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The past year has changed fashion forever; on one hand, there’s never been more dedication to following trends, but on the other, there’s been an undeniable rebellion against trends by some major tastemakers in favor of personal style. So, what can we expect for 2022? Let this fashion forecast shed some light on what you’ll likely be seeing (and shopping) everywhere.
In our digital-first world, trends are peaking more quickly than ever. A tie-dye sweatsuit? Quilted accessories? We’ve all seen it time and time again, especially with social media being our main form of self-expression and connection over the last year. But too much of a good thing couldn’t ring truer—when we see trends things everywhere online, our minds start to associate them with the notion that they’re overdone, so the sense of excitement we felt when we first laid eyes on them fades faster. As a result, the trend cycle is turning over at an unprecedented rate.
One trend on the rise, though, is shopping smart and small. Seeking sustainable options, putting our dollars towards independent small businesses and taking an interest in resale is more popular than ever before. The driver of this? Well, being a better person and doing right by the world (as we should), but also satisfying our deep desires to be original and express ourselves through fashion in a way that feels truly organic.
As a trend forecaster and someone who, well, gets dressed in the morning just like everybody else, I feel an undeniable tug-of-war between the concepts of major trends and personal style, but I’m happy to confirm that they can, in fact, live in harmony. Lucky for you, I’m here to mitigate the myth that trends can’t be modified to fit your personal aesthetic. How to nail it? Discover the differences between macro versus micro-trends.
The easiest way to clock a macro-trend is to look at it as an influence, rather than focusing in on just one trending item. As we look ahead to 2022, an art-driven, avant-garde aesthetic is making quite an impact on the men’s and women’s markets as our mindsets shift toward seeking creativity and beauty in the world. Looking at this shift through a macro lens, we can see that it’s being played out in a multitude of ways, from loud prints to cut-outs and even entirely new items in the market.
Now, let’s apply it to personal style, too. If you love this macro-trend, find a way to channel it in a way that works uniquely for you, whether that’s through an intricate earring or an over-the-top printed jacket worn with items you already love—that way, you’ll always feel like yourself and still look pretty damn cool.
Ahead, you’ll find five of our favorite macro-trends for 2022, with a few ideas on how they’ll play out in the market. Pick and choose what works for you and leave the rest; above all else, the future of fashion should be fun.
It’s A Zoo
I know, I know—animal prints aren’t exactly anything new, but this trend is timeless and ever-evolving. For 2022, we’re trading in leopard and snakeskin for zebra and tiger prints, and keeping an eye out for abstract versions that create a cool twist on the classics.
Zebra is undeniably the leading animal print in the market and for good reason—it’s totally wearable with its neutral color palette and minimalist appeal.
Cowhide is the kitschy sister to zebra print. Also a winner for its goes-with-anything wearability, it has a cool-girl slant that makes it perfect for everything from accessories to apparel.
Say hello to eye-catching distortion and coloration when it comes to animal print. This may not be straight from the safari, but it’s certainly fresh off the runway.
Let’s be real, after a year in sneakers and slippers, who can really go back to uncomfy footwear? While we’re all about dazzling heels for a night out, you can bet daytime footwear will remain comfortable. For 2022, emerging trends like ballet flats, loafers and ‘tech shoes’ will reign supreme on the sidewalks.
Forget the ballet flats of the past; this time around, they’ve got a second wind with statement hardware and updated silhouettes like the square toe. Styling tip: Pair yours back to denim or trousers rather than a sweet frock to avoid looking too “dance class.”
The loafer leans into our obsession with the prep aesthetic right now (Hello, all things Gossip Girl!). We’re seeing updates in fresh colorations, bold hardware and platforms for an interesting spin on a timeless silhouette.
This trend has undoubtedly emerged from the menswear runways, but it’s creeping into the women’s market, too. The ‘tech shoe’ is similar to a rain boot or a clog, making the most of sporty utility elements like rubber, straps and futuristic silhouettes. With a fashion spin, natch!
Art is self-expression—and self-expression is style, making style an art form, no? Whatever you believe, an artistic approach is seeping into fashion as of late. In 2022, this will blossom into prints that are quite literally Impressionist-style paintings, plus creative cutouts, architectural jewelry and more.
From prints that might as well be hanging in The Met to avant-garde brushstrokes and geometric shapes, art-driven patterns are an easy way to integrate this aesthetic into your wardrobe.
Cutouts aren’t all about sex appeal like they were when this trend spiked a few years back; this time around, they’re intriguing and unexpectedly-placed, so lean into the element of surprise.
Intricacy is key; the latest in jewelry has an architectural ‘wow’ factor. So yes, we’re retiring the thin gold chains we’ve been wearing since 2019! Or at the very least, layering them with something more wow-worthy.
When we think about ‘personalization’ in fashion, our minds jump straight to monogramming. While that’s not necessarily ‘out’ per se, we’re now looking to campy jewelry and repping local businesses as a way to show our unique interests. This macro-trend is a great way to show off your personal style in a subtle-but-striking way.
Whether it’s charm bracelets, pendant necklaces or even belt charms, charm jewelry that feels reflective of our interests (as if you picked the trinkets yourself!) will become a go-to for showcasing personal taste.
Shopping small and local is more important than ever; don’t be afraid to seek out smaller designers, independent shops and even that coffee place with the cute merch!
Personal Interest Motifs
Motifs, whether they be printed on a hat, a sweatshirt or even a handbag, are a quippy way to show off your interests. No, we’re not reverting back to prep-school monogram necklaces, but don’t be afraid to put your stamp on something.
The night is when it’s truly time to shine—literally. Whether you’re opting for high-glam metallics and feather-trimmed heels or taking a more sultry approach with lingerie-inspired looks, the after-dark aesthetic is where you can truly branch out and take risks.
Influences from the bedroom are making their way outside with corsets, lace-up details, and suggestive silhouettes trending. When it comes to dressing them down, layering for a touch of modesty is key.
Even if you’re a self-proclaimed minimalist, now’s the time to step outside of your comfort zone with metallics, feathers, voluminous sleeves—just do the most!
It’s undeniable that there’s a flirty feeling in the air, and our style choices are definitely reflecting it. Rock that bodycon you’ve been eyeing, throw on some fitted leather pants and feel confident in the sexiest of silhouettes.