don’t say i didn’t warn you: 2020 trend-watch

ten key trends to keep your eye on in the coming year

The first few weeks of a new year are perfect for sitting around and making and breaking resolutions. But it’s also the time to start thinking about what trends are going to be coming along, and whether or not you’ll be embracing them. It may seem counterintuitive to be planning what you might want to wear in spring when all you want to do is curl up in a giant sweater and call it day. But fashion moves in a slightly different space/time continuum that actual life does, so it’s best to be prepared.

I try not to live under the beck and call of fashion’s whimsy too much, but I do like to know what’s going on, and deciding early on what, if anything, I’ll be incorporating into my existing look. I’ve been noticing a few trends bubbling under fashion’s surface for a while now, and I’ve picked the 10 that I think are going to be the big movers in 2020.

Read on to find out what they are, and what my thoughts on them are.

monochrome/tonal dressing

if you haven’t already embraced Celine Dion as a fashion goddess, 2020 needs to be the year you do.

Last winter the street style trend that took over all the various fashion weeks was dressing like a stick of butter. And it is exactly what it sounds like, creating an outfit only out of shades of cream and very light yellow. It gives a chic, minimal look with relatively little effort. 2020 is gonna see the simple formula of dressing in one colour family expand to the whole rainbow. The key is to play with shades and textures. You don’t want to be all one colour, you want to be variations of that colour. Pair your fabrics: knits with leather, denim with satin finishes, or linen and silk. The colour palette is simple so use texture to give your look some depth. This is an easy way to look pulled together and like you give a shit. It’s also probably achievable with things already in your closet. You don’t need a million different layers, just a few items will give you the look. A dress and shoes in a similar colour, or trousers and a shirt. If you want to go all in I’d suggest a suit, shirt, shoes, and overcoat in the same colour story. Any colour is viable, but it’s going to be most noticeable and striking if you avoid black.

textured fabric

subtle quilting from Shop Future

The past few years have seen a resurgence of romantic and period shapes, thanks in large part to Molly Goddard’s smocking and tulle heavy designs. This has paved the way for more tactilely pleasing textures to come back into fashion. 2020 is going to have plenty of floaty romantic micro pleats and even more smocking than the last few years. But it’s not going to be all girly and floaty. Look for more utility inspired pieces too, like the quilted chore coat trend that is taking over Instagram. I know this look can seem overwhelming at first, so start small. A romantic top paired with simple jeans and boots is a good start. Or invest in a quilted or tapestry inspired coat in a muted colour. It’s a look that can easily be incorporated into looks you already wear – you don’t need to go full Villanelle.

possibly the most famous of all Molly Goddard’s dresses

shorts suits

This is something that has been on my personal wish list for a while now, and I predict we will be seeing a lot of shorts suits around by spring and summer. The casual suit has been around for a few seasons now, and the blazer trend shows no signs of stopping so this seems like the next logical step. Just about every designer sent a version down the runway, ranging from classic and tailored like Chloe’s version, to the candy coloured preppy versions that Marco De Vincenzo showed. This look is calling out for bare legs with sandals or mules, so consider your summer event dressing sorted. With tee shirt and low sandals for casual needs, or paired with a sexy sheer shirt and heels for a summer wedding.

knit sheath dresses

Modern 90’s vibes at Helmut Lang

This is a relative of the 90’s slip dress trend that has come back around, but a little bit more minimal and grown up. Think Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, and we all know what I think about her style. This is another style that will be best in spring and summer, as you don’t want to burden it with too many layers. The dress itself can be quite a statement, so I suggest dressing it down with trainers and a denim jacket. It would also be a great candidate for the monochrome trend, paired with a jacket and shoes of the same colour.

low-rise trousers

how Bella Hadid did it

Guys, we can no longer deny that we live in a world where low-rise trousers have made their way back into the mainstream. And I am the first to admit that I don’t know how I feel about it. I held on to the trend for longer than most, but I am now fully on board with a higher rise pant. But I do believe that low rise serves a purpose. I love the look of of low slung slouchy pant with an equally slouchy top tucked in. Having rocked the visible-hip-bone-sticking-out-the-top-of-my-jeans look pretty consistently in my youth, I will be cautious this time around. My main problem with these is that I haven’t been able to figure out how I would want to wear these. The trend is definitely here, but right now if feels like a trend for the sake of it, rather than something that has come back around naturally. Is it a trend worthy of being worn, or just another box to check on the 90’s-are-back list? As I said, the low and slouchy pant is always wearable, but jeans are harder. I am not ready to go the low-rise with a crop top route, but wearing a longer top seems pointless. Why buy into the trend just to cover it up? It’s not a hard no, but the key is going to be a perfect fit to make this trend wearable.

