Karen Kwinter, Canadian Living's fashion and beauty editor at large and Robin Keeler, a fashion consultant for shopping centres across Canada, offer insights into the clothing styles that were hot in 2011 and which fashion trends you can expect to see in 2012.
2011 fashion trends shine a spotlight on colour
"The biggest fashion trend to come out of 2011 was the emergence of bright colour," says Kwinter. "First appearing on the designer runways as neons, they softened slightly and during the year became slowly accepted." Most popular, she says, were hot pink, royal blue and red. "Colour was easy to add to one's wardrobe at first by adding it in small doses, primarily to black."
According to Keeler, intense look-at-me colour such as beeswax yellow, honeysuckle pink and electrifying orange were the stars of 2011 fashion trends, expressing what she calls a spirit of passion and energy. "Through their use of these colours, designers evoked a sense of beauty and renewal, much needed for those who have colourless wardrobes," she says. "Used properly, colour is a powerful tool in the development of a strong sense of personal style."
Other hot 2011 fashion trends and clothing styles
Pantsuits, capes and ponchos, animal prints, leather, stripes and the ‘60s shift dress were other looks that gained popularity in 2011, says Keeler. "Pantsuits are always appropriate and versatile," she says, explaining that fitted jackets always look great and give the wearer shape, whether paired with narrow- or wide-legged pants.
"Capes can be dramatic, elegant or just fun," says Keeler. "They are comfortable, go with almost anything and are great layering pieces, especially in transitional weather."
Once considered "wild", Keeler says that leopard or snake prints are so widely worn in many clothing styles now, they've become classic. But be careful: Head-to-toe animal print is hard to pull off, she says, suggesting just one great piece instead of many.
Want to add a little edge to your wardrobe? Try leather. "Leather, when embellished with studs and chains, says ‘rocker' … and is never meant to be worn to work," says Keeler. Instead, she advises sticking to classic shapes and earth tone colours to integrate leather pieces into your existing wardrobe. "Again, one great piece will do it -- head to toe is too much!"
2011 fashion trends and clothing styles also embraced a beloved pattern, enhanced by colour: Stripes. "When worn properly, and in the right place, stripes can look absolutely fabulous," says Keeler. "Bright stripes can add ‘oomph' to your outfits and can take your clothes from tiresome to terrific."
As is often the case with fashion, what is old becomes new again. The shift dress made popular in the ‘60s saw a renaissance in 2011, making it a key wardrobe staple. "Its simple, elegant lines look great under tailored coats, jackets and cardigans," says Keeler.
Page 1 of 2: Read on for the hottest fashion trends of 2012 on Page 2"The hottest trend for 2012 will once again be colour," says Kwinter. "Now the mass market is embracing colour and will be adding orange, yellow, turquoise and purple to the mix," she says. "Also new for this year will be wearing different colours all together and not relying on a neutral to ‘ground' them."
More clothing styles to be on the lookout for? Keeler says the following looks and pieces will go strong in 2012 fashion trends:
- -colour blocking
- -graphic prints
- -polka dots
- -high-waisted flared pants
- -classic blazers,
- -blouses and;
5 tips for wearing 2012's fashion trends
Keeler offers the following helpful tips for wearing the year's most popular looks.
1. Wearing three or four multiple colours can create an incredible look, but stop there. More than that and you'll move dangerously close to looking like a Rubik's cube.
If the thought of head-to-toe colour has you a little panicked, pick one beautiful bright to start. Still a little intimidated? Introduce colour into your wardrobe with accessories.
2. Spend your money wisely: select the best quality you can afford.
3. It is never about how much you spend, rather choosing the pieces that really work for your size, shape and budget.
4. Become a super-smart shopper by searching out the best additions to your wardrobe -- things that are wearable, that will define your look but that are also classic enough in design to last you for a few seasons to come. Because there are so many classic items coming back in style (dresses, blazers, cardigans, trench coats), this should make shopping a breeze.
5. Use 2012 fashion pieces and colours to energize and add newness to what you already own.
Natalie Bahadur is the senior editor of styleathome.com and a contributor to Canadianliving.com.