I’ve decided it’s time to look at the Spring 2018 key trends for ageless style. It’s always a good idea to peruse the new trends early so that your eye has time to adjust before the clothes hit the shops. In theory it should be an easy thing to do because there are so many images from the Fashion Week catwalks. However when you’ve worked with high street retailers for as long as I have, you know that the looks you see on the runway will not be reflected in the shops. There will be elements that come through from high end design of course – but when the major retailers create their ranges, they aim to apply their understanding of the everyday woman and what she will actually want to wear.

This tells you why some retailers are more successful than others. It takes a blend of both right and left brain thinking to interpret something that is so creative in a strategic way. Retailers need to gauge how many seasons it will take for a catwalk look to filter through to the mainstream. It ought to work out as a logical exercise based partly on past proven success and partly on hunch. However in my experience it usually ends up in a showdown between the fashionistas and the merchandise experts and the team with the loudest voice (or biggest ego) wins. Anyway, I digress. What I want to do today is some topline analysis of what’s coming and adapt it to workable looks.

Before we start, the important thing to bear in mind is that we have already seen the big shift. Autumn 2017 was when the major changes that had been floating around the catwalks for a few seasons filtered down to the high street and were embraced by a lot of women.

A recap of 2017’s big move on

I covered the major new looks in my Autumn/Winter 17 trend post. You may remember that in my view, the biggest change was the silhouette. Autumn 17 was when a lot of women finally started to move away from the skinny jean towards a straighter cut (so of course the more fashion-forward promptly moved from a straight leg to a wide leg crop – it was ever thus). Dress hemlines became longer and asymmetry ruled. Necklines were higher; long, statement sleeves were everywhere. In terms of shoes and boots, toes were pointed and heels were low but kitten sharp. Jewellery focused on the statement earring and the colour of the season was pillar box red.

It was a huge move on from the skinny leg / loose top / bare shoulder / short skirt / body con dress / chunky heel / statement necklace combo that ruled before. In fact it was a seismic shift. I think we’ve all caught up with it now, so, just as we’ve got our breath back, what’s next? Well the good news is that the sartorial quake is over and there aren’t too many aftershocks. Spring 2018 is more about consolidating the Autumn 17 trends with some minor adjustments. Let’s go through them.

Spring 2018 key trends for ageless style

Spring / Summer 2018 Colours

You’ll have seen the usual hoo-ha about Pantone announcing that ultra-violet is the colour of the season. I wouldn’t take it too seriously if I were you, Pantone often get it wrong. Last season they told us that we would all be wearing green. In reality, the dominant colour turned out to be red and although green was around, it not only lagged behind red but also yellow, blue and pink. I suspect that we will see shades of purple coming through this season but my prediction for the high street is that blue will be strong and that it will be layered in different tones and shades.

Why does mainstream reality differ from predictions? Because even though esoteric colours like ultra-violet may be present on the catwalks, when it comes to allocating budget, the people who control apparel’s market share (i.e. the large retailers) choose safer trend colours to circumvent the risk of a large end of season sale. It doesn’t take a genius to know that ultra-violet isn’t the easiest colour to adopt. If anything, I think it will be stronger for Winter 2018 when people have had time to adjust.

If you want to know which colours will really dominate the shopfloor, The Trend Council is a better bellwether than Pantone because that’s the resource that the retail industry turns to before placing orders. This is the Trend Council’s core Spring Summer 2018 palette.

Spring 2018 key trends for ageless style

I have certainly seen the blues and yellows in early collections, I suspect orange will come through as we move into high summer. So having looked at the key densities, what other colours will we see around? The magazines are giving us two strong paths to follow. The ‘new’ story for Spring / Summer 18 is ice cream pastels…

Spring 2018 key trends for ageless style

Image credit: Vogue Spring 2018 trends

… they’re pretty but the risks are high if you’re aiming for ageless style. Get it wrong and you could end up looking very ‘mother of the bride’. In my opinion, an easier route to take is the super bright trend for Crayola colour blocking. Older women often carry strong colours better than they realise. They can help to counteract fading hair and skintones…

Spring 2018 key trends for ageless style

Image credit: WWD 5 biggest trends 2018

It is so much easier to do block colours in summer than winter because you have bare legs so you don’t have to worry about tights. Plus there’s no stress about what colour coat to wear on top. And of course if the head to toe look is too strong for your tastes, we’ve already talked about how the season’s strong colours are coming through in the trend for rainbow stripe detailing:

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Stripe detail breton; striped cashmere jumper; frill detail blouse; stripe detail breton

Graphics and patterns for Spring 2018
Love and rainbows

Rainbow stripe detailing brings me on to the season’s key motifs. Last summer you may remember there were lots of lightning bolts along with a general nostalgia for 70s’ graphics which came after the death of Bowie. Autumn brought stars as we allegedly all looked away from earth’s troubles towards the heavens.

