The runways have spoken, and the ’90s are back. So are the ’80s. And the ’70s. There are also a couple fashion trends that can’t be traced back to any particular decade, but are covetable nonetheless. Confusing, I know, but designers like Chanel, Gucci, and more declared everything from power shoulders to micro-micro bags a thing, and we’re convinced we need it all. We also tapped Nordstrom’s creative director Ruth Basloe to help weigh in on her favorite styles, with shopping tips on how to get the look now.
See which designers made the cut in ELLE.com’s Fall 2019 trend guide, here.
Itty Bitty Bags
“A small, structured style in a new shape is the statement bag of the season,” said Basloe. “We recommend combining two handbag trends by choosing snake print or croc-embossed leather, which are also big.” If you wanna go even smaller, the next “big” bag trend is teeny. Meet The Bitty Bag. TBB is an impractical accessory that holds approximately one Airpod, but the absurdity is part of the charm. Jacquemus created a meme sensation, but designers like Salvatore Ferragamo, Chloé and more can provide a little inspiration.
Make Way for Millennial Purple
2018 was all about Millennial pink, but everything is coming up purple this fall. As seen at Rodarte and Tom Ford, the orchid hue is all the rage. You can opt for an all-over color (“We loved the head-to-toe, monochromatic looks at Balenciaga and Jacquemus,” Basloe said), or you can easily work in a touch of lavender with your accessories.
Every Good Superhero Needs a Cape
One of the strongest outerwear silhouettes to come out of the Fall 2019 collections was the cape. Chanel gave the capelet the tweed treatment, Marc Jacobs showed one in Leopard, and Hedi Slimane’s second collection for Celine made the best in basic. The many variations prove the heroic cut works for every occasion.
Put a Feather…Everywhere and Anywhere
Instead of feathers and fur weighing you down, designers are giving the texture a lighter touch. Valentino delicately edged their dresses in a wispy trim, and Proenza Schouler showed a feather-backed top that looked as if it would blow away with a soft breeze. We’re especially fond of Prada’s collection of feathered goods, including a pair of boyfriend jeans trimmed in ostrich that will amp up a basic white tee.
Designers seemed to mind meld around suit styling: it’s all about the belt. Blazers came with built-in cinchers at Prada, and Marni contrasted gray suits with heavy chains. Follow their lead and nip the waist on all your suits, oversized and otherwise. The best part about this trend is that you don’t need to invest in the jacket—simply buy a cute new belt and style it accordingly.
Slip Into Satin
Break out your steamer, because satin is back in a big way. Versace brought back their ’90s satin dresses, updating them in neon hues with contrasting lace edges. Christopher Kane, Off-White and Brandon Maxwell also got on the satin trend with bright evening wear that is more than your average slip. The silky look makes sense for formal events, but make it work for an average day at the office with a button-down shirt.
Slashed, Asymmetrical Necklines
If you’re on the fence about off-the-shoulder silhouettes, this asymmetric neckline is a nice compromise. Carolina Hererra’s slouchy, lopsided shoulder is effortlessly put-together; an “I just threw it on” vibe.
Get your giant turkey legs out, because the Renaissance has come to the runway. Vaquera presented square necklines so good you’ll climb down a balcony like your name is Juliet Capulet. It’s not too literal, though. Y/Project reinterpreted period dressing using a similar cut, but updated it with a body-skimming silhouette covered in a modern print.
Coats With Super-long Hems
After looking at all the fall 2019 collections my coats started to feel so…short. Tory Burch, Max Mara and others presented longline coats that will provide extra warmth this winter. These longline coats aren’t your typical lightweight dusters either. Instead, find them super structured and made of heavy wool. Basloe agrees, noting that fall is all about the statement coat. “A coat with some kind of drama is a must-have for fall,” she said, suggesting a bright yellow puffer that skims your ankles.
Designers must be bored of beanies, because they presented all kinds of wacky toppers for fall. The standout style belongs to Maria Grazia Chiuri’s bucket hats at Christian Dior, sure to be a street style staple. Get ahead of the trend now with our current obsession, Burberry’s heritage plaid bucket hat.
Quilted patchwork was all over the runways, seen below at Louis Vuitton and Oscar de la Renta. It’s a ’70s trend that could have gone very wrong in the redux, but luckily. these looks are thoroughly modern. Take Tory Burch’s must-have boots, which look thrifted in the best way possible.
The Patagonia Effect
Last year belonged to the puffer, but 2019 is all about a different kind of performance fabric: fleece. We saw the trend start with Sandy Liang’s Insta-favorite jacket, but designers like Fendi are ramping up the luxury, reworking the outdoorsy staple in leather. Of course, Patagonia remains the (very affordable) OG, but don’t sleep on the latest reincarnations of this campy style.
We spotted a ton of uniform inspiration on the fall runways: polo shirts, sweater vests, and three-piece sets. Thom Browne made an empire reworking schoolboy suits, and Victoria Beckham and Lacoste are taking notes. Specifically, designers are mad for plaid. “Checks and plaids will be everywhere this season,” Basloe noted. “There were so many exciting ways designers reinvented these classic patterns for fall, from brightly colored tartan at Marine Serre to Chanel’s graphic black and white houndstooth, and more.”
I wear gold jewelry daily, but the runways served up full looks dipped in 24k. Brock Collection’s gilded gown will stand out at a black tie event, but take direction from Altuzarra for an everyday look, who justifies a casual shine with metallic knits.
The ’80s is a difficult decade to pull off (I’m convinced acid wash will never make a full comeback), but power shoulders are back. All the major fashion players like Saint Laurent and Balenciaga are advocating for the a wide-shouldered, slim-waist silhouette. They make me want to ask for some kind of Business Woman Special.