were still halfway through the sewing process.
#42. Cozy Quilting
Because of brands like Chanel and Prada, quilting has become closely associated with designer brands, especially quilted leather for accessories like shoes and handbags. When it comes to fabrics, however, quilting (a technique of sewing two or three pieces of fabric together to make a padded, warm item) is associated with blankets or upholstery. Well, not so for the fall/ winter 2019 fashion trends, when the quilting technique was used for some gorgeous creations.
An Oscar de la Renta gown is always guaranteed to be luxurious and dramatic, and this certainly applied to the quilted strapless evening dresses that were presented in this season’s collection. Quilting was used for the inner lining of coats at Gabriela Hearst and Prabal Gurung, so it only appeared as an accent where items were folded or when material opened up on the runway with the models’ movement.
Rachel Comey used thick quilting to make insulated outfits that will keep folks warm in winter. These included long coats, one in light blue and another in a peach and yellow checked pattern, as well as a pastel yellow trouser and jacket set.
#43. Warm Fleece
Fuzzy and cozy, fleece is an awesome addition to the fall/ winter 2019-2020 fashion trends. We tend to think of it as ultra-casual, but thankfully, the second someone rocked it on a runway it gained a bit more clout.
While the name alludes to the coat of a sheep, fleece is actually a vegan synthetic so animal lovers can enjoy it guilt-free, although remember that fleece does hold some environmental repercussions that can be avoided if you opt for a recycled option and avoid over-laundering.
From Maryam Nassir Zadeh we loved the fleece lining on a dark brown bomber jacket, which looked old-school cool and provided solid insulation for winter months. There was also a white all-fleece zip-up worn over a pleated skirt, combining casual and professional. Coach 1941 used fleece for the sleeves on masculine coats, while Sandy Liang and 3.1 Phillip Lim both kept things sporty yet feminine.
#44. Faux Fur Coats
The debate over fur in fashion has been going on for decades, with many people choosing to boycott the animal-derived material, often after seeing behind the scenes footage of how cruel the sourcing can be. There is still some room for fur coats on the runways, particularly if they’re made from faux fur or recycled fur, which can still be just as glamorous and larger than life as their ethically dubious counterparts.
For our list of the fall/ winter 2019-2020 fashion trends we’re highlighting those fabulous fur coats that are cruelty-free.
In 2017 Michael Kors announced that he’d be going fur-free, so we were thrilled to see him commit, with a collection that included a ton of awesome faux fur options inspired by the ‘70s style. Our favorite was the huge orange-red coat worn over a sparkly copper party dress, but a long creamy one might be more wearable for most.
Each x Other also made changes for fall – the brand went totally vegan, with astrakhan replaced by embossed velvet palatine, which actually made for gorgeous, lush-looking coats. A bright red coat with a big collar, worn over red leggings and black boots was our personal favorite.
Stella McCartney and Nanushka are two other designers that get credit from us for always delivering gorgeous vegan offerings, including some very nice faux fur coats for this winter season.
#45. Fur Cuffs and Collars
The fall/ winter 2019 fashion trends are low on glamour, for the most part, since designers had other things in mind this season. However, one little glimpse of glamour we did spot on the runways came through in fur cuffs and collars.
We’ll start with coats from Marine Serre, the young designer making a splash in Paris these days. She crafted long trench coats, with cuffs and collars made of faux fur in bright colors. It was pop art glamour at its best.
A fur trim on denim and army green coats at Sacai seemed more like prudent cold weather preparation than glamour, especially considering the utilitarian vibe the whole collection had.
One of the closing looks at Shrimps was fur on fur: a tiger print coat with a lush, shimmery black fur collar and cuff. Lastly, at Thom Browne, the fur trim on gray coats was on the cuffs and along the bottom hem, with the collar remaining bare.
#46. Cold Shoulder Creations
While there were quite a few one-shoulder garments, we think the asymmetrical off-the-shoulder choice is much more fitting for the fall 2019 fashion trends, since they are a little warmer and classier – who cares that they were also on trend a season ago?
Jonathan Simkhai designed two items that showed off one shoulder thanks to an asymmetrical fit: one was a draped scarf dress with long sleeves that we’re hoping can magically find its way into our closets, while the second was a gray blazer which was one of the more innovative takes on the trend.
Rosie Assoulin also gave us an off-the-shoulder blazer, but with a folded-over ribbon tight along the neckline that added an intentional touch. There were multiple off-the-shoulder offerings form Hellessy, as well, including silky blouses and dresses both for professional wear and eveningwear.
Rachel Comey, Cushnie, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, and Kate Spade all also get credit for contributing to asymmetrical off-the-shoulder cuts staying trendy for another season!
#47. Column Dresses
An elegant silhouette is hard to resist, and no silhouette is as elegant for evening wear as one that lengthens the body. Dresses that seemed to drape over models, flowing gently all the way to the floor and giving a slinky yet sophisticated vibe were some of our favorite fall/ winter 2019-2020 fashion trends – dresses that we hope to see on the red carpet soon.
Shiny silk dresses did the trick at Brandon Maxwell, looking opulent despite the simple silhouette. There was a chartreuse column dress for women who like drama, and a white one paired with a matching cape for those with more restrained tastes.
The Naeem Khan show closed with the most beautiful silver column dresses (three of them, in fact) worn by three of the original Halstonettes, models now in their 60s who were part of famous designer Roy Halston’s model troupe back in the 1970s.
At Marni, long sleeved silk column dresses draped on the body in the most sensual way, heightened by the suggestive way the dresses had been pierced with wedding rings. There were many more gorgeous takes on column dresses on the full 2019 runways, coming from collections as diverse as Cushnie, Tom Ford, A.W.A.K.E., Veronica Beard, and The Row.
#48. Modern-Day Tweed
Tweed is synonymous with Chanel in fashion, but also with the fall/ winter 2019-2020 fashion trends, since we saw this cozy autumnal material not only on the Chanel runway aplenty, but also in the fall collections of other major names. Tweed appeared in any way in the recent fashion lineups, from the outerwear to classic office-ready skirt suits to pants to romantic dresses.
Of course, Chanel leads the tweed trend for fall, followed by Victoria Beckham, where we saw a bold tweed skirt suit, Brock Collection that unveiled tweed coats, pants, skirts and dresses, Celine, where tweed appeared in every color and style, Tod’s, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and more. So just get your perfect portion of tweed and tweet to let the world know about your trend awareness!
Photos via Vogue