Kat Stratford showing us how it’s really done


how Miu Miu did it

Here is another trend that I may not be officially on board with, but can’t not mention because cardigans are already back y’all. And they are back in a very sincere and wholesome way. This is not a modern take on a cardigan, or a fun reimagining, these are preppy, grandma cardigans being worn by fashionistas. I’ve seen some people wearing more chunky versions, or doing nifty styling tricks like crossing it over and tucking it in rather than buttoning it, or wearing it backwards. So there are options if you’ve got to get a piece of that hot cardigan action. But I for one will be sitting this one out.

once again, Kat Stratford showing us how it’s done

knee-high boots

Darja Barannik in a swashbuckling take on the look

Alright guys, now we are cooking with fire. This is not only a trend that I can fully get behind, but one I have actually already invested in it myself. Ankle boots have reigned supreme for a while now, but knee-high boots are poised to make a big return this year. Look for the straight shafted pull on version, not something with zippers, and a chunky heel; you want this to be wearable day to day. Look for a style and colour that is going to mesh seamlessly with what you already have, as this is a very versatile item. Right now I’m wearing mine with with midi skirts over the top, or a pair of skinny jeans tucked in. Come spring and summer I’ll be pairing them with slightly shorter skirts to show off a bit of leg. For those ready for something a little more advanced and directional, wear the boots with slightly bigger pants tucked in so that they balloon a bit over the top. I promise you, this musketeer look is going to be everywhere in 2020.

my take on the look

sunglasses chains


This is another trend that I am already seriously invested in. I first started noticing chunky plastic chains while I was in Japan at the end of summer. Then lo and behold Gucci sent them down the runway, and they are now poised to become the next “it accessory”. I dropped some not so subtle hints to my mom about it, including sending her an inspiration photo, and she came through with a beautiful chunky (faux) tortoiseshell chain for Christmas. I can guarantee I’ll be wearing it all the time once the sun comes back to Denmark. Wear the whole thing, chain and sunglasses, like you would a statement necklace; and it’s going to look the best in the late afternoon at an outdoor bar with a Campari spritz.

not Gucci

the 70’s

something about making it after all

If in reading all these trend predictions you felt that there was unifying theme running through them, you wouldn’t be wrong. The 70’s are coming back in a big way, and many of the trends above are taking quite a lot from the decade. The sunglasses chains, knee-high boots with midi skirts, unusual suiting options, thick textured fabrics and yes, of course the low rise jean all owe a lot to the decade. However in translating 2020’s take on the 1970’s I would suggest looking to The Mary Tyler Moore Show as your style guide. The independent working woman style that both Mary and Rhoda presented is exactly the sort of 70’s vibe you should going for. It’s a bit more regular than rock and roll, but will still look chic as hell in the world of today. Just do me a favour and don’t let your style guides get in the way of a true friendship.

do you have some sort of businesswoman special?

sustainable fashion

Yes, I know I harp on about this all the time, but in terms of trends this is quite actually the most important one around. It feels almost silly to include this a round up of style trends, since it needs to be so much more than a flash in the pan fashion fad. We need to see both people and brands embracing and committing to sustainable fashion as a lifestyle choice. Wearing what we already have, shopping smarter and buying better, and looking for second hand options before buying new are the best ways to embrace this trend. But as of right now it is a big and buzzy word, so you can definitely expect to see well known big brands putting some money into the concept. Obviously every little thing helps, and seeing big brands embrace the ethos will go far in normalising it. But the best thing you can do is wear what you already have, and make sure every item bought is a considered purchase. I’ve written up the rules I use when I shop so I know I’m not making any rash decisions, so check those out if you need some guidelines. And also every single trend I’ve picked out as being big in 2020 has already happened. So try to thrift some of these vintage trends first. Who knows there may still be a pair of my old low-rise Levis hanging around the Santa Cruz Goodwill!

heading out on a shopping mission!

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