As the year draws to a close—the bad holiday gifts have been returned, and many new workout ensembles have been purchased during the 60 percent off sale at Athleta in anticipation of finally following through on that new year, new body mindset—we look ahead to 2016 and ask the really important questions, like, where will we shop? And what will we wear?
Here’s a quick look at a few key shopping and style trends to watch in 2016.
Warming Up to the Cold Shoulder
Leanne Marshall, Spring 2016
Enough with bare midriffs. Put the cleavage away. Because 2016 will be the year of the shoulder. Spring fashion is all about showing shoulders, whether that's sweaters with cut-outs, off-the-shoulder tops, or strapless dresses. As Evereve Fashion Director Heidi Watson pointed out in my January column, shoulders don’t age! It's a universally flattering body part. Kim Kardashian and her big booty might just want to sit this trend out.
I am quite proud to say I did not buy jeans in 2015 (not blue ones, anyway—gray is like a totally separate thing). I had no need: I’m still crazy about my Levi’s Boyfriend Skinnies, and thankfully they still fit. Great for me, not so great for the fashion brands and retailers trying to sell denim. So here comes the big switch up. Flares will make a comeback for spring. I know, they’ve tried it many times before with so-so results. I think the look might go over better in the coming months as the ‘70s trend continues. And while flares do present a whole world of wardrobe issues, it might feel good to go wide for a change.
Fresh collection hitting West Elm in January
Perhaps you heard the shocking news that the Pantone Color Institute named not one, but two—yes, two!— colors of 2016: Rose Quartz and Serenity. They boil down to your basic baby blue and pink, with new symbolism: blurring genders, moving toward fluidity, equality, balance. What it means for your wardrobe: pastels before and after Easter, and lots of dusty pale pink and tranquil soft blues mixed together.
Sephora's 2016 Pantone palette
From Runway to Retail…STAT
Lace. Wide leg. Cropped. Banana Repbulic spring 2016 collection
Once upon a time, before real housewives and real movie stars showed up at New York Fashion Week, the front rows of designer shows were filled with retail buyers and editors who would see the new collections, take their notes, place their orders, and we’d get the first glimpse six months later when the magazines came out and the clothes hit stores. Now, fashion shows stream live and fast fashion retailers have “interpreted” the latest looks before the designer brands have recovered from all the Fashion Week hoopla. That’s going to change. At NYFW in February, Banana Republic plans to make some runway looks available for sale immediately after the show to capitalize on the buzz. This not only reflects the impact of technology and social media, but the shift toward a season-less wardrobe.
Service Dot Com
We’re coming off a holiday shopping season that saw in-store traffic lag while online sales hit a record high. The one thing bricks and mortar has always had over websites is service, but that, too, is changing. Through a combination of technology and creativity, brands are finding ways to better connect with online shoppers. One example that’s being closely watched by industry experts: The North Face is in the process of adding new interactive software that is designed to create a more personalized and engaging online shopping experience by suggesting products and refining selections based on the consumer’s responses to a series of short questions.
More Mall Mania
Mall of America's new Culinary on North
When we do go to the mall, we want it to be inviting, and a layered experience, with restaurants, activities, and the latest store designs. The Twin Cities saw two major mall expansions in 2015. So 2016 will be about filling the space. Ridgedale already has claims on most of its available spots in the new Nordstrom corridor. Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma, Brooks Brothers and Creative Kidstuff will be opening this spring, along with Redstone American Grill. Mall of America is a much bigger question mark—there are lots of new food options on the way, including Shake Shack, Melt Shop, Disco Fries and Piada Italian Street Food in the new Culinary on North. But the mall has yet to announce tenants for the first and second floors of its new central wing. Also keep an eye on Rosedale Center, where a major expansion is in the works. And Galleria could be in for a bit of an upheaval with its original, and largest tenant Gabberts threatening to leave the Edina center if it can’t get clearance to raise the roof.