The Tried and True Trends of 2016

12 concepts that hit critical mass this year

Trends happen fast. Bombers are everywhere now, but they also seem like they’ve been around forever. Can we even rightfully call bombers a trend anymore, even though you can’t deny their predominance? With that in mind, it didn’t feel like the needle moved that much this year in terms of trends.

Hoodies, puffers, the ‘80s, and old-school logos were some of the other no-surprise-here ideas we saw blow up in 2016. Combining those trends, I imagine someone in an Adidas Originals logo tee layered with a hoodie worn under a puffer coat. Add in an ‘80s twist, and style-wise, you’ve basically got a member of Run DMC. I digress. Here, we break down the trends that hit critical mass this year.

1. Bombers

Paging captain obvious. To fashion folks, it feels like the bomber was already accepted into the “new classics” fold a while ago. However, 2016 was the year the jacket style—for both men and women—went mainstream. Internet searches for bomber jackets were reportedly up 612 percent in 2016. Now that’s viral. And since they were hot in the streets, they remained hot on Fall 2016 runways, like those of Vetements and Givenchy.

2. Off-the-Shoulder

Sorry to say it, but off-the-shoulder tops have officially fallen to the wayside. Now even basic bitches have latched onto the trend. But they had a great run all the way through the Spring 2017 shows, where the style was ubiquitous in the streets—and on runways, including Altuzarra and Self-Portrait. Soon, it was also ubiquitous at state school sorority parties. Just saying…

3. Chokers

The ‘90s look has been reverberating with youth culture for some time now, and this year’s astronomical rise in choker popularity was just one example. Some went for thin ribbons; others opted for bondage-inspired styles. They’ve been championed hard by the Insta-famous set, including It girls like Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Emily Ratajowski, and Caroline Vreeland (seen here). Chokers were still going strong on the Spring 2017 runways, making appearances at Dior and Rodarte.

4. Slip Dresses

Another trend to file under the ‘90s craze. Slip dresses were everywhere on the Spring 2016 runways. Then designers layered them over long-sleeved shirts for Fall 2016. And they’re still pervasive for Spring 2017, as seen in the movement toward lingerie or sleepwear-inspired looks.

5. Pink 

From Glossier ads to Mansur Gavriel boxes, the color pink—or “millennial pink,” as they’re calling it—has taken over the marketing world. It’s progressively taken over the runways, too. Gucci showed a monochromatic look in head-to-toe bubblegum for Fall 2016. By Spring 2017, pink was positively everywhere, in every shade: CélineBalenciaga, Valentino, Boss, and more hopped on board. All of this is no small feat considering pink was once considered too girly-girl or tacky and associated with the likes of Paris Hilton, for example. Now, pink feels all grown-up, and even a touch feminist, no?

6. Over-the-Knee Boots

Yeezy does them. Phoebe Philo does them. Demna does them. Rihanna’s done them for Fenty x Puma and her epic collaboration with Manolo Blahnik, not to mention she rocks them both onstage and in the streets. Over-the-knee boots (often worn in lieu of pants) took over the footwear market this year. They were on runways from Jacquemus to Hood by Air. Meanwhile, retailers pushed them equally hard. To be honest, I don’t often see real women wearing OTT boots, but maybe that’s something bound to change over time.

7. The ’80s

After years of the 1960s and ‘70s dominating the runways, fashion has officially moved on to the ‘80s. The trend started during the February shows with a few key designers including Jonathan Anderson and Hedi Slimane (in what would be his final show for Saint Laurent) leading the way. Then, references to the “Me” decade came hard and fast for Spring 2017. We saw all sorts of ‘80s flashiness at BalenciagaGucci, and Anthony Vaccarello’s new Saint Laurent. The Kenzo for H&M collection had some serious retro cache, too. As for how wearable this look actually is, the jury remains out. Regardless of what decade we’re in, shoulder pads still look pretty silly most of the time IRL.

8. Robes

It was almost uncanny how many robes we saw—both on the runways and in the streets—during the Spring 2017 shows. Even though fashionable pajamas have been around for what seems like forever, this season’s overnight explosion of robes (worthy of Hugh Hefner or The Dude) caught me off guard. Alexander Wang showed a luxe white mink version. Bouchra Jarrar nailed the sleepy chic look at her Lanvin debut. And impressive newcomers like Attico—the brand from Italian style stars Gilda Ambrosio and Giorgia Tordini—also took up with silky robes for evening this season. Celebrity influencers of the trend include robe-friendly Rihanna and all the duster-obsessed It girls (Kardashians, Gigi, Chrissy Teigen et. al) styled by Monica Rose. 

9. Puffers

Leave it to the unstoppable Demna Gvasalia to take something undesirable or neglected—like the puffer coat—and make it the cornerstone piece of the entire season. That’s what the wunderdesigner did with the red portrait-neckline puffer he sent out at his Fall 2016 Balenciaga debut. Designers from Stella McCartney to the Public School boys at DKNY also went crazy for the quilted ski-meets-street staple. Then street style stars couldn’t resist draping the hot-ticket item over their shoulders during the balmy Spring 2017 shows. The things we do for fashion.

10. Hoodies

What hasn’t been said about hoodies this year? They’re yet another feather in Gvasalia’s hat. He’s been doing them for several seasons now at Vetements, and caused a riot when he designed one that read “justin4ever” (another noteworthy print cribbed from Tumblr: “May the Bridges I Burn Light the Way”). After that, Justin Bieber’s “Purpose” tour merch quickly became sizzling hot with the fashion set. Of course, we’re used to Rihanna running around in an oversize hoodie worn like a dress, with thigh-high boots—a look she’s also featured at her impressive first two shows for her Fenty x Puma label. And you better bet people are paying upwards of a grand for these now-sold-out designer hoodies.

11. Old School Logos 

Calvin Klein sparked the renaissance of old-school branding with its logo underwear and #mycalvins campaign a few years back. Since then, we’ve had the pleasure of seeing throwback collections from brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Guess (a collab with A$AP Rocky), and Fila. After becoming popular in the streets, we saw logos have a trickle-up effect to high fashion runways. Influential menswear designer Gosha Rubchinskiy reworked Fila logos for Spring 2017. Gvasalia has made a killing with his Champion-inspired Vetements sweatsuits, and Alexander Wang launched a new Adidas Originals collection at his Spring 2017 show.       

12. Bonus Trend: It’s Political

Anna Wintour was already wearing t-shirts with Hillary Clinton’s face on them in February 2016. Marc Jacobs donned a similar screened tee to take a bow after his Spring romp. During the Spring 2017 collections, you’d see showgoers left and right wearing pro-Hillary garments (many DIY). Among the fashion community, support for the Democratic candidate was nearly unanimous—and people weren’t afraid to wear their heart on their sleeve. In Paris, Maria Grazia Chiuri made waves at her Dior debut with a simple white t-shirt that launched a thousand blog posts. It read: “We should all be feminists.” And so, fashion is inherently political, and politics are inherently chic. 

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