Since the election of President Trump, the ensuing 2017 Women’s March and the emergence of the #MeToo Movement, designers have used fashion to share messages of female empowerment. Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri, Prabal Gurung and Rebecca Minkoff are among the high-end designers to show their support for feminist fashion with items like Gurung’s “This is what a feminist looks like” statement T-shirts.
Now, designers are taking that message of strength and power one step further with collections that play with gender codes, suiting and formal wear.
WGSN describes the movement as put-together looks that counter “fashion’s mass casualization” in its Spring/Summer ’19 report, “The Return of Power Dressing.” “The feeling of power that comes from investing in quality tailoring and a good pair of shoes seemingly can’t be underestimated,” WGSN said.
Case in point, the rise of the loafer. The man-tailored shoe is the sole footwear trend to break out in a category that has otherwise been dominated by performance and lifestyle sneakers. And in some ways, WGSN said the return of smart office attire—for work or casual settings—may be an indicator that consumers may be willing to give up their creature comforts like active wear and sneakers in favor more formal and classical designs.
Laidback suiting paired with T-shirts or sandals, effortless blazer bodysuits and pleated front slouch trousers are among the casual-meets-work must-haves WGSN is betting on for next spring. Meanwhile, youthful skirt suits with checks, knot and tie blouses with exaggerated details and wrap dresses, worn alone or over other garments like turtleneck tops, are updates to modern workwear.
In turbulent times, WGSN said consumers also seek a sense of joy, which is exemplified in key party items for Spring/Summer ’19. Satin and all-over sequins decorate party dresses and separates. Velvet pajama suits toes the line between comfort and dress, while slinky peek-a-boo frocks bring an element of ’70s glam to party dresses.
“Proof that, just as suiting up is a fitting reaction to the stresses of social and economic uncertainty, something a little lighter and more fun has its place too,” WGSN said about the party looks.