Spring/Summer 2023 Fashion Trends: The 21 Looks Experts Are Backing

It’s time to talk spring/summer 2023 fashion trends! Spanning four cities, over 350 designer showcases and more celebrity model moments than you can shake a roll of body tape at, ask anyone in attendance, and they’ll tell you that Fashion Month was back at its biggest and brightest for spring/summer 2023. Having pivoted from perching on the front row to sitting in front of our laptops (cup of tea in hand) for the past few seasons, we expected some designers to entirely forgo the frivolity of “real-life” fashion shows in favour of the digital experience. This, however, was not the case; in fact, not a single virtual invitation landed in my inbox. Instead, with a 45% increase in shows compared to autumn/winter, designers appeared to come to the collective agreement that being together will always be better. And, my, did they make it worth washing our hair and putting on our best outfits for. 

As we’ve established, physically attending shows certainly has its charms, and we’re grateful that the jubilant omnipresence and full-blown spectacle had, for the most part, returned to Fashion Month. Still, it would be remiss of me not to mention perhaps the most desired guest at any runway: the smartphone. I hate to break it to you, but fashion editors aren’t time travellers. Silliness aside, the reality is we can only be in one place at any given time, and with the sheer volume of shows in different vicinities—heck, different cities—it’s impossible to be present at every single one. Cue social media, namely Instagram and TikTok, which gives us more access to the action than any backstage pass ever could and enables us to see every noteworthy second unfold as it happens. And spring/summer 2023 proved to be curated with viral moments in mind.

“The season was dominated by the competition between designers to achieve the best audience engagement through the biggest viral flash,” says Libby Page, all-round fashion expert and market director at Net-a-Porter. “Coperni was extremely imaginative with the sprayed-on dress worn by Bella Hadid for closing the show. Kim Kardashian at Dolce & Gabbana, Paris Hilton at Versace and Cher at Balmain demonstrated the power and influence celebrity endorsements have over the brand’s popularity.” However, it wasn’t just A-list sashays that made for excellent viewing; the sets and spaces in which the shows themselves were held were just as integral to the aesthetic as the clothes or, indeed, the celebrity talent. 

The iconic London skyline served as the Rejina Pyo backdrop, while Chanel created its very own black-and-white movie—starring its loyal ambassador Kristen Stewart, no less—that was projected upon a gargantuan screen, the scope of which can only be realised with the models walking in front of it for measurable context. “Courregès was a standout moment for me, seeing how they have evolved for S/S 23 and the show itself with the amazing set build and sand hourglass was a real highlight,” says Heather Gramston, head of womenswear at Browns. “Not a new name, but Khaite deserves a mention as my New York Fashion Week highlight. The gritty after-dark styling and addition of the snake print was genius; my favourite piece of the season is, without a doubt, the snake-print leather oversized trench.”

“I also thought Erdem’s show at the British Museum was incredibly powerful,” continues Page. “With the guests sat underneath the breathtaking pillars and perfect timing of the rain as soon as the show was over.” Ah, London; you never miss a beat.

Being quite literally on our doorstep, London’s offering always holds a special place in our hearts. For spring 2023, it was all the more poignant. This season, we saw a London Fashion Week like no other, as it fell during the official period of national mourning following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Some designers chose to postpone their shows—most notably Burberry, which has a long history of outfitting our country’s royalty. Those who did go ahead as planned paid their tributes to the monarch in truly idiosyncratic and meaningful ways. Richard Quinn, who was honoured by the Queen when she presented him with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design during his fashion week show in 2018, dedicated his S/S 23 collection to her. The show opened with an entirely black series of regal mourning gowns, paired with veils and crowns, as vintage footage of the Queen played on screens in the centre of the runway, subsequently capturing the quiet reflection that enveloped the usually bustling streets of the nation’s capital at that time. 

Just as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II assured in a televised address in 2020, we did indeed meet again. “After two years of pandemic-related disruptions, S/S 23 felt like the fashion world had finally returned to its busy and buzzy schedule,” says Morgane Le Caer, fashion expert and content editor at Lyst. But what are the top spring/summer fashion trends for 2023, I hear you exclaim? Well, let’s get right down to it.