At the same time, love was a key theme as we tried to make this troubled world of ours a happier and more caring place. This theme is continuing this season as we discussed last week. You will see the word love as a slogan in different languages along with the new graphic stamped and infilled heart. Longer slogans are appearing too and the big trend is for embroidery rather than print as you can see on this jumper which will be coming into stock at Hush on 13th February. It’s one of my new season favourites and I’ll give you a nudge as soon as it arrives because I think it’s going to sell through quickly. (By the way the text is green – maybe Pantone just overshot the mark)!


Love saves the day jumper – coming soon to Hush (gifted)

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Rainbow love jumper; Rainbow heart jumper; ‘amour tout court’ breton (I would translate this as ‘only love’); sequin heart sweater; charcoal heart border jumper; graphic love breton (more stock here); Love red sweatshirt

Continuing with the theme of upbeat graphics we see the introduction of the rainbow, not only as stripes but as a motif. Hush is leading the way again with beautiful glitter rainbows coming in on 13th February.

Spring 2018 key trends for ageless style

Rainbow jumper coming to Hush on 13th February

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Embroidered rainbow knit; rainbow dog; charity rainbow t-shirt

What else is on its way for Spring 2018?
  • Stripes in duotones (e.g. blue and white, red and white…) will also be strong. I’m noticing that as well as horizontal stripes there are a lot of vertical stripes and chevrons popping up as well, often in clashing directions on a single garment.
  • Spots and polka dots are on their way back too, I’m seeing lots of spotty shirt dresses and Parisian-style wrap dresses for summer.
  • Florals continue to be key. They’re still blowsy rather than ditsy and as with the stripes, there’s lots of pattern clashing going on.

Spring 2018 key trends for ageless style

Mixed pattern dress

  • Dresses continue to be modest (see above) with sleeves, high necklines and midi-length skirts with detail at the hem.
  • Blazers are ‘boyfriend’ style rather than fitted.
  • Jeans are either straight or wide but either way, they’re cropped.
  • Denim will be strong, deep dye indigo is coming back and will be very dominant when we get to autumn ranges.
  • Shoes – the kitten heel will be key this season and embellishment continues
  • Trouser-suits are a key look for the rest of this year and pencil skirts that fall below the knee are prominent.
What’s the statement?

Every season there’s a detail that seeks attention. This year on the high street it’s looking like the balloon sleeve which is a practical move on from last year’s statement sleeve… all of the volume but none of the pasta disasters.

Spring 2018 key trends for ageless style

Balloon sleeve jumper

Oh and big earrings are also sticking around for another season so necklaces will continue to play second fiddle. If you haven’t already adopted the trend, the easy way in is with a simple pair of large gold or silver hoops.

Other trends coming through

These will hit the high street this season but I think I’ll probably swerve them (of course that doesn’t mean that you should):

  • Bumbags (or fanny packs in the US). I wasn’t a fan of them last time round either.
  • Sequins and crystals – I love sequins but tend to keep them for Christmas or evenings (my friend The Sequinist would blanch at that statement)
  • Vinyl – as in glossy flasher macs and part of the 80s revival. Actually I may well be converted by these, I’ve always fancied a black vinyl mac, let’s see.
  • Fringing – cowboy style, on jackets, bags and boots. Just not my thing.
  • Plaid and checks – I wish I liked the large Prince of Wales checked blazers but I prefer plain as always
  • Shorts for both work and weekends, spaghetti strap slip dresses and dominant, oversized logos

So, there you have it, a whirlwind introduction to the season. As the new collections arrive, I’ll be looking for the sub-trends, the precocious details that are a more subtle interpretation of designer looks. Isn’t it great to feel that winter’s starting to turn? There’s a glimmer of light in the sky when I wave the boys off in the morning and today the birds were singing. Spring is my favourite season and I’m absolutely determined to relish it this year. However… before that, Mr MC and I are heading off on a winter adventure – I’ll tell you all about that on Friday.

Disclosure: “Spring 2018 key trends for ageless style” is not a sponsored post

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