Fashion Experts Break Down The Biggest Trends For Summer 2023

David Castro

We break down the seasons biggest trends, so all you have to do is shop.

There’s nothing more daunting than transitioning out of your winter wear and embracing high hemlines and relaxed silhouettes that come with summer dressing—especially when you’re not across the styles that have been dominating the Spring/Summer 2023 runways.

Indeed, deciding which sensible sandal not only works with your office-approved waistcoat, but also your long-lunch favourite midi dress quite the difficult task.

As Steve Dool, brand director of Gen-Z’s favourite fashion resale platform Depop explains to ELLE Australia, “spring summer 2023 will be a season of chaos and contrast, in the best possible way. The line between dressing for day and night is getting blurrier as younger consumers continue to try on different looks as a means of self-expression throughout their lives”.

“High octane will be met with low effort and unexpected textures will find their way into everyday style,” he adds.

Whether you’ve been lurking on fashion TikTok or emulating the enviable ensembles sported by Bella Hadid and Hailey Bieber, than you’ll know that sporty norm-core styles and the weird girl aesthetic is in. Taking elements from 90s grunge, the ongoing Y2K revival, sportif styles or even the second-hand fashion economy will guide you through the next few months.

However, if you need a little more hand holding, we’ve tapped some of the fashion industries biggest experts to give us the lowdown on what trends are set to sizzle this summer— and the items to add to your wardrobe now.

Summer is a season for indulging in hedonistic behaviours, which means spending more time at after work drinks rather than curating the perfect outfit.

We’re after something no frills, easy to throw on and go and ensembles that require little to no brain cells to put together. Which is why utility dressing and curating a capsule wardrobe so desirable.

The rise of utility dressing, which Dion Lee and Miu Miu masterfully showcased in New York and Paris, and anything-but-boring basics like Prada’s lust-worthy tank top have reinforced this this sense of pragmatic 90s minimalism.

“Depop users are searching for oversized blazers, cargo pants and dad jeans. An emphasis on fluidity will see masculine elements amping up everyday basics and elevating with feminine accessories like oversized bags that are on the rise by 48{588b6a73d0fd0030a7dfcc3258d1c6d259509b7ec0f2eecf331d98a5c91e6f21},” explained Dool.

This reliance on our basic instincts, and in turn not-so-basic style staples is something seen across the shopping platform spectrum, from Depop to luxury e-commerce site NET-A-PORTER.

“After several seasons of embracing joyful dressing, the mood of plain luxury marks the reinstatement of simplicity and everyday dressing to our wardrobes,” NET-A-PORTER’s Market Editor Libby Page added. “We have always acknowledged the presence of fashion foundations throughout previous seasons, however, the mood truly commanded the spring-summer runway, proving pared-back elegance is the height of luxury.”

We’re after something that straddles the intersection of functionality and aesthetics. Pieces like a tried and tested camisole, an edgy sneaker or a mini skirt will become the backbone of your summer wardrobe.

Christopher Esber Cropped asymmetric ruched piqué top, $395 at NET-A-PORTER
Danielle Guizio Micro Mini fitted skirt, $195 at Farfetch
Source: @haileybieber

Florals for summer (as opposed to spring) may be more groundbreaking for Miranda Priestly’s taste, and for good reason considering its a bourgeoning trend that’s about to bloom.

“This season ‘Flower Power’ does not mean florals in the traditional sense; we saw a more surrealist interpretation with standout 3D designs. The runway looks embellished with floral motifs were a feast for the eyes,” Page explained.

“Loewe led the charge with provocative sculptural flowers on mini and maxi dresses, taking the look from head-to-toe with bold leaf shoes. For Zimmermann’s Paris fashion week debut, the brand demonstrated exactly why its signature floral prints have garnered a loyal following.”
Elsewhere during the SS23 season, Saint Laurent disrupted the norm of evening wear by pioneering the resurgence of 80s style floral accents. Their corsage-esque floral detailing on silk dresses have been reclaimed as a hot style, with floral brooches and pins an effortless and on-trend way to zhush up an ensemble. This style has also blossomed in the recent collections of Fanci Club and Blumarine.

Plus, this mode of dressing was a favourite of Carrie Bradshaw. If it’s good enough for Sex And The City, it’s good enough for us.

Flower Mini Dress, $129 at Runaway The Label
The Phantom Top, approximately $500 at Fanci Club

If indie sleaze piqued your interest, then allow us to introduce you to the aesthetics darker, more edgier sister: grunge sleaze.

“Everything is becoming more grungy and bigger. The Y2K aesthetic has been one of the most popular categories, search terms and hashtags on Depop over the past few years, as we often see trends emerging before they become mainstream. That isn’t slowing down, but it is finding some interesting nuance,” Dool told us.

Locally, exhibitions like ‘Unpopular’ at the Powerhouse Museum, which focuses on the alternative and underground music scene of the 90s, have quenched our appetite for the undone and nonchalant style of millennial grunge. Internationally, style stars like Bella Hadid and Julia Fox are leading the charge for disrupting the refined and minimal aesthetic popularised in the 2010s with an aesthetic dubbed as ‘grunge sleaze’.

