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2023 Fashion: Wrapped

As 2023 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on and deconstruct the year’s most popular fashion trends. From the runway to the streets, the past 12 months have witnessed an eclectic assortment of nostalgia and chaos, with seemingly little rhyme or reason for such fads. However, it’s no secret that the influence of TikTok on young people is accelerating not only the emergence, but also the extinction of such fashion trends. Whilst some looks this year, therefore, may be here to stay, it seems as if the majority have died out almost as quickly as they were ignited.

One of the standout trends of 2023, the resurgence of which may point to the debut of Miu Miu’s F/W 22 show, is ‘ballet-core’, a whimsical fusion of ballet-inspired fashion elements. On the runway, this can take the form of pastel, sheer chiffon and puff-sleeve looks by designers such as Simone Rocha and Zimmermann. However, the filtration of this trend into everyday wear, encouraged and paraded by fashion icons like Ruby Lyn, sees garments such as ballet flats, leg warmers and even tutus and ballet cardigans exhibited in everyday wear. Whilst for some this may be reminiscent of traditional girlhood and femininity, ballet-inspired fashion has been depicted through many forms of media, from Black Swan to the opening credits of Sex and the City. Having in fact been an influence on the fashion world since 1941, when fashion editor Diana Vreeland first launched the idea of ballet shoes as everyday wear on account of their lack of wartime restrictions, it is possible that this trend is not as fleeting as it initially appears. Although tutus may not become commonplace, it is arguable that more subtle allusions to the ballet-inspired aesthetic, such as lace, wrap-tops, tights and Margiela Tabis may be here to stay. 

On quite the opposite end of the spectrum, and potentially initially sparked by the 2022 World Cup, comes the interesting and rather unexpected conflation of sport and femininity to create the ‘blokette’ appearance, the term of which was coined by Alexi Alario. A look which combines garments such as frills and bows with sportswear, particularly Adidas and football scarves, this has been pioneered by trendsetters like Bella Hadid. With this trend, comes the classic revival of Adidas Samba shoes. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely witnessed the comeback of variations of the Adidas Samba, Spezial or Gazelle shoe. These versatile and timeless shoes have been a go-to choice for so many this year, especially in their bold colour combinations of yellow, blue and red, indicative of the experimentation and expression of 2023. 

Speaking of colour, whilst many argue that a colour in itself cannot be a trend, there’s no denying the prevalence of red through 2023. From pops of red in accessories such as bags, tights and socks, to full monochrome such as that which saw Doja Cat adorned with 30,000 crimson Swarovski crystals for Schiaparelli during Paris fashion week, this colour has dominated the fashion landscape, adding vibrancy and passion to contrast the pastels of ballet-core. 

Perhaps similarly embracing this flair, the ‘pantless’ trend has taken the fashion world by storm and has seen Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber in the streets ditching their lower half and opting for options such as tights, hot pants, or boxers. Personally, however, I have to say that I have not witnessed this in everyday wear, and nor do I think I will. Whilst fashion icons have embraced this playful and rebellious look, challenging conventional expectations and encouraging a carefree attitude towards fashion, its impractical nature makes it unlikely to break into the mainstream. 

As we bid farewell to 2023, the current fashion landscape reflects a perplexing amalgamation of versatile trends. Looking forward, this eclectic hodgepodge of styles raises the question of whether these looks will transcend into 2024, or remain rooted in the departing year.

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