The 30 Best Fashion Trends of 2018
Meet your wardrobe for 2019—and beyond.
So maybe you didn’t pay attention to what was happening in fashion this year. Who can blame you? Fashion is fickle. What was once “in” is now “out,” and unless you really enjoy following the runway shows of New York and Paris or the street style trends of Milan and Tokyo, it can feel like a chore to stay on top of the latest and greatest in style.
But while trends certainly come and go, there were plenty of looks (for both men and women) in 2018 that we’d love to see stick around. So, without further ado, here’s everything from the year that was that you can (and in fact should) wear well into 2019—and beyond.
After years of distressed, ripped, studded, and otherwise embellished denim, the return of traditional dark jeans (on both men and women) is a welcome one. Any weekend outfit feels polished with the addition of crisp bottoms.
Short sleeved button downs are officially cool again. Any color works, but they’re especially popular in cheeky, retro prints. To rock the look yourself, look for something like this camp-collar shirt from Mr P ($175), pictured above.
You could call it fashion with a conscience. “So many of the bright colors that faux fur is now being shown in are popping,” notes Helena Apothaker, store director at Decades. Adding a hit of style to any outfit with a faux fur jacket has never been easier.
“We’ve finally moved away from skinny jeans,” notes Patrick Kenger, an image consultant at Pivot Image Consulting. This is especially true for guys. “You now has some breathing room. We’re embracing larger fits that don’t squeeze the leg. Many designers have gone overboard with this, and runway models are swimming in their pants. If you want this look, keep it simple. Go for a classic straight fit as opposed to something slim or skinny. Make sure there is a very minimal break at the bottom of your pants.”
“A Chanel jacket is always trending. And with a pair of jeans and a tee shirt, what is better?” Apothaker says. Incorporate this tried-and-true texture into any outfit for a touch of class.
Dress shoes and loafers aren’t the only option for fancier outfits. This year, we saw the boots with suits look make it into the mainstream. Especially during the colder months, this is a welcome development.
“Carhartt, Dickies, and Levi’s take the lead on this trend,” says Catherine Bachelier Smith of CBS Lifestylist. “It’s practical, comfortable and durable. End of story.”
“Leopard print is back in a big way this year and I am hoping this is a trend that sticks around,” says Colleen Babul, stylist operations manager for Snap+Style Business. “It can instantly elevate your look by adding interest and edge.”
Men no longer have to stick to the just-above-the-knee length for shorts. This year, shorter lengths came into the mainstream, allowing guys the flexibility to experiment with style and proportion during warmer months.
Pearls are trending majorly in jewelry, and it’s a perennial class you won’t be sorry you invested in decades from now. Try the staple versions—stud earrings and ladylike necklaces—or go for something a little more modern, like pearls set inside architectural hoop earrings.
High fashion went camping this year, and the result is some surprisingly versatile footwear. Outdoorsy, lug-soled, shearling lined boots are now acceptable to wear in a variety of settings—a welcome development if you live in a colder climate. And if you’re looking for a pair, check out these 8 Hiking Boots As Invincible As They Are Stylish.
Swimsuits with high-cut leg openings were all over Instagram in 2018, and this is a trend that doesn’t just look great on supermodels. Regardless of your shape, high-cut bottoms elongate the legs and highlight the backside.
“Camo won’t die,” notes Ryen Anderson, a Stitch Fix style expert. But that’s actually a good thing. “It’s showing in traditional camo, brush-stroked camo, and even animal camo. Colors tend to be traditional, washed down, or some variation of gray. This print can be worn by everyone. From apparel pieces to accessories, camo can be incorporated into any piece of your wardrobe.” For a fresh take on the patter, check out something like this grayscale bomber (pictured) from Descendant of Thieves ($125).
Higher rises for women made a lasting impact in 2018. “But, only go for it if it is appropriate for your proportions,” Apothaker recommends. In other words, if high-waisted pants make you look frumpy, don’t feel like you have to switch.”Dressing for your body is also always trending.”
