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Cozy Fabrics and Utility Top This F/W 20-21 Buyer’s Checklist

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The Fall/Winter 20-21 season has already kicked off on the runway, revealing new approaches to comfort, utility and performance-inspired fashion. And now it’s time for buyers to make their move.

In recent webinars with Informa, Melissa Moylan, Fashion Snoops vice president and Michael Fisher, Fashion Snoops’ vice president and creative director for men’s wear, shared the key items, colors and prints buyers need to know before they walk the show floor at this week in Las Vegas at Project, Project Women’s and WWDMAGIC.

Here’s a snapshot of their recommendations.

Women’s

Midi lengths

The midi-length silhouette has been growing each season, Moylan said, but expect it to reach fever pitch as brands offer a wide variety for F/W 20-21. Midi-length pleated skirts, pencil skirts, long-sleeve dresses, slinky slip dresses and sweater dress are among the items to watch.

Utility

The allure of utility continues to offer women’s wear a functional and cool alternative to basic outerwear and jeans. This time, the trend is updated with voluminous shapes. Oversized Trucker jackets and long-sleeve coveralls with large pockets are denim items, Moylan said. These utility shapes are translated to other garments like down-filled parkas, baggy-fit cargo pants and oversized belted boiler suits.

Grosescu Alberto Mihai/Shutterstock

Street style

Cozy

The trend for furry outerwear and teddy-bear fabrics is trickling into new types of cozy garments for F/W 20-21. Loose sweaters with broad necklines and sweater dresses made with high-pile fabrics are among the new ways to tempt shoppers with comfort.

Minimalism

Inspired by the simplistic shapes and need-based function known in Dutch design, Moylan said to look for pieces that exude the look of modern minimalism but with a craftsmanship feel. High-rise rigid jeans with a button-fly, straight-leg cropped jeans with contrasting top stitching and the denim jacket, redone as a cropped utility style with oversized patch pockets fit this theme.

Terracotta hues

To capture the feeling of pottery and craft, add retro orange, golden yellow, brown and rust red—a departure from the deep cherry reds in past seasons—into women’s wear assortments. The colors fit into the ongoing ’70s trend, while also touching on nostalgia for ’90s skate culture.

Dutch design inspires women's fashion trends for Fall/Winter 20-21.

Chloe

Long lines

Button-less overcoats, tunics with extra-long sleeves and elongated blazers are among the languid pieces that are altering women’s silhouettes for F/W 20-21 with elegant long lines.

Ribbed knits

A key item for layering, ribbed knits add a retro look to this season’s long jackets and workwear. And retailers have plenty of options, from ribbed sweater dresses and turtleneck tops, to second-skin base layers that take cues from activewear.

Natural elements

The environment is top of mind for ethical and sustainable fashion brands. It is even inspiring the season’s color palette and prints. Earthy shades of green, blue and purple—from majestic to dusty sunset shades—are becoming increasingly important. Mineral swirls, brushed markings and supernatural surfaces add texture, while atmospheric and molten dye effects are key for denim, Moylan said.

Feminine tops

Statement tops with puff-sleeve details made with “diaphanous chiffon materials” are among the romantic items Moylan said should be on the radar of fashion buyers. The sleeves feel softer and more feminine than the ’80s-inspired sleeve detail that is currently in the market. Satin wrap tops with tie details and denim blouses with oversized bows are an extension of this girlish trend.

Tech

The dark side of science is inspiring technology and science motifs in women’s wear. Wavering lines, orbital swirls and windowpane check are updated with neon color. Meanwhile, holographic and shiny surfaces are a fun novelty in coated denim and outerwear like puffers and parkas made with lightweight technical fabrics.

Men’s

Traditional prints

In a sea of sameness, traditional prints like plaids, argyle, tartans and Fair Isles stand out, Fisher says. The key, he added, is to look for styles that create a sense of surprise, like unexpected colorways or a bold clashing of prints.

Trucker jacket

Trucker jackets are a mainstay in men’s wardrobes, but this season brands are giving men reasons to buy more. Jackets made with organic materials and natural dyes are an eco-friendly update to the classic piece, while metallic finishes, pintuck details, painterly prints and wax coatings make them a must-have fashion item for F/W 20-21.

John John

John John

Corduroy

Wide wale, relaxed-fit corduroy trousers with tapered legs are “cool again,” Fisher said, especially in rich jewel tones. The chunky, cozy fabric is a go-to construction for the flood of wide-leg trousers and relaxed, cropped pants that are changing the men’s silhouettes.

Transparency

Proof that fashion is increasingly becoming seasonless, transparent fabrications are making an unexpected appearance in men’s fall/winter collections. Transparent pants made with heavyweight mesh in dark colors provide an update to athleisure track pants, Fisher said. Lightweight nylon tee shirts add a tech-y look to layering pieces.

Dolce & Gabbana transparent shirt

Dolce & Gabbana

Unique blazers

Suits with personality—a trend that began in the women’s category following the “Me Too” movement—are trickling into men’s wear. For F/W 20-21, the possibilities for blazers and suiting are endless. Consider everything from quilted details, sport zippers and technical fabrics, to fuzzy textures, dark florals and tartan material mixing.

Cozy pant

The pull-on pant, made with chunky cable knits, is the new sweat pant. With cozy, at-home dressing going mainstream, Fisher said to look for relaxed bottoms and matching tops made with comfy knits, Sherpa and corduroy.

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