“Following grunge-inspired collections from Bottega Veneta and Diesel, Depop’s community are subverting Y2K aesthetics and subcultures into a darker space that is rebellious and filled with curated ‘ugliness’. Searches for “Grunge Sleeze” have alone seen a 176{588b6a73d0fd0030a7dfcc3258d1c6d259509b7ec0f2eecf331d98a5c91e6f21} increase. With “It-girls” leading the charge, our community is looking to a darker, more rebellious, and less polished aesthetic,” Dool added.
Page also notes that NET-A-PORTER have seen a rise in effortlessly “elegant staples that elevate even the grungiest of looks”. So while the 90s may be back, look to Bec + Bridge’s 21st anniversary runway show for proof, this summer will still bring the freedom to elevate this innately dark aesthetic with something a little more sophisticated.

“90s staple that taps into this idea of practicality,” Page also mentioned. Her tips for emulating this look? “Invest in long-lasting, durable, yet cool styles that will see you through from work to weekend.”

R13 Bleached Grunge Slip Dress, $734.06 at FRWD
Al Dress, $259 at With Jean
From fairycore to mermaidcore, fashion is certainly in its fantasy era, and it’s easy to see why. Post-pandemic dressing can be summarised as a form of fashion escapism with popular Y2K styles recontextualized as some of the most archetypal fantasy characters.

On Depop, the aquatic inspired fantasy trend mermaidcore has already seen an 88{588b6a73d0fd0030a7dfcc3258d1c6d259509b7ec0f2eecf331d98a5c91e6f21} increase in searches.

“Users are re-inventing the key motifs – shells, iridescence, coral tones and scallop hems – through a Mermaidcore lens. Evoking the siren, looks will inspire a sense of escapism and romance. Aquamarine is the standout theme, with a 276{588b6a73d0fd0030a7dfcc3258d1c6d259509b7ec0f2eecf331d98a5c91e6f21} increase in searches for sea-themed inventory. Corsets will also continue to grow in popularity with searches increasing by 392{588b6a73d0fd0030a7dfcc3258d1c6d259509b7ec0f2eecf331d98a5c91e6f21},” explained Dool.

Fairycore is another fantasy style growing in popularity, but at the root of these aesthetics is subverting the archetypes of the styles you associate with the characters. Think: sequinned crochet boleros to channel your inner mermaid, and angelic pointelle dresses perfect for bringing out your inner cherub.

Beaded Crochet Top, $109 at Zara
FOR LOVE & LEMONS Swirl Eyelet Bustier, $184.66 at Victoria’s Secret
Between upcoming films like Dune and Barbarella, a celestial inspired wardrobe from Dua Lipa for her Future Nostalgia tour and our impending arrival on Mars, we can’t help but think fashion will soon reach beyond infinity.

And what a better way to usher in this trend with metallic and gilded space age glamour.

“Disco glam had a moment in 2022, with Dua Lipa and Valentino’s Spring 23 collection. Depop’s community are searching for everything from chain mail (+256{588b6a73d0fd0030a7dfcc3258d1c6d259509b7ec0f2eecf331d98a5c91e6f21}) to feature trims (+209{588b6a73d0fd0030a7dfcc3258d1c6d259509b7ec0f2eecf331d98a5c91e6f21}), shoulder pads (+40{588b6a73d0fd0030a7dfcc3258d1c6d259509b7ec0f2eecf331d98a5c91e6f21}) to cut out bodysuits (+91{588b6a73d0fd0030a7dfcc3258d1c6d259509b7ec0f2eecf331d98a5c91e6f21}), as they combine the extreme with the ultra-feminine,” Dool explained.

More proof? Lily-Rose Depp in The Idol, Coperni’s sustainable spray-on dress](Try it out by adding shiny fabrics or cut outs to your wardrobe. Do you look like you might belong at a Halloween rave in 3022? Great, you’re on the money.
POSTER GIRL Bambi halterneck top, $200 at Farfetch
Paris Georgia fine-ribbed cut-out detail catsuit, $856 at FARFETCH
Class in session may call the preppy-inspired academia aesthetic to mind, although Wednesday has certainly made this look more gothic, however in the summer of 2023 this aesthetic will refer to the pastimes our younger selves would be preoccupied with outside of school.

Extracurricular activities like ballet, tennis, horse riding and even motocross have translated onto the runways and real life, taking on new life as these modes of dressing become more contemporary and deconstructed.

The ballet slipper is the ultimate example of this.

“An early 00s staple seen on Amy Winehouse, Alexa Chung amongst others is showing up today on style icons like Bella Hadid in Sandy Liang’s version. Across Instagram and TikTok, the ubiquitous Miu Miu-made ballet flats that were the it-shoe of the season. There is a certain timelessness of ballet flats that have had several iterations over the years, and as they continue to be modernised, they will continue to have mass appeal,” Dool explained.

There is something nostalgic about healing our inner child through fashion by dressing like the younger version of ourselves, but one thing is clear from this trend: time to pull out those old netball bibs and swimming caps because they could be the next style du jour.

Allison Ortensia knitted crop top, $246 at Farfetch
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