I am so excited about 2022’s summer trends. The overarching mood on the S/S 22 runways was one of real optimism, but where the previous season perhaps went into overdrive with the desire (desperation?) to get dressed up for even the most low-key of weekly grocery shops, the outlook for summer is that there is a time and place to be extra fabulous but still a strong demand and a necessity for easy, simple, luxurious, gorgeous clothes and outfits you can fling on in a hurry. There are places to go, people to see and the many ensembles to suit. So while on the one hand there’s a very clear shift toward a revealing, ultra-sassy, cut-to-here-and-slashed-to-there kind of dressing, there’s also a very chic, understated antithesis at play. It speaks to a modern shopper’s whims and natural inclination to change one’s mind. Some days you might channel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in a classic, all-beige getup and others more Dua Lipa in a rad minidress and stacked platforms. We are complex characters, and our wardrobes, and favorite brands, must keep up.
As fashion expert Lianne Wiggins, head of womenswear at MATCHESFASHION.COM, explains, we are living through “the anything-goes mood of now,” which means that the old tropes of things being “in” or “out” is in itself redundant. It means you can be as wild and adventurous as you like with your spring trends or, indeed, as basic as can be. Sit in the middle? Me too. Every personal style can be catered for in the summer 2022 fashion-trend lineup.
It was invigorating and inspiring to see runway shows return (almost) to normal, and “fashion moments” were plentiful, playful, and highly shareable, and as such, a few went viral. Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia merged a runway and a fake movie premiere celebrity red carpet to celebrate the arrival of a new collection. In addition, the brand created a fashion take on a Simpsons episode. Gucci took over Hollywood with a runway chocked with high-profile friends of the brand in extravagant costume-inspired pieces that wouldn’t look out of place in a 1940s blockbuster. Chanel’s ’90s supermodel–inspired collection saw endless Instagram posts capturing sashaying models in monochromatic bikinis. Fashion fun was clearly back on the menu, and it was served up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Tom Ford alluded to a theory behind the more outré collections when he told Vogue Runway how Instagram has changed the game and made many people focus on how clothes translate into imagery, saying, “Photogenic clothes today by their very nature mean that they are not at all timid,” and he was one of many designers to dive headfirst into loud colors, revealing cuts, and high-shine finishes, all of which live very comfortably on screens and in a digital world of dress-up. In fact, one could draft the following as the blueprint for spring/summer 2022’s showier half: Loud! Bright! Daring! Revealing! If it’s not turning heads or garnering likes, it’s clearly not extra enough.
As influential as runways are, trends are not solely born on them. There was a clear direction coming from Gen Z and their social media platform of choice—TikTok—to be seen across the shows in New York, London, Milan, and Paris. Youth is still currency in fashion circles but not necessarily in the same way as before: You don’t have to be young to be hip, but you sure as hell can steal the outfit ideas and reference points of a younger generation. The nineties, noughties, and even the 2010s have been plundered for inspiration, with many looks echoing the fashion choices shared on the likes of both TikTok and the coolest Depop resellers’ accounts. No brand did it more authentically than Blumarine: The brand was known for its kitsch-cool back in the day, and now the look is ironically reflective of the archive. Looking for that denim butterfly top you owned in ’99? Or how about those low-slung Miss Sixty–esque jeans? This brand is the ringleader for every person aspiring to that aesthetic and with unashamed dedication, too.
But there’s more! So much more, which is why we couldn’t narrow it down to a main trend or two but instead have found 16 key looks, pieces, details, and ideas that create the most important summer 2022 fashion trends, with expert insight to back them up.
Keep scrolling to see the summer 2022 fashion trends hot for the season ahead.
In fact, some of the most raved-about spring/summer 2022 shows (when I looked in real time on the handles of fashion insiders—particularly buyers) skewed toward this more minimalist and understated approach. Peter Do’s debut runway during New York Fashion Week was one that many an expert got behind and really set the tone for a new wave of get-up-and-go outfits.
“Versatility and ease are more important than ever, and this can be achieved with basics with a twist, modern classics, and muted tones, all of which are the vital pieces every wardrobe needs to help elevate the simplest of looks,” says style expert Libby Page, senior market editor at Net-a-Porter. “We’re seeing our customers invest more in quality basics and timeless pieces that can be worn for seasons and even years to come, so when those pieces have an additional quirky element, they’re sold! Our favorites for summer 2022 include Peter Do’s maxi shirt, Jil Sander’s yellow boxy blazer, and Victoria Beckham’s oversize shirt in mellow blue.”
