From ’90s Minimalism to Prep School Chic
Fashion Style

From ’90s Minimalism to Prep School Chic

Calling it now: Fashion with a capital “F” is back. We’ll admit it; for the past few seasons, the runway hasn’t felt as compelling as it used to. Between the dearth of in-person presentations and the rise of viral style stars (looking at you, TikTok), plus a decline in red carpet spectacle, there’s been good reason to turn to other sources to glean outfit inspiration. But if you’ve been checked out of the fashion show circuit for a few seasons, the captivating fall/winter collections are an indication that it’s time to re-enrol. This season was a study in contrasts: big and body-shrouding here, tight and titillating there. Completely restrained in some ways, campy and collegiate in others. With so many ideas to choose from, it’s a real invitation to discover your sartorial niche. Read on to discover the fall 2022 trends you need to know about, ones that’ll reignite that yearning to get dressed and feel good doing it.

’90s Restraint 

fall fashion trends 2022
Chloé, Bottega Veneta, Proenza Schouler, Tibi. Photos: Getty Images, Bottega Veneta, Proenza Schouler, Tibi

Seen at:

Bottega Veneta, Chloé, Tibi, Proenza Schouler, Celine

What to know:

Every decade has its style signatures: miniskirts and headscarves in the ’60s, shoulder pads and chromatic colour from the ’80s. Back in the ’90s, an era long revered for its simple, but sophisticated approach to design, it was more about a feeling. For the fall/winter season, that pared-back approach is wonderfully revisited—a palette-cleanser of sorts for the anything-goes Y2K revival. One unassuming look by Bottega Veneta—bootcut denim and a plain white tank—looked plucked from Calvin Klein’s CK One heyday; Tibi’s humble separates were dupes for something Julia Stiles’s character would’ve worn in 10 Things I Hate About You. For those favouring a bit of grunge, Celine and Chloé’s all-black, all-leather looks brought some familiar edge without the in-your-face impact. 

How to wear it:

Invest in a well-made ribbed tank: it’s the starting point for every good minimalism-leaning outfit. From there, suiting staples—delivered in an un-showy palette of charcoal greys and inky blues—should fall into the relaxed-silhouette category to help capture the ease of the era. 

 

Colossal Robe Coats

fall fashion trends 2022 coats
Stella McCartney, Versace, Acne Studios, Coperni. Photos: Getty Images

Seen at:

Acne Studios, Stella McCartney, Versace, Balenciaga, Coperni

What to know:

Those of us inhabiting unbearably glacial climates score one seasonal silver lining: prime outerwear picks. Every year, the fall/winter runways yield a new crop of desirable options—leopard-printed coats last year, wool capes some years before that—but this season saw designers play with epic proportions. Robe coats served as a springboard, mega volume is what made them special. Some standouts: Coperni’s impossibly plush, faux-fur coats that completely enveloped the models; Acne Studios’s voluminous, duvet-style coat covered in a print you might find on grandma’s bedspread (yes, somehow it actually works); and Versace’s candy apple-hued patent puffer which looked like it had been pumped up with air. Suddenly, sub-zero forecasts don’t seem so scary. 

How to wear it:

Outside in -30 degree weather, of course. It doesn’t much matter what you’re wearing underneath these supersized, statement-making coats (they’re a look all on their own), but a pair of thigh-high boots—the season’s seen-everywhere accessory—is an ideal cold-climate complement.  

 

Rule the School 

fall fashion trends 2022 prep school
Kenzo, Christian Dior, Miu Miu, Chanel. Photos: Getty Images

Seen at:

Chanel, Christian Dior, Miu Miu, Kenzo, Off-White 

What to know:

Even as fully grown adults, the much-anticipated arrival of September—and therefore, back-to-school season—remains infectious. Fresh starts and unspoiled notebooks are part of it, but really, it’s always been the collegiate clothing that’s had us aflutter. Designers tapped into that nostalgic yearning with a bevy of uniform-style looks this season. At Chanel, Gossip Girl-esque get-ups (including sparkly lariats mimicking boarding school neck ties) were A-plus worthy, while Off-White’s oversized take on the plaid skirt-suit was reminiscent of the infamous Clueless outfit (that is, if Cher was less concerned about opposite sex-attracting proportions.) And for all the sartorial rule-breakers, Kenzo’s relaxed blazer-and-trousers combo came topped off by a beret and chunky oxfords, just like the art kids would. 

How to wear it:

If you’re not putting in hours at study hall (truth: it was well over a decade for us), temper the overt school-girl vibes with some age-appropriate accessories. Prim penny loafers—sans knee highs—and a pair of thin gold hoops are a good bet. Bagged lunch not required. 

 

It’s a Cinch 

fall fashion trends 2022 corsets
Burberry, Fendi, Richard Quinn, Sportmax. Photos: Burberry, Getty Images

Seen at:

Burberry, Fendi, Marine Serre, Richard Quinn, Sportmax

What to know:

Corsets have a storied, centuries-long history, but one that’s not necessarily so favourable with hindsight (fainting for the sake of a petite waistline doesn’t mesh so well with modern feminism, ya know?) The rigid and restrictive undergarment was due for a revamp. This season’s versions are seductive, yes, but there’s nuance to these new iterations, as if designers are inviting us to be in on the cinch, not bound by it. Take Sportmax for instance: A tone-on-tone bustier gave shape to an otherwise unstructured shirtdress. At Burberry, a Pepto pink corset blended into a skin-covered get-up of the same colour. And finally, for a hit of nostalgia, Richard Quinn’s bang-on bustier dress bore a striking resemblance to Madonna’s iconic Blond Ambition bodysuit (if the cones were softened and smooth.) 

How to wear it:

Now we’re not suggesting are corsets entirely suited for the 9-to-5, but if modestly raising eyebrows in the workplace is your thing, take cues from Fendi’s chic styling trick. Wearing one over a work-ready button-up does wonders for balance. The shirt helps zap the overt sex appeal and the corset lends some much-needed visual interest. 

 

Big on Brown

fall fashion trends 2022 brown
Diesel, Michael Kors, Hermès, Givenchy. Photos: Getty Images

Seen at:

Diesel, Emilia Wickstead, Givenchy, Hermès, Michael Kors, 

What to know:

We give a lot of credence to the singular versatility of black, but after witnessing the deluge of equally all-purpose brown on the runways, we’re prepared to say it’s an undue amount. Shades seemingly gathered from nature—mocha at Michael Kors, dark chocolate at Givenchy and hickory at Hermès—were spotted in monochromatic masses. At Diesel, a parachute dress came in a café noir colour so deep that a quick glance under shadowy lighting had us wondering, “Was that black?” Our takeaway? This cool colour stands to be a more valued (and highly wearable) hue. 

How to wear it:

With as much freedom as every other neutral in your closet. Head-to-toe brown makes for a captivating combination, especially when splashed on a clash of cold-weather textures à la Michael Kors. If you want to break it up a bit, borrow the whole “if it grows together, it goes together” adage from the culinary world. Hunter green, blackberry and mushroom hues pair beautifully with a brown background. 

The Fall 2022 Fashion Trends You Need to Know About