According to the Oxford English Dictionary, 2023’s defining word of the year was “rizz”. The term, which is short for “charisma”, relates to a person’s ability to attract a romantic partner. Essentially, “rizz” means that you can playfully yet seamlessly strike up a conversation with a new love interest and flirt with them in a light-hearted, resolutely non-intense way. In the world of dating trends in 2023, then, single people were all wearing “rizz-tinted glasses” and swapping the wishlist criteria of “tall, dark and handsome” for belly laughs and good chat.
In the fashion sphere, there were certain events we could have never predicted. Like Doja Cat dressing up as Karl Lagerfeld’s beloved feline friend Choupette at the Met Gala in May. Or those viral Big Red Boots, which looked like the plasticky cleats worn by the Fifties manga character Astro Boy. We watched “coastal cowgirl core” (think boho LA girl fashion), “ballet core” (an aesthetic based on the clothes worn by ballet dancers), and the “underwear as outerwear” trend (women wearing men’s boxers as a fashion statement), all flash past as brief, buzzy fashion moments. And if you didn’t want to be exhaustingly hip, there was also the revival of “normcore”, the unpretentious everyday clothing trend last seen a decade ago.
Maybe the word of the year should have been “beautify”. Not only was there the rather worrying “Ozempic face” trend and the booming cosmetic dental industry overseas, but we also saw copper become the hair colour of the moment, and the “box bob” haircut inspired by Hailey Bieber adopted en masse. In other words, 2023 meant sensory overload, with new celebrity-inspired TikTok trends feeling like a continuous onslaught of trend whiplash.
But, as the transient nature of these trends might suggest, don’t get used to them anytime soon – it’s time to brace yourself for a whole new set of “cores” and viral style tips. So, ahead of the new year, I spoke to trend forecasters, stylists and wellness experts about what we can expect from 2024.
Ludicrously capacious bags
Even though Tom Wambsgans launched a scathing attack on large handbags in the final series of Succession, oversized bags are about to have a moment.
There was a time, not that long ago, when it felt like handbags couldn’t get any smaller. In 2019, when the French fashion house Jacquemus released its micro handbag, which could only be held by a single finger and couldn’t even fit an AirPods case. Speaking as someone who regularly discovers squashed bananas in the bottom of her overfilled bag, I’m relieved to deliver the news that gargantuan-sized handbags will be making a comeback in 2024.
The Spring/Summer 2024 Miu Miu collection saw models marching down the catwalk with oversized holdall bags, overflowing with gym gear, high heels and toiletries, stuffed underneath their arms. Bottega Veneta did a similar thing, too, and released a leather-weaved tote bag that could hold the weekly food shop for a family of four.
Bucket List lifestyles
If you’ve been on TikTok lately, you will have seen that young Gen Z couple who have swapped their cramped, inner-city apartment for a campervan in Australia, from where they will travel the world and work remotely. Joanna Freely, the founder and CEO of forecasting agency TrendBible, tells me that more of us might be upping sticks and opting for peripatetic lifestyles in 2024. She says that her company have observed a rise in “location-independent, tech-enabled lifestyles”, and that the move towards building DIY campervan homes is “emblematic of a bigger societal shift: a rejection of mortgages, conventional living, and the nine-to-five in favour of a nomadic way of living.” With that, we may see more people working out how to fit their entire lives into a small-sized van and working remotely from around the world.
The year of the cougar
Robert De Niro and Al Pacino both made headlines in 2023 for dating women more than 30 years their junior, and Leonardo DiCaprio, well, keeps on being Leo. Then there are the famous women who typically face scrutiny for dating younger men – like Madonna and her recently rumoured boyfriend, 29, who is 36-years her junior. But, according to dating app Bumble, age-gap relationships might not be as taboo as we go into 2024.
In a survey of 26,800 Bumble members globally, it was revealed that 63 per cent of respondents said that age isn’t a defining factor when they’re dating. And perhaps most interestingly, 59 per cent of women say they’re now more open to dating someone younger than them. All hail the year of the cougar.