“Personally, I love this trend,” Kenger says. “It’s a great way to spice up an item of clothing. If you want this look, go in on a pair of trousers.”
“We saw stripes across the board in 2018,” says Maria Jacobs, a Stitch Fix style expert. “For spring/summer, stripes paired with bold colored accessories—yellows, greens, corals—and in fall/winter, we were loving striped tops with our favorite blazers. One of the most versatile patterns, stripes actually are flattering for every body (even though you’ve probably heard otherwise).”
A little bit of sparkle goes a long way, and this year’s version of metallic was sequin. Compared to the liquid metallics of years past, sequined dresses, tops, and even jackets feel fun while remaining relatively subtle. Keep it to one sequined item per outfit to avoid going over the top.
“Sherpa is showing up both in outerwear pieces from outdoor brands, as well as in trims and linings in more casual brands,” Anderson says. “Comfort is king for men, and sherpa adds a soft touch while staying on-trend.”
“This is another ’90s trend that came back in full force in 2018,” Babul says. “I love this trend because it is perfect for the girl on the go.” Wear it around your waist (not over your shoulder) to avoid looking like you’re trying too hard.
“Performance (stretch, wicking, et cetera) fabrics are showing up in casual clothing (not just active) making men’s daily wear work better with daily life,” Anderson notes. “Guys now can get all the benefits of their active clothing while still looking polished and put together.” For proof, gents, check out these 8 Running Shirts As Stylish As They Are Cooling.
“I love this trend because adding variety to your otherwise skinny jean wardrobe is brilliant,” Smith says. “They’re still flattering and definitely comfortable.”
“In 2018, boho was back in a big way,” Jacobs says. “Rich textures, neutral tones, embroidered details, fringe, tassels, and dreamy florals worked their way into many of our wardrobes. These ultra-feminine details, found in apparel, accessories and even shoes, can elevate your style from head to toe.”
Bike shorts in active materials—like this pictured option, from Something Navy ($39)—are an option for both workouts and weekend casual looks alike. Not only are they comfortable, but they’re easy to style with sweatshirts, t-shirts, and even blazers.
“Suiting is moving away from solids to be more plaid-driven,” Anderson notes. “There is definitely more of a party happening in men’s suiting, also showing up as velvets and fun prints. With different plaid styles and loud colors, men can express their personalities through fashion—something we see them doing more and more.”
“Basics are often the foundation of extremely fashionable choices,” Jacobs points out. “Ever wonder why a woman looks great in a white button-up, skinny jeans, and heels? Looking and feeling great is so tied to how clothes fit—and in 2018 we saw that fit was the number-one priority when it came to keeping items women love.”
Previously relegated to holiday-wear only, velvet is now a year-round staple. Whether it’s on a statement-making smoking jacket for men or everyday ankle boots for women, this plush texture brings a but of luxury to any outfit you wear it with.
“I love this trend because it’s easy,” Smith says. “Really easy. Everything about your outfit is neutral in color and then you have a great pop of red, yellow, or blue pair of socks to add ‘oomph’ to the look!”
Though they’ve been in rotation for years, fashion pros were happy to see this trend stick around in 2018. “Showing off ankles is subtly sexy,” Smith says. “Cropped wide or narrow jeans show off fun shoes and give your look some additional sex appeal.”
Though they skew a bit bohemian, smocked, ruched tops are incredibly figure-flattering on a variety of shapes thanks to the visual interest the texture provides. For maximum style, pick something in a bright red, like this cherry crop top, from Reformation ($148).
For both men and women, long is the way to go when it comes to outerwear, and we’re here for it. Stick with classic textures like wool and cashmere, but you can’t go wrong with any color or pattern that suits your style. And for more fashion from the year that was, This Retro Men’s Style Trend Is Back and Exactly Zero People Are Happy About It.
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