These stacked shoes, sandals, and boots were everywhere, from casual collections like the breezy bohemian look at Chloé to amped-up ranges like Versace’s fun-fun-fun going-out looks. From foam-bottomed Velcro sandals and thick-soled flip-flops through to strappy, metallic, high-high heels, there’s a little lift to be had, no matter what your personal preference might be.
On the fancy, OTT end of the spectrum, there is one new brand in particular that fashion editors, stylists, and buyers are all keen to tell you about. D’Accori’s sculptural, extra-high platform sandals—particularly the Belle style—have already been chosen by the likes of Dua Lipa, Ariana Grande, Doja Cat, and Lady Gaga, so we expect this name will be everywhere in summer 2022.
Who What Wear UK editor Emma Spedding is sold on the addition of maxi into her summer 2022 wardrobe: “The Givenchy black slip skirt is perhaps the coolest—it’s simple but looks like something Gwyneth Paltrow would have worn in the ’90s so has lots of cool points. Pair with a white T-shirt and chunky sandals, and you have an effortless, elegant summer look.”
Lyst confirms the concept and can already see the rise in interest: “Short hemlines might be defining the current season, but maxi long lines are coming in hot for the next one. ‘Oversized’ and ‘maxi’ are already amongst the most popular keywords when looking at dresses, and we predict that the trend will continue in the coming months.” And as such, the trend is already filtering into stores, particularly when rendered in pull-on ribbed jersey and knit options, which act as an easy base for creative layering and cool tops or jackets.
Holly Tenser, buying manager of ready-to-wear at Browns, says, “We love a good era revival, and this has to be one of my personal favorites of late. Y2K fashion brings back so many strong memories and references throughout the music and pop-culture scene of the late ’90s and ’00s. We have some incredible new brands launching for spring/summer 2022, which really encapsulate this movement, such as Poster Girl, with their iconic cutout shapewear and mesh party dresses, as well as Kim Shui’s collection that referenced pop culture throughout and encouragingly presented strong body inclusivity down the runway. We recently launched firm favorite Knwls and love her incredible leather bustier styles and printed minidresses with matching printed leggings. We’ve also seen the return of low-slung cargo pants and bootleg or loose, oversize denim from super-brands Balenciaga, Balmain, and Tom Ford through to contemporary designers such as Wandler denim and Agolde.”
“We love how the Y2K trend has put Gen Z firmly on the map as key shoppers and the future of fashion. But also not forgetting the burst of nostalgia that comes with each low-slung waist and plush miniskirt from the other generations revisiting the trend a second time around!” says Page. “This is a trend we are certainly backing for summer 22, and we can’t wait to launch two incredible new designers, LaQuan Smith and Supriya Lele—they are ones to watch if you’re into diamanté-rich bodysuits and super-fun asymmetric cutouts.”
Valentino was one of the brands most committed to the idea, with vibrantly colored pieces covered entirely in matching ostrich feathers—even the accessories matched, which is indicative of how many of us will tap into the look. Feathered shoes and bags feel more approachable than a full, peacocking ensemble. Although, I’m certain we’ll see more and more of this finish in fashion circles.
As this trend lends itself very well to occasionwear, we predict it will make a big play for the wedding guest looks of 2022. However, there are more casual options available too: Right now, on Instagram, you’ll find simple, feather-trimmed shirts or jeans playing a very normal part of day-to-day wardrobes and the aforementioned Sleeper pajamas continually selling out.
Across the runways, we saw outfits that harked back to proper school uniforms. Think V-neck knits, pleated skirts, socks, loafers, and plain white shirts. Raf Simons and Miu Miu led the pack, with Raf’s take more grunge and scruffy and Miuccia’s sassy and stomach-baring. Both are rebels, and the concept here is to take the pillars of the uniform and turn them on their heads.
There were sporty looks for track-and-field types too, with rugby shirts and cricket sweaters making multiple appearances. Meanwhile, Dior created a series of simple black-and-white ’60s-infused looks that felt like school costumes from an old French movie and were therefore as cute as can be. The trend has a wide range of options for all personal styles, but it’s a look that never really fades away and makes for a safe investment.
