Vibrant colours, below-knee hemlines and slim, shapely dresses define this year's look. Photo: Moss and Spy
Fashion’s frantic obsession with sexiness has been easing for several seasons but in spring, the bandage frocks, knicker-flash hemlines, side cleavage tops and hooker-high heels should have fizzled almost completely except for the odd society bash and red carpet where attention-seekers gather.
A new flush of fresh, sporty, feminine looks, rich tropical colours and prints, playful and uber-cool denims, crisp and easy separates, and an elegant nod to every “vintage” decade from the 1950s to the '90s, is moving in for warm days.
Though it’s still technically a no-no to dismiss any look worn with pride and confidence as “right” or “wrong” or “in” or “out” of fashion, let’s say this cluster of spring-summer trends is more “right” and “in” than “wrong” and “out”.
What to wear this spring
Pops of spring citrus by Jendi; handbag, $110, (02) 9565 1322
Most of it is also comfortable to wear thanks to a new mood of nonchalance infusing fashion. It’s fashionable, in other words, to look as if you didn’t try too hard to look fashionable. Even though you do. If you get the drift.
Silhouettes are loosening, heels lowering, trousers and shorts easing, hemlines extending; there’s even a category of summery streetwear so relaxed it appears to melt down the body, layer after easy, airy layer.
Here’s what else is more “in” than “out” for spring:
White, pastels, floral, graphic digital, tropical prints, pinks, blues, citrus pops and monochrome combos.
From a classic white blouse, to ethereal lace smock, white is defining a new sense of purity that may or not be linked to a fashionable generation’s obsession with clean living, organic eating and extreme fitness. In spring and summer white also provides crisp optical contrast to make tropical patterns, digital prints, florals, gelati pastels and even denim optically “pop” in every key item from midi and mini dresses to matching top and bottom sets.
Skater and full skirts, from mini to midi
The swish of fabric around a girl’s hips will be a new summer sensation in short hemlines, and more young women are tipped to embrace the midi hemline – roughly anywhere from two fingers to a handspan below the knee – for the first time since it inched into fashion a few seasons ago.
Pencil skirts and the chic chemise
The classic, ultra-feminine pencil skirt and slim-cut dress will ramp up their popularity for spring, in mono-shoulder and strapless styles, fitted tight enough to flatter the figure but not quite so drum-tight as the wolf-whistle-worthy bombshell cuts of previous seasons.
Skinny pants and wide styles too
The second-skin pant, cut to the hip or lower waist and cropped to the ankle or slightly above, is still fashion’s most flattering so will endure through spring in white, prints, plain pastels and brights, and the new denims.
Crop and midriff tops
The bare midriff has pecked around fashion’s fringe for a few seasons but is likely to hit fashion’s pop charts this summer. The look ranges from a glimpse of brassiere between the lapels of a spring blazer, to casual cropped T-shirts, sling-tops and constructed bikini tops worn for their own sake with denim jeans or shorts on hot days.
Flat shoes, kitten heels and dagger toes
The rule of the brick-high platform is well and truly over except for a stalwart minority of joyful teens who, let’s face it, may never let them, or their knicker-flash hemlines, go. Flat loafers and lace-ups, Birkenstock-style scuffs and dagger toes are the surprising new footwear trend for many women who have spent years perched dangerously high on their heels. Dagger-toe pumps cram the toes but optically “slim” the ankle and foot, slim-strapped stiletto sandals are murder to wear but peerlessly flattering to almost any foot.