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Fashion forward: Style trends for ’09

What's old, what's new, what's right for you? From fancy pants to bold costume baubles, get a preview of the hot looks for this year from Today Style editor Bobbie Thomas.
/ Source: TODAY contributor


For the past few years, matchy-matchy looks felt like a fashion faux pas, but now ensemble dressing is making a comeback. Whether you want to mix it up or wear one whole look from head to toe, just keep in mind that separates are going to be the big story in fashion. And it all starts with the suit — both skirt and pant sets. This return to classic tailoring allows for versatility, a favorable option for these economic times. While a dress is a one-day outfit, ensembles allow you mix and match the pieces, and transition items to not only expand your work wardrobe, but also blend these separates into you weekend wear.

One of the best pieces to take from work to weekend, the blazer, was not only a must-have for fall 2008, it will continue to be a trend in 2009. Styles are morphing into feminine versions for spring, and these soft structured jackets will start to replace cardigans and wraps. Menswear in general is getting a feminine makeover with light fabrics, delicate details, and curved lines. We’re going to see every possible re-invention, including lots of softer spins with shawl collars, draping, and asymmetrical hems, as even the most girly designers, such as Rebecca Taylor, put their twist on this classic piece of clothing.

While floral tops, like those seen on the Jill Stuart runway, are also an abundant trend to lookout for, the biggest (and most controversial) style seen on 2009 runways: fancy pants. Bottoms are back in a new way, from parachute to crop — and even jumpsuits — all odd shapes and cuts were on display. Contemporary designers such as Tibi put forth every imaginable silhouette and form. The best news is that you’ll have no trouble finding a pair of pants that suits you.

Weekend wear In the casual category, a signature jacket is a must-have for the modern woman. A seasonless staple that will swing both ways, expect fall elements to bloom as the weather warms up, and summer coats like those seen on Milly’s spring runway to take center stage. Long gone are the days that you need just a basic to cover up in. With so many styles and colors to choose from, consider these coats an extension of your personality!

When it comes to denim, ripped jeans are tearing their way back. Hollywood has already cut the line, and trendsetters like Cameron Diaz are sporting spring samples of destroyed denim that are rumored to be back-ordered before the ball has even dropped in Times Square. Scissors anyone?

And while he's much more than her 'boyfriend', we’ve already reported that Katie Holmes has snagged “his” style and worn Tom's jeans. Other ladies like Reese Witherspoon have been out and about in relaxed style jeans, and Levi’s is getting in line with their loose-legged blues. While skinny jeans may be taking a back seat, is baggier better?

But it’s not just about the basics — you may not normally think to embellish during the afternoon, but holiday sparkle shines on with evening elements for sunny days. Glitz and glimmer is everywhere, from the satin and beading seen at Nanettte Lepore and Foley & Carina, to even a disco flash that came to life via lame at the Michael Kors and Marc Jacobs shows.

And finally, maxi dresses made their official comeback in the summer of 2008 thanks to contemporary designers like Gypsy '05, and celebrities like Angelina Jolie who practically lived in the longer length. This summer expect skirts to sweep in too. These easy, breezy pieces are meant to be thrown-on and paired with flips-flops for a casual-chic summer style.

Dress designs Dresses have been back in such a big way over the past few years, and there’s a style for all, from one side of the spectrum to the other. First up: floral prints. They blossomed last summer, were in full bloom this fall, and they won't be wilting anytime soon.

And sculpted formed frocks, with crisp lines and even bold shoulders may bring you back to "Dynasty" days. Smart and savvy collections like Karen Millen use clean lines and smart paneling to literally help shift your shape. Bold black and white will be a color combination to take note of, and Amy Adams and Lucy Lui have already stepped out onto the red carpet in spring designs by Carolina Herrara and Giambattista Valli.

On the softer side, those who prefer an ethereal, fairytale-like look will be happy to know that a flow of Grecian and goddess frocks will also be available. These sheer, fluid, and draped designs feel fresh with asymmetry. From the neck to the hemline, imbalance is in, and Aurelio Costarella offers great examples of this trend.

Accents When just a little wardrobe update is all you need, 2009’s edgy extras have the potential to make a big impact. Expect fringe to be everywhere and on everything, as demonstrated on William Rast’s runway. If you want to just touch on the trend, scarves and accessories are great way to go.

And there’s no need for diamonds, as big and bold costume baubles stay in the spotlight. Statement pieces such as those by Roberta Freyman and Cynthia Rowley will help transform the look of any basic. And finally, from funky to fabulous, footwear remains a focal point in 2009, with everything from nude classics to cutout creations. Sh-booties and platforms from designers like Stuart Weitzman still support a heavier-looking foot trend.

As you can see, designers inspire with couture creations, while stylists and celebrities help them step into the spotlight, making it possible for us to predict the future! But now that you know what next year will bring, it’s time to take advantage of this knowledge (and the January sales!) Be savvy by shopping off-season, and also don’t forget to pull from your own wardrobe. You’re likely to have items that hit on at least a few of these trends buried at the bottom of drawers or in the back of your closet!