Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Panic-Buy Saturday, Comfort-Buy Sunday, Slightly-Pissed-Buy Thursday… thanks to e-commerce, m-commerce and the endless exhortations of big businesses (looking at you, Amazon), it has never been easier or more tempting to shop, shop, shop. In 2017, the high street became even more reactive to catwalk trends, while the catwalk increasingly adopted a see-now, buy-now ethos that sped up fashion’s already frenetic pace. But what were we buying? Tempting as it is to imagine that every single person in Britain bases their purchasing decisions on what will look good on social media, not everyone gives a fig about #OOTD. For an increasing number of us, the environment was more important than the “likes”. We bought trends, yes, but we also bought things we loved and planned to cherish – throughout 2017 and beyond. Yes, even the Crocs.
FLORAL MIDI DRESSES
They were the ultimate trans-seasonal buy, worn in summer with slides or plimsolls then worn again in winter with lace-up boots or knee-length ones. However many women you spotted wearing them in any one room, there never seemed to be a twinning incident, thanks to the multitude of varieties in the shops. Ganni, Mango, Topshop, ASOS, Kitri and Zara were particularly on form on the floral front this year – not forgetting Erdem, whose November collaboration with H&M sold out in record time.
Lyst called it one of the most popular fashion searches of the year, but we could have fathomed this for ourselves by the visual evidence all around us. Whether in blazer, boot, dress, shoe or even sock form, we were all crushing on velvet this year, like extras from a costume drama. Claret, bottle green and navy were our faves, along with black.
When Christopher Kane put bejewelled ones on his catwalk in September 2016 (yes, *that* long ago) many assumed – or at least hoped – it would be a one-off; a rare sighting, like some rubber version of the Loch Ness Monster. Then he did them again. Just when we thought our eyeballs couldn’t bleed any more, Balenciaga showed a canary yellow platform version. From Crocs to Reefs to Birks to Tevas, utilitarian shoes were the surprise hit of 2017 and, while they weren’t so easy on the eye, at least they were (relatively) easy on our wallets.
Who wants an all-over tan anyway? Not us – not this year. In a summer dominated by one-pieces, some of us craved a little more excitement, drama and – yes – uneven tan lines, and snapped up swimwear with interesting cutaway details. Bikinis never felt more passé – spurred on by the athleisure movement, we embraced racerback vests, swimsuits with carved-out midriff sections and peekaboo sides.
Thanks to a resurgence of platform sandals, there was an attendant resurgence of fancy socks – in fact, the average spend on socks went up 10 per cent. Fishnet? Way too vanilla by this year’s standards: think pom-pom trimmed, crushed velvet or printed with repeat-pattern unicorns. Best of all? This was one trend that cost as little as £3.50 from Topshop.
Waiter, waiter, there’s a fly in my soup. No there isn’t – there’s an expanse of crisp white fabric. At least, it was white this morning. Now, it’s tomato-hued. No amount of judicious napkin-tucking could save us from the perils of the voluminous sleeve this season. As part of a new, romantic mood sweeping in from the catwalk, they came in puff, bell, fluted and leg-of-mutton form, led by designers including JW Anderson and Jacquemus and emulated widely by the high street.
Fanny packs and bumbags – or, in the case of the posher, more conservative e-tailers, “belt bags” – were the runaway accessory hit of the year. Or would have been, had they been able to run away. Which they couldn’t, on account of being strapped safely round your middle. Gucci and Balenciaga kick-started the trend, ensuring that every American tourist’s favourite staple was reworked in a slew of luxurious fabrics, with velvet, lamé and suede being particular faves.
'I think I’m going to buy a Gucci belt,' said every fashion editor in the world ever this year, along with almost every celebrity
After what seemed like centuries of mooching around in jumpers, athleisure wear and other unstructured garb, we finally took it upon ourselves to smarten up. It was like every woman between the ages of 25 and 65 had a job interview, such was the sea of blazers that would greet the eye on any given occasion. No wonder Net-a-Porter claims blazers were one of their biggest selling trends of the year: 6,000 and counting. Led by the catwalk but taken up with great alacrity by the high street, we couldn’t get enough of Mango’s Prince of Wales checks, Zara’s array of different colours and Marks & Spencer’s classic double breasted blazer – worn with jeans, obvs, lest things get *too* smart.
Only the brave (and the rich) went for the £1,070 sports sock boots as espoused by Vetements – the rest of us made do with a slightly less out-there pair of red or black PVU ones from the high street. Did ever a boot look weirder or more sinister on the bedroom floor? Man repellers they may have been, but sock boots were surprisingly versatile on the leg, looking as good with cropped jeans as with midi dresses.
“I think I’m going to buy a Gucci belt,” said every fashion editor in the world ever this year, along with almost every celebrity. From Gucci’s double Gs to Chanel’s interlocking Cs to Louis Vuitton’s logo love-in with Supreme, 2017 was all about not only buying the brand, but crowing about it. Here’s to a more subtle 2018.