Fashion Undressed: NYFW Trends Redux and Reinvented

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It's Fashion Week season; New York kicks it off. A week in the Big Apple, and show after show, row after row, model after model. There’s hair, there’s makeup. There are lines wrapped around the corner, eager – but pretending to be bored with it all – faces jostling for a position close enough to the runway to see…and be seen.

There’s a lot of hullabaloo in the media about the hullabaloo. There’s question about what’s more important to the fashion industry, the flashbulbs or the designs. There’s question about the models. There’s question about whether ready-to-wear really is.

As a 41-year-old woman with a full time job and a family, even one who loves Fashion for the art that it is, I sometimes question the runway’s place in reality. The runway’s connection to me may be tentative, but it’s tentative like a beautiful gossamer thread. It’s tentative like a stunning flash of lightning I didn’t quite catch.

Then, those flashes and threads translate to market. Some disappear completely, ending up “runway only.” Other elements become those repeated colors, patterns, shapes, and structures we’ll see copied in store after store the next season.

There were plenty of very wearable designs on the New York runways last week: pretty trousers, elegant dresses, and loads and loads of athletic-inspired looks. Next fall, if retail buyers hold true to runways’ pushes, there are a few trends that have held for a few seasons, and one trend I’m curious to see how it will translate to real life.

The 70s: Keep your bow blouses, boho patterns, and working woman knits. To update them for next fall, though, think about opposites: go monochromatic or use simple contrast – and don’t even think about feathering your hair: sleek, sleek, sleek. Which for me, a mama who never, ever, ever gets to wash and dry her hair properly? Yeah. I’m happy the simple sleek ‘do will be back.

AW15 RTW Trends 70sJason Wu, Anna Sui, Marc Jacobs, images via

Gym Clothes: Though New York is notoriously casual compared to other fashion weeks, athletic wear (which we welcomed gleefully in the dressy, comfy sweatpant for this past fall) still dominated. Next winter, dig out those turtlenecks and tennis togs. So you don’t look like you’re heading to gym class, though, pick one athletic element in a bold color and temper it with a simple, sleek, and grownup choice like the pencil skirt in the first look here.

AW15 RTW Trends AthleticBand of Outsiders, Lacoste, Katie Gallagher, images via

Borrowed from the Boys: For the last few seasons, menswear has been all over, and it’s not going away – for good reason. Most of us won’t pull a tie out of the closet each morning, but we will absolutely put on a blazer. Boys wear jackets daily because putting on a tailored jacket ups the ante immediately. It remains to be seen, though, whether retailers will copy the runways with the barely cropped ankle pants or whether they’ll go slouchy. Both are much more doable than it seems at first glance, so maybe we’ll get a choice in the stores.

AW15 RTW Trends MenswearThom Browne, Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY, images via

The 2015 Bustle: The most intriguing trend out of New York, though, was the bustle’s reappearance. Last popular in, oh, let’s go for the turn of the 20th century, the bustle’s whole purpose is to add distinct shape to a woman’s hips and rear end. Don’t run screaming yet. Remember the peplum? Not one “regular woman” I know, myself included, thought I could pull it off, and so many of us ended up wearing some version of the “hip flip” I never want to see them again. The bustle, though, has an elegance and curve that could be – depending on how it makes it into stores – at once ghostly and contemporary. It can curl, it can flip. It can ride at the waist or sit just below the hip, flirting openly with structure or hiding shyly in a dress’ drape.

AW15 RTW Trends The BustleMarc Jacobs, Creatures of the Wind, Carolina Herrera, images via

Time will certainly tell if and how these trends make it into our hands next August (because we all love shopping for colder weather in sweltering heat). There are a slew of steps between the runways and stores. There’s media influence, and there are massive market conventions at which retail buyers will pick the pieces manufacturers will then produce for you and me to take home. In the end, most of us will continue to wear what we have already, and some color or pattern might catch our eye. It might be in a magazine or in a store window, but we’ll find it pretty. And then we’ll remember: we saw it on the runway.

Alison SantighianBy day, Alison Santighian is a contractor for the federal government, using her super powers to serve our country, but by night (after bedtime for her “Beans” now 7 and almost 5), she pines after the “it” factor. Alison and “H” (better known as #besthusbandever) don’t believe badass has an expiration date, so they hit concerts, shows, restaurants, and openings across the globe. Alison also writes for Glass Magazine, adding a business woman's eye to fashion week reviews and style features. Follow her on Twitter.


A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. Turtlenecks will always be in my wardrobe. I don’t care what the trends say about them. Turtlenecks suit me and I have a medicinal reason for wearing them. Several injuries have left me with an almost constant pain in my neck. Turtlenecks warm up and relax my neck, making it feel better. True, in hot weather, I can’t wear them. But then in hot weather, keeping my neck warm is not at issue.


    1. Chris, you’ll be a happy camper, then. The sleek, easy fit of a turtleneck (how elegant do those sporty looks come across, even with distinctly athletic details) can be so distinctive. Hopefully, you’ll get some new options that will become the classics you need for the cold weather!

  2. So interesting and mirrors some reflections I have been having about how hard it is to place collections you see so far in advance in a real context and a future we do not know will be yet. For, me clothing is so about where I am in the moment that it is hard to attach to garments I won’t be thinking about again for almost a year. Ironically some of the ideas and details I begin to incorporate right away and by the time they come out again, I have already moved on!

    Accidental icon

    1. I feel the same way about things I’ve seen so far, particularly with makeup on these runways. While I haven’t incorporated any of it (life gets in the way of seeking out the perfect eyebrow), I’m drawn to so much of it in the moment right now. If a designer creates it in this moment, why shouldn’t I wear or recreate it in this moment…curious to see, too, what you’ve incorporated from these runways…if anything!

  3. Looking forward to seeing what sporty pieces they will put out to the masses. I never thought I’d be one to wear “sweatpants” out and about, but I’m really loving the slimmed down, streamlined and shortened lengths (I’m a petite) of the ones that are being offered by Gap, Ann Taylor, etc. I own a few pairs and they’re a long way from the sweatpants I wore as a teenager that I got from the boys department! Huge and pooled at the ankles!

    Also love to see what they’re going to offer that is menswear inspired. I’ve always had the tomboy vibe and feel that you can never have too many oxford shoes! Can’t wait.

    1. Karen – I’m curious, too, to see what will make it to the Real People! Those sweatpants are a great example of something that we wouldn’t think would work off the runway, and really fits so many women’s lives and bodies. On the menswear, the innovations weren’t many, but the formality of it came through. I’ve heard rumors of “androgyny” from London and even the beginning of Milan, but that’s different from “menswear” again. Also, AGREE on the oxfords!

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