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Top 2020 Fashion Trends

Retail Indulgence
Nadia Malyanah

As a brand-new year in an entirely new decade beckons, perhaps a new wardrobe update or refresh might be in the cards for some of us as well?

Interestingly, the new 2020s have often been likened to the previous roaring 20s of the 1900s and some notable fashion trends for 2020 such as loose silhouettes are seen as a throwback to those yesteryears – albeit with a renewed and modernised take.

While we may not be here to tell you what’s out for the year, we’re certainly telling you to be on the look-out for these following trends:


Statement Sleeves

Statement sleeves have been big for the past two years and set to continue trending even bigger this year. Decadent and dramatic in all iterations whether billowy or ruffled or puffed, statement sleeves may seem a little intimidating to work with beyond the runway lights. However, a fool-proof way to make it less over the top (pun intended) is to pair such blouses with your best pair of jeans and keeping the rest of your look fairly simple.

Sustainable or ‘Slow’ Fashion

As one of the most polluting industries in the planet, fashion now has a hard task of balancing conscious consumerism while delivering the novelty of newness that it is so often associated with. Even mass-market fashion brands such as H&M via its Conscious line are incorporating sustainability into their business practices as well as innovating their products into being more environmentally friendly by incorporating natural dyes, fibre and fabrics in their manufacturing processes. Another brand spearheading such efforts is Reformation: they’re equally famed for their celebrity favourite-dresses, and the use of deadstock and upcycled fabrics in their clothing items. Consumers now have many methods of getting into sustainable or ‘slow’ fashion, depending on what one’s fashion personality and buying habits are. Vintage-shopping and thrifting are fairly good options for those trying to kick down the shopping habit a notch without having to compromise on style and - in the case of thrifting - savings. Higher quality vintage garments also tend to have a longer lifespan compared to modern fast-fashion garments. While they may not be cheap due to the ethical practices & sources involved, buying locally made brands or items are also a good way to shop sustainably as these clothes require much less energy and waste to produce and deliver. Meanwhile, clothes-swapping and renting may also be attractive to those wanting the rush of new clothing sans the long-term commitment and the closet space. The year 2020 may now see more consumers hopping onto the bandwagon of sustainable fashion.

Polka Dots


Polka dot items may have always been a wardrobe staple for decades, but the timeless quality of this pattern also means there’s always a big revival bound to happen every few years – and this year is one of those. Spotted all over the runways of Carolina Herrera, Gucci & Marc Jacobs this spring, a splash of colour – of the bright or pastel sort – in the background fabric elevates this classic into 2020. Regardless, one can never go wrong with a shirt or a dress in classic white dot on dark fabric pattern: if you haven’t acquired any yet, this year will be a good time to get one.

Sheer Fabrics


A maximalist take on minimalism, chiffon and tulle fabrics are often utilised to create airy looks on the runway. While these elaborate looks seem a bit too flashy off-runway, adventurous dressers might want to pair that sheer dress with a white t-shirt and their best pair of jeans for an elevated version of the model off-duty look. Sheer shirts remain the most wearable: opt for lined ones or add a silky camisole for a more work-appropriate look. A bolder option would be to go unlined and showing off your best innerwear, with high-waisted bottoms to pair.



Suiting is here to stay, and there seems to be no wrong way to wear one in 2020. The deconstructed suit trend is still going strong – popular takes on the look include wearing oversized suit jackets without pants, or styling suit jackets with crop top or bras underneath. Not what you’d fancy? Other innovative ways to pull a suit without looking corporate are suiting with Bermuda shorts, or knitted tops underneath a blazer in place of a boring white one. Another striking new addition to the trend for 2020 is to add a waistcoat for a dapper look, with the option of wearing it alone or underneath your blazer.

Looser Silhouettes


Perhaps taking cues from the body-positivity movement, the suiting trend is also reflective of more brands eschewing ‘flattering’ cuts and pivoting to boxier, more oversized silhouettes. Androgynous, gender-ambiguous fashions leaning into these design philosophies are also being popularised by many young celebrities of the moment such as Kristen Stewart and Harry Styles, the latter of whom luxuriously tailored and brightly patterned Gucci suits have now become his signature look.

Throwback-era styles

Fashion is cyclical in nature, and the next two years in fashion will see the revival of many throwback-era styles such as the 60s and the 70s but updated for 2020. A particular trend that has already made its way beyond fashion week is the revival of bell-bottoms and flared pants. While going minimal and accentuating your other wardrobe essentials is one way to nail this particular look, another take would be to lean into the vintage feel by mixing it with accessories from the decade’s past such as printed scarves and platform heels. Split, or contrast hems are also a good way to show off your excellent footwear, if that’s your thing. Yet a crucial thing to remember in nailing these looks in 2020 (and to not look like someone playing costume) is to give these items a modern twist.

The maximalist florals of the 60s are also coming back in a big way as seen on the red carpet – think of Taylor Swift’s Oscar de La Renta dress on the Cats premiere red carpet, as well as her Etro dress at this year’s Golden Globes. While florals aren’t necessarily the most ground- breaking thing on runways – particularly spring ones – floral-on-floral looks are back in as seen at Isabel Marant. More is more and mixing your floral patterns together are a way to update this trend for 2020. These florals will also be brighter, more vibrant and appear to be more abstract.

Neons and Fluorescents Galore


These extremely bright colours are here to stay and will probably be incorporated the most into spring and summer collections. While striking and bold to wear on its own, the question of what colours to wear with, or alongside them, is a pretty interesting one to tackle. A pairing of neons and fluorescents with dark colours are to be expected, yet it might still be too striking for many. A possibly game-changing approach to this is to pair them with softer, muted pastels. As seen at pre-fall Valentino, Rag & Bone, and Phillip Lim 3.1, for example, the ultra-bright lemon shade is now paired with neutral trenches and easy-going trousers instead of being utilised as an accent colour.

Shades of Sunsets and Rust


Multiple hues of yellow, orange, pink and browns (akin to a sunset) have been the standout colours of choice in runways showcasing 2020 pieces, so expect to see more items in these colours in stores near you. Some strikingly lovely shades showcased include peach-pink and tangerine as seen at Alice + Olivia and Tanya Taylor, while marmalade and neon orange were the standout shades at Bottega Veneta and Prada respectively. An easy method of incorporating these standout shades gradually into your daily wardrobe is by acquiring a fail-safe staple such as a tailored single-hued shirt, or a pair of classic pumps.

Classic Blue

The American colour company; Pantone - also the authority on colour, if colours decided to have one - has chosen Classic Blue as its colour of the year and it would only be fair to include this on the list as well. This rather unassuming and inoffensive shade of blue is what most people would call cobalt or royal blue - think the blue of the NASA logo, or the European Union flag. However, this shade has also given some of our best pop culture moments of the last decade such as Kate’s (the now-Dutchess of Cambridge) engagement dress and her many subsequent blue dresses in the lead up to her marriage as well as a Roman Originals dress (‘The Dress’) that went viral online for the ambiguity involved in perceiving the actual colour of the dress. Many viewers of the photo of The Dress online had perceived the item as being white and gold in colour, when it is actually black and blue in reality. Dependable and timeless, this shade is fairly versatile for both the bold and the play-it-safe fashionistas as well as being suited for all occasions. Classic blue can be worn on its own - as seen at Demna Gvasalia’s Balenciaga show - or with a combination of other colours.

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