We’ve only just recovered from the explosion of hot-pink fashion brought on by the Barbie film in July. A new blockbuster might be taking control of our wardrobes in 2024 upon the release of Dune: Part Two – the sci-fi epic starring Call Me By Your Name actor Timothée Chalamet and Euphoria star Zendaya. In the film, the characters wear stillsuits – robust, military-style armour built to repurpose bodily fluids like sweat into drinking water necessary for survival in the desert. Sure, I don’t think you’ll catch me on the Victoria line in my military-grade garb anytime soon, but the brown and grey-toned colours and textures of the film may well seep into our fashion trends. We will be seeing more cool, sandy brown colours and neutrals in what I am pre-emptively calling Dune core. Because, don’t we all want to look like Zendaya after days of trekking through a dry desert?
Who wears short shorts? We’ll wear short shorts! You may have been privy to the “jort” trend of 2023, which saw celebrities styling skater-style knee-length denim shorts with high heels and cowboy boys. That’s all in the past now: micro shorts pumped down the catwalks in Milan in September, as seen in the Spring Summer 2024 Gucci collection, and in Paris, we saw hotpants on the SS24 runways of Chanel, Alexander McQueen and Isabel Marant.
Thousands of sports fans will flock to Paris for the Olympics, which means fashionistas will be looking to their surroundings to find inspiration. Freeley from TrendBible says things will be getting très chic. “With the Paris Olympics and Paralympics in 2024 there is a sense of French nostalgia in the air,” she explains. “Inspired by Gen Z’s love of all things vintage, products that feel like flea market finds – chainstitch embroidery, scalloped edges, wooden beading – this style will be pretty and comforting.”
Ice baths are out, LED light therapy is in
If you didn’t plunge yourself into an ice-cold bath in the name of wellness in 2023, you simply weren’t doing it right. Word on the wellness industry circuit is that “cellular healing” – a wellness concept that aims to nourish the body through supplements, wellness activities, and nourishing foods – is the next big thing. Oxygen therapy, such as using a hyperbaric chamber to help the lungs collect more oxygen, or LED light therapy, which is said to improve skin rejuvenation and stimulate skin tissue repair, are both considered part of the “cellular healing” wellness movement.
Sarah Jones St John, a self-described “energy healer” and founder of wellness retreat Grey Wolfe says that cellular healing is considered the “future of wellness”. “It focuses on addressing health issues at the cellular level, aiming to restore optimal cellular function and overall wellbeing,” she explains.
LED light therapy, Sarah says, involves the use of specific wavelengths of light to penetrate the skin and stimulate cellular activity. You can buy futuristic masks with built-in LED lights that you can even wear at home. Different colours of LED, Sarah says, can be used to target various skin concerns – such as red-light therapy is said to be used to even the skin tone. “Different colours of light can target various skin concerns, such as acne, wrinkles, and inflammation, promoting cellular healing and rejuvenation,” she explains.
Florence Pugh went viral this year when she wore a sheer Valentino dress that revealed her nipples. Fashion experts often refer to this move as “naked dressing” – a trend that involves wearing see-through fabrics like tulle or mesh without underwear underneath. That trend won’t be going anywhere in 2024 as we embrace the next risqué fashion item: the transparent skirt.
Matthew Hegarty, owner of the London-based eponymous unisex fashion label, tells me that transparent skirts will be big in the warmer months, when we will see maxi or mid-length skirts made out of sheer mesh fabrics. And there’s already evidence on the SS24 catwalks, with sheer pencil skirts at Carolina Herrera, Coperni and Givenchy shows in Milan and Paris.
And finally, things will get, erm, raunchy
Fashionistas might push the boundaries of naked dressing one step further in 2024, with the popularity of, er, “BDSM-influenced” fashion. Megan Watkins, head stylist at online fashion destination SilkFred, says we can expect lots of latex, leather and vinyl on runways and the red carpet. “One of the biggest trends this year has been ‘naked dressing’ with daring cut-outs, sheer materials and underwear as outerwear taking over our feeds – only recently Emma Chamberlain wore tights and leather knickers to the GQ awards,” she explains. “However, in 2024, celebs and influencers will start experimenting with fetishwear and kink-inspired clothing. We’ve seen glimpses of this trend in the past month – see Bebe Rexha’s BDSM-inspired leather dress, complete with bum cut-outs and tail. This trend is set to be dark, sexy and totally red carpet-ready.”