One of my favorites within this niche trend came thanks to Hedi Slimane for Celine. His puffball-skirted floral dress looked oh so easy to fling on by adding in box-fresh sneakers and a cropped jacket—it is a formula that could really work on the streets of London, and I hope to see it replicated IRL.
The addition of puffball hems isn’t solely tied to dresses and skirts. The detail works well for a nice-top-and-jeans pairing, a combination that has proven to be extra popular all year long and won’t be fading out any time soon.
The concept comes in many forms, from sheer fabrics to cutout everything, shrunken silhouettes to formfitting body-con pieces. There’s netting and lace, bra tops, and miniskirts, and many are balanced out by oversize tailored or flat, chunky shoes to give a modern, laid-back spin. “A stalwart detail of the sexed-up theme, cutouts have seen a 57% increase in tops and 143% in dresses YoY,” Edited tells me. “Another element synonymous with sexy, sheer materials has increased 7% versus 2020. Retailers have evolved their assortments, so tops are 45% of sheer investments, down from 54%, while dresses are 26% versus 22% YoY. We can expect this trend to be more commonplace in spring 2022 partywear assortments, following iterations of see-through dresses shown at Saint Laurent and Missoni.”
“In terms of the new sexy dressing, our customer is a leader—she dresses for herself and she’s very empowered,” says Cassie Smart, head of womenswear at MATCHESFASHION.COM. “This is also about body confidence; the season’s co-ords emphasize your best features with a focus on new erogenous zones, such as shoulder cutouts, which feel body-friendly. There’s also a lot of … using fabrics that flatter all shapes in an effortless and approachable way.” And as such, it was refreshing and exciting to see many of these looks showcased on the runway with non-straight-sized models as well as seeing pieces configured into really nonchalant looks (see Prada’s knit-and-mini above), proving that revealing skin or dressing in a super-sassy way is not just for the ultra-slim or the showoffs out there.
Luxury brands that are well-known for their branded goods, such as Louis Vuitton, have pushed into new territory with different fabrics, such as this intricate cutout LV monogram overlay. Many of the most important designer bags of this year also feature recognizable logos or, at the very least, a branded clasp, so if you own something along these lines, you’re already tapping into summer 2022’s big handbag trend.
In terms of silhouettes, you’ll see an increase in supersize totes and shoppers for summer 2022, both inclusive and exclusive of this particular logo trend. Although smaller crossbody styles are still very popular and highly practical, our lives have required bigger, chuck-everything-in bags over the past 18 months, and so it’s no surprise that it will continue into the future.
There is a no-holds-barred approach for 2022’s bohemian set. The more accessories, the better, and the more dedicated to the look you can be, the more it carries off. This isn’t a case of simply nodding to a trend but trying to live it, and if the travel opportunity presents itself, then take it. Otherwise, these clothes will happily exist in towns and cities regardless.
“We’ve always been very passionate about craftsmanship,” says Smart. “Our customer is looking for authenticity and really connects with artisanal design. At Chloé, Gabriela Hearst is putting the spotlight on craftspeople and drawing attention to global artisans. This product doesn’t feel driven by trend or time; it feels collectible.” In fact, it is Gabriela Hearst—both within her eponymous line and that of the French fashion house—who is really spearheading this movement toward slower, artisanal fashion and how ethical and consciously produced clothes can still be highly covetable.
There are multiple iterations for two-, three-, and four-piece co-ord looks, ranging from loose-fitting trousers with cropped jumpers through to ribbed cycling shorts worn with open shirts. There are long dresses over skinny pants, ladylike cardigans and pencil skirts… In essence, a co-ord exists for you and you alone. You simply have to hunt it down. One of my favorite and the most interesting-looking offerings came from ACNE Studios, with this scalloped and net-like knit miniskirt and long-sleeve cardigan: It has Instagram grid written all over it.
“The appeal of a co-ord is that it looks put together and polished however is as comfortable as wearing a tracksuit and requires little to no styling,” says Spedding. “Next spring, there are some subtle styling tweaks, such as unbuttoning cardigans to reveal a flash of skin at the midriff and a spin on a skirt suit with matching cardigans and skirts. Elleme’s ribbed knit cardigan-and-shorts set is the chicest one I’ve seen.”
