Here at Who What Wear we’re not afraid to call ourselves experts when it comes to searching for the latest trends. Whether we’re attending shows or combing through lookbooks and street style pics, we can instantly spot a designer-backed trend that will go the distance, but what we actually end up wearing can often be slightly different.
Therein lies the difference between a major trend and micro one; take the mini skirt as an example. Although the 2020 runways were awash with teeny weeny skirts no bigger than belts, we were at home indulging in luxe loungewear. And although TikTok would have us believe that everyone is stocking up on ultra-baggy, low-slung jeans, our wardrobes are still full of flattering high-waisted and straight-leg cuts. So, how can we tell if we’re really on to something? Whether it’s a new accessory, an updated silhouette, or a styling tweak, micro trends are the quick and easy swaps that can help bring an outfit up to date without having to drastically change your entire aesthetic. Wondering which micro trends feel fresh for the season ahead? We asked Madé Lapuerta, an expert in all things trending for her insight into spring 2024 and what people really want to wear now.
Lapuerta, better known on Instagram as @databutmakeitfashion uses her background in computer science to analyse the runways and to track searches to pull together the data that shows which micro trends have really have an impact on fashion discourse each season, and the results may just surprise you. While the SS’24 runways tell a tale of ethereal, ultra-feminine, romanticism and social media urges us to buy into a mob-wife-meets-eclectic-grandpa hybrid, the truth falls somewhere in the middle, and Lapuerta has identified 6 key micro-trends in particular that have crossed over from AW’23 into our current rotation (and has the stats to back it up).
Should you be stuck somewhere between wanting to invest in timeless, ‘anti-trend’ classics and wanting to keep things current, you’ve come to the right place. A word of caution though, as with any trend rundown, we always advocate for smart shopping first and foremost, and never advise jumping on a trend just because it is currently spiking (the same goes for what you’ll see below). Instead, we’re happy to critically test the pieces currently getting the most traction for their longevity. (And sure, legwarmers might have been popular on the street style circuit last year, but we just couldn’t see ourselves wearing them again in ten years time, so don’t expect to catch them on the list). So without further ado, let’s look forward to the most discussed items from the end of 2023 and will influence the rest of 2024.
1. Off-The-Shoulder Tops: As Seen in 2% of Runway Collections
Granted, 2% might not sound like much, but given that this covers the resort, pre-fall and mainline shows at every major city showing during fashion month, that’s quite a lot of shoulder-bearing necklines. Not since the return of the bandeau top have we discussed a 90’s throwback with quite so much enthusiasm, and this modest approach to showing just a hint of skin makes this the perfect transitional top; not only for winter to spring, but also desk-to-dinner too.
The Fonteyn off-the-shoulder ruched ribbed stretch-jersey thong bodysuit
Off Shoulder Mesh Top
Out From Under Love Hurts Asymmetrical Off-The-Shoulder Top
Black Long Sleeve Bardot Top
Design Deep Bardot Mesh Long Sleeve Top in wine
We The Free Gigi Long Sleeve
2. Skinny Jeans: Popularity Up 50%
There’s guaranteed to be a strong reaction to this, and whether it’s excitement or disdain, please do not shoot the messenger. As much as we may have collectively agreed that there is so much more to denim than skinny jeans, it hasn’t stopped us from talking about them so much that the favourable discussion around the ultra-slim jean has risen 50% since January. Given that we’ve run through the mom jean, the boyfriend jean, the flare, the baggy and the barrel over the last 10 years, it has been a long time since the skinny had the spotlight, and perhaps a flirtation with wide-leg jeans during a particularly wet winter was the final straw, either way, if you’re looking for a brand new denim trend this season, it might be time to revisit an old one.
Le High distressed high-rise skinny jeans
Good Legs organic high-rise slim-leg jeans
Citizens of Humanity
Rocket Ankle black skinny jeans
Richmond Skinny Jean | Vintage Mid Blue
310™ Shaping Super Skinny Jeans
3. Costume Jewellery: As Seen in 5% of Runway Collections
You don’t need Lapuerta’s eagle eye to have noticed that one of the biggest growing jewellery trends of the last couple of years has to be costume jewellery. Big, chunky, ornate and statement pieces have gilded the runways of everyone from Alexander McQueen to Schiaparelli, this burgeoning trend is starting to replace the subtle accessorising that went hand in hand with the rise of the “quiet luxury” and “clean girl” aesthetics. There’s something retro, tongue-in-cheek and a little bit camp about this “more is more” maximalism, and we can’t help but back any trend that helps to bring the fun back to dressing up in such a major way.
Gold Vermeil Bracelet
Boule Stud Earrings
Wavy Ridge Gemstone Double Drop Earrings
The Leah gold-plated ring
4. Leopard Print: The Follower-Voted Favourite
What do Nina Ricci, Jacquemus, and Dolce and Gabbana all have in common? A penchant for leopard print of course, and Celine even showed leopard print pieces in both the AW’23 and SS’24 shows too, proving that we as a people are still hot for the spot. Should you need further proof, followers of @databutmakeitfashion cast their votes and 70% agreed that leopard was a key neutral for spring/summer 2024. Should you still need convincing that leopard print is more fashionable and less feral, take a look at the versatile print clash styling references from Rixo, and head-to-toe take courtesy of Reformation.
Mary Ribbon 45 leopard-print suede Mary Jane pumps
Meg Dress in Leopard Polka Dot
Le Bisou Perle leather shoulder bag
Gini London Rust Faux Fur Leopard Print Coat
5. Over-The-Knee High Boots: As Seen in 7% of Runway Collections
After a longstanding love affair with the knee-high boot, it was only a matter of time before the trend inched its way up to new heights, in short—the over-the-knee boot. Perhaps a rogue choice for what should be the sunnier seasons, until the Great British Weather delivers on a bright and balmy day, there’s still plenty of wear to get out of this tall boot, particularly when paired with a short skirt and cosy knit, and it would seem that designers would agree with Alaia, David Koma, and Versace putting thigh-high boots front at centre after it cropped up in dozens of AW’23 shows.
Regan Knee Boot
Lexington suede over-the-knee boots
Lelta snake-effect leather over-the-knee boots
Ivy Boot, Black
6. Stripes: As Seen In 4% of Runway Collections
From Adidas X Wales Bonner’s sporting stripes to Zimmerman’s business class pinstripes, this simple print has the kind of universal appeal rarely afforded to anything outside of neutrals, and our editors were firm believers that stripes would take off as far back as February 2023. As the old phrase says “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, and stripes manage to bounce back each year with only minor updates needed to make them feel relevant again. If the popularity of Toteme’s turtleneck breton, The Frankie Shop’s PJ pants, and With Nothing Underneath’s striped boyfriend shirt are anything to go by, those who aren’t stocking up on animal print spots will undoubtedly be drawn to graphic stripes.
Striped Wool Roll-Neck Jumper
Gazelle Indoor leather sneakers
Striped Straight Jeans
Up Next, The Only Spring/Summer 2024 Fashion Trends I’m Bothered About