The concept of fashion aesthetics is nothing new to the trend forecasting industry. Seasonal style stories that often pop off on social media platforms like TikTok, they’re often the easiest way to communicate the cultural shifts that affect the way shoppers dress. But while 2022 was all about the coastal grandma and weird girl aesthetic, there are plenty of new style aesthetics to set you up for sartorial success in 2023. The best part: there’s truly something for everyone.
Looking ahead, the fashion landscape is showing a notable range for incoming aesthetics –– there’s a moment of fantasy that’s showing up through whimsical details like oversized bows and regal gemstones, as well as slinky sequin gowns and skirts fit for a mermaid (see: Brandon Maxwell, 16Arlington, and Bevza). On the other end of the style spectrum, we’re seeing practical and tactical trends taking off. For this, look to the resurgence of the perfect white shirt (a runway favorite at Tibi and Christian Dior), cargo pants, and new takes on clogs.
Ahead, discover the top five fashion aesthetics to keep on your radar as you build out your shopping list for the year ahead.
2023 Style Aesthetic: Whimsical Fantasy
Since Bridgerton brought back Regencycore, corseting, empire-waist dresses, and opera gloves have all come into play. While the year ahead will look different aesthetically — with an emphasis on tongue-in-cheek iterations that feel undeniably maximalist (think: Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette) — the affinity for opulence will continue to reign supreme.
In 2023, consider whimsy trends that would surely turn the head of any Duke: oversized bows, luxurious yet playful jewelry pieces featuring regal gemstones and pearls, whimsy silhouettes like the bubble hems and hoop skirts, camp motifs (like the Puppets and Puppets cookie bag), and garter-like waistlines.
2023 Style Aesthetic: Under-The-Sea Siren
Whether the result of increased travel in 2022 or the buzz around the new live-action Little Mermaid, the under-the-sea aesthetic (or mermaidcore) takes hold of our wardrobes in the coming year.
This iteration feels like a natural evolution to resortwear trends (matching sets, crochet, etc.) that feel equally sultry and effortless to be worn in the warmer months as well as the winter season. You can spot this aesthetic by the increase in bra tops, slinky maxi skirts (especially with ruching or sequins), mesh and lustrous fabrications like liquid shine (a la 16Arlington), the growing use of paillette sequins (note Cynthia Rowley and Valentino), pearl and shell embellishments, and cerulean blue color.
2023 Style Aesthetic: Classiccore
Who knew that a white tank top could cause such a stir? After Prada debuted a ribbed version in its AW22 collection, the humble base layer went on to become the most popular item of the season, worn by celebrities like Kaia Gerber and fashion insiders alike.
Well, that sentiment continues as our desire to invest in ourselves and our wardrobes becomes top-of-mind. This leans into the capsule wardrobe concept, high-quality staples that encourage versatility and sustainability over trends. On the more recent runways, the white button-down was key around the globe from Tibi to Christian Dior.
There was also an increase in suiting with fresh updates like pinstripes and a variety of waistlines, the introduction of elevated denim options like the sailor jeans, and nostalgic jackets such as the trench coat and varsity jacket.
2023 Style Aesthetic: Elevated Indie
Between indie sleaze aking over TikTok feeds and celebrities like MGK x Megan Fox, Olivia Rodrigo, and Sky Ferreira sporting items nodding to the aesthetic IRL, the resurgence of ‘90s grime and alt-centric-ethos of cool of the 2010s feels fresh in comparison to the overplayed early aughts that marked 2022.
But, let’s be honest, this isn’t the most wearable trend story as most offices likely won’t love you showing up to work with smudged eyeliner and ripped fishnets. Moving forward, we’re seeing elevated indie become the new standard — moto jackets and leather trenches per Khaite and Saint Laurent, acid-washed denim in grown-up silhouettes, and new and improved takes on ‘90s prints like herringbone and plaid.
2023 Style Aesthetic: Futuristic Utility
If you’ve been paying attention to the street-style scene in recent months, it’s clear that cargo pants are having a moment –– and the influence doesn’t stop there, with other practical staples like armor-like corsets and blazers featuring prominent pockets appearing on influential runways like Balmain, Coperni, and Dion Lee.
You can expect the utilitarian trend to go even further next year as the industry is taking a kitschy approach to translating “fashion of the future.” If you’re looking to lean in, try out hybrid shoes (sneaker-meets-hiker boot combos or platform clogs); utility-detail garments made from elevated fabrics like satin, silk, and iridescent fabrications; and wear-all jumpsuits.
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