“I didn’t wear a white dress when I got married, but I fully intend on embracing spring/summer 2022’s bridal vibes,” says Who What Wear UK’s acting assistant editor, Maxine Eggenberger. “White dresses dominated the runway in just about every way you can think of—tulle, crochet, linen, satin—and in every length, making for a spectacle in its purest form. Whether you choose Erdem’s whimsical ruffles, Et Ochs’s sultry cutouts, or Rodarte’s lace-trimmed slip, you’re sure to find your frock soul mate in the latest collections.”
With the concept of the “bridal wardrobe” (that’s a range of different looks for your big day, weekend, or any other length of time) on the increase since restrictions eased, wedding-friendly options in many forms are a clever bet for designers looking to explore different retail categories. The behavioral shift also extends to the concept of renting out your old bridal look as well as hiring pieces to bulk out your celebratory capsule. Additionally, some brides are keen to rewear their own wedding ensembles for other occasions, and the above Molly Goddard–approved combination of trousers layered under a flouncy white dress provides an offbeat and cool option.
“I know the word timeless is bandied around a lot in fashion, but really, you don’t get more timeless than a blazer. At the time of writing, I estimate that I own around 10 blazers, with each one possessing its own unique personality. This is why I, unsurprisingly, fell hard for 2022’s oversize-blazer trend, coveting the styles that were sent down the runways of Balenciaga, Prada, and Sportmax,” says former Who What Wear UK shopping editor Joy Montgomery. “While they look undeniably chic when worn loose with matching trousers, I personally love the effect of cinching an XXL blazer with a belt and adding slim-fit trousers. My husband’s tuxedo blazer fits the bill nicely.”
As previously noted by Lyst, the word “oversize” is cropping up more and more on its shopping app, and you can also see over on Google Trends that since 2018, searches for “oversized blazer” have been steadily growing, reaching a peak at the start of the autumn/winter 2021 season. They played a big part in the runways for autumn and look primed to be just as pivotal for spring, the primary difference being that where trouser suits were leading the way, the oversize blazer is now a statement piece in its own right or can be worn as a dress.
“With Dimitra Petsa’s wet-look dresses making a wave amongst celebrities and numerous brands, including Richard Malone, Rick Owens, and Loewe showing more sculptural pieces in their 2022 collections, we expect that spring will be a season full of draping details,” says Lyst. Lizzo, Gigi Hadid, FKA Twigs, and Khloé Kardashian have all chosen Petsa’s wet-look dresses, but if that feels a little extreme for day-to-day wear then there are plenty of options rendered in thicker and more modest fabrics. You can wear them for occasions like weddings or the races, but they can be just as easy to throw on for a day at the office.
Although many iterations of this trend revolve around stretchy fabrics and body-con fits, there’s also a more avant-garde route you can take with artfully constructed looser pieces, like silk tops or billowing skirts.
“Resortwear is such a feel-good department; it just makes you want to permanently be on holiday, instantly evoking great memories of time in the sun. It was great to see so many brands moving into this world and announcing their place in this category by presenting bikinis and the like on the runway,” says Tenser. “We saw bikinis, bras/bralettes, and cutout bodysuits dominate with new updates, moving away from the soft comfort of the cashmere bralettes of the last few seasons from brands such as Khaite and Alanui. These new fresh iterations were strong, sexy, and daring, with soft bondage-style strap details from Nensi Dojaka, Knwls, and Givenchy. “
Although the majority of bikini tops featured on the runways were black and as simple as can be, there were some sweeter options available too, such as this candy-pink version worn with a gingham skirt suit at Michael Kors Collection. This look also reflected the variety in moods that can be connected to this one, teeny tiny piece of clothing. Will it take off for real? We’ll just have to wait and see…
However, that’s not to say some designers didn’t have a really fantastic time experimenting with fringe! London’s leading lights seem to really adopt the detail with great enthusiasm: Roksanda’s artsy knits were all the more fascinating and exciting for the giant, colorful threads that adorned them, while Halpern—a brand known for deft sequin usage—switched gears to an explosion of tassels to create dresses worthy of a spot in a gallery.
What this trend taps into is our yearning to feel fabrics again and have tactile experiences. After months and months of shopping online, the excitement of touching these kinds of clothes is high. Additionally, it’s these complicated fabrics that are establishing a distance between true luxury goods and the fast-paced churn of knockoffs, as it’s very difficult for affordable brands to create pieces to this kind of level.
This post originally appeared on Who What Wear UK.