Spring might not yet be in the air, but it is on the horizon — and that means the spring/summer 2023 fashion trends we saw on the runways six months ago are about to be in full bloom. After the dark days of winter, ’tis the season for revival and reinvigoration, so we’re expecting our outfits to follow suit. If you can’t quite remember what was happening on the catwalks late last year, we don’t blame you. We’re also here to help by refreshing both your memory and your wardrobe.

Ahead is our list of the biggest fashion trends that spanned the shows from New York to London to Milan to Paris, all of which can finally be integrated into your wardrobe. While not every one of them is big with a capital B, (spoiler alert) the blazers and the handbags actually are. And whether it’s embracing your inner Lara Croft in this season’s amped-up utilitarian attire or transforming yourself into a human disco ball courtesy of party-ready metallics, fashion is giving us plenty of opportunity to have fun. But where to begin?

We’ve assembled the key pieces, colours, accessories, and aesthetics to kick things off this spring with your most stylish foot forward. By that we mean in a pair of dazzling ballet flats or metallic cowboy boots, but more on that below.

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Pleats please

If last season was all about ruffles, then spring/summer 2023 is for the pleats. We spotted pleated dresses, skirts, trousers, blouses, ball gowns and even capes at the likes of Adeam, Huishan Zhang, Chopova Lowena and Peter Do.

Printed mesh

Designers are still fascinated with revealing what’s underneath, with airy layers of chiffon wafting down the runways. For a more practical take on the trend, opt for printed mesh separates.

Pearl jewellery

‘Tis the season of Mermaidcore. How better to incorporate some fantastical, sea-siren energy into your wardrobe than with a pearl-encrusted piece or two?

Statement maxi skirts

According to Brandon Maxwell, Valentino, Jil Sander, and Ulla Johnson, the maxi skirt has arrived to rival last spring’s ubiquitous micro mini. Featuring floor-grazing hems, ruffles, sparkles, prints, and even pockets, there’s an extra-long skirt style for everyone (though denim takes on this trend are stealing the spotlight).

Fancy ballet flats

Step up your 2023 shoe game by slipping on your favourite flats from the early aughts with a high-fashion edge. Be it pointy-toes or classic ballet flats, these nostalgic styles are back and better than ever with rhinestone embellishments (Nensi Dojaka), daring mesh detailing (Emporio Armani), and sharp silhouettes.

Drop waists

Not ready to give up last summer’s corset styles just yet? Then the curve-hugging, drop-waist dress trend — à la Gabriela Hearst, Carolina Herrera, and Sandy Liang — is for you. With waistbands falling just above the top of your hips, this torso-lengthening look comes with the sculptural appeal of a corset and the added bonus of a bottom half that’s loose and flowing.

Shades of purple

A recent trend report from Worth Global Style Network found that the colour purple is an increasingly popular choice among young shoppers who appreciate its gender-inclusive allure. We spotted the trending hue in a variety of ways at the SS23 shows, with Adam Lippes opting for a very light lilac, Prabal Gurung going for lavender, and Tibi trying out plum and orchid shades. For bold dressers interested in the sheer styles that also dominated the SS23 runways, choosing a dark purple see-through piece is a great way to adopt this daring look without feeling totally exposed.

So much silver

There is no shortage of designer inspo (Sacai, Gucci, Valentino, Paco Rabanne, Chloé, Simone Rocha) and styles (mesh materials, metallic accents, sleek and shiny fabrics) for those who wish to shine bright in this standout trend. Celebrities already got a head start at this year’s Grammy Awards with Harry Styles in a silver fringed jumpsuit, Mary J. Blige in a cut-out silver dress, and Alex Scott in a silver halter-top ensemble.

All things utilitarian

The wild rise of the cargo pant has ushered in an era of utilitarian style more generally. This includes all kinds of baggy pants, durable fabrics, boiler suits, and pretty much anything with pockets. Designers like Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Sacai, Burberry, Koché, Isabel Marant, and LaQuan Smith have given this trend their stamp of approval, sometimes with a colourful or silky twist.

Very big blazers

This spring, big blazers mean big business. The oversized take on the wardrobe staple is reflective of an industry whose rules have become more flexible and easy-going in recent years. Breezy styles from of-the-minute brands like Khaite and Rejina Pyo prove that the boxier, the better; on the high street, COS is our go-to.

Metallic cowboy boots

With Taylor Swift’s epic Eras Tour kicking off in the US and Harry Styles making his way back to the UK with another leg of his Love on Tour this summer, it’s not surprising that a party-ready version of the classic cowboy boot is making waves — it’s become a staple for fangirls’ gig-ready outfits. According to Koché and VTMNTS, this is a runway-approved trend too.

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

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