“The collections were a sartorial tale of two extremes,” continues Le Caer. “Bright colours, gawdy metallics, and bold 3D florals clashed against 50 shades of black and white, elevated basics and contemporary formalwear—and the result was an exciting mix of decadent theatricality and pared-back designs.”

“For spring/summer 2023, we saw designers creating wearable yet interesting clothes, with a shift towards hard-working, effortless pieces,” says Liane Wiggins, head of womenswear at MATCHESFASHION. “In addition, there were redefined craft techniques not yet seen before, giving customers new reasons to invest in emotive yet wearable garments. It was a real shift to modern luxurious wardrobing and interesting, accessible tailoring to fit all lifestyles, which, after many seasons of high occasionwear, was refreshing to see.”

From my standpoint, there does feel to be a distinct shift from the extreme sexiness that has populated recent collections. Even sheer textiles, which remain very much a thing for spring 2023, are approached in an entirely different manner, worn with sweatshirts in place of sky-high heels. And what of the Y2K aesthetic? Although hints of it remain sprinkled throughout the season, a certain refinement now comes with it. Cargo trousers have been elevated with exquisite tailoring in lighter fabrications, while the S/S 23 take on the ’90s feels more Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy in Calvin Klein than, say, Cher Horowitz (who, in all fairness, also looked incredible in Calvin Klein). Still, that’s not to say there’s no fun to be had! As Le Caer surmises, the collections created a story with two endings: one of pared-back elegance and a focus on wardrobe fundamentals. The other? An explosion of fun and colour and shine and unapologetic maximalism! Halpern encapsulated this with its epic ’80s-themed party, to which everyone is invited. They may sit at opposite ends of the fashion spectrum, but the sentiment laid out by designers is clear; whatever aesthetic you choose, commit to it wholeheartedly.

Thinking back, many of the trends showcased this season were a continuation of those displayed on the autumn runways, ensuring that nothing we just recently splurged on will go to waste. This is, perhaps, the most important takeaway of them all. Fashion is cyclical—I know we say this all the time, but it’s true!—and any piece you invest in, be it inspired by the trends outlined below or otherwise, should only be purchased if you intend on keeping it in your wardrobe for a very, very long time.

Now, without further ado, keep reading for the the rundown of the most noteworthy spring/summer 2023 fashion trends as told by the experts, including some of my esteemed colleagues.

“Spring/summer 2023 marks the reinstatement of simplicity and everyday dressing to our wardrobes, with brands such as Bottega Veneta, Valentino, The Row and Ferragamo embracing simplicity across their collections and are clearly anticipating that customers will be adopting this approach to dressing. The mood also translated into non-apparel, including wrist-length gloves, ruched socks with simple plimsolls and Loewe’s pared-back logo tote, leading us to back this style with almost 500 units across eight variations,” says Libby Page, market director and style expert at Net-a-Porter.

The blazer on every fashion editor’s wish list. 

“In-house, we call this trend ‘Magpie Moments,’ a continuation from winter’s annual trophy dressing but less about full sequin looks and more about adding liquid shine and turning the simplest of everyday items into styles to standout in,” says Page. 

This will look incredibly chic styled with a white shirt and black slingback shoes. 

“It’s no surprise that a post-lockdown world is leaning towards more relaxed silhouettes, especially when it comes to our denim choices. I spend a lot of my days on social media (for work, naturally), and the jeans styles that I’m seeing across TikTok, Instagram and Pinterest are so relaxed they might as well be joggers. As the world’s number one fan of wide-leg trousers, I’m so happy that the grip skinny jeans had on us is finally over. Now, for the real stuff—this denim style can feel quite daunting if you’re new to it. Me? I’ll be taking styling cues from the master of jeans himself, Asake. IYKYK. And if you don’t, you’re in for a treat when you Google ‘Asake jeans’,” says Joy Ejaria, social media editor at Who What Wear UK. 

The perfect wash and the perfect fit. 

“Big bags have become a favourite among celebrities, and Saint Laurent’s quilted Icare tote became a trending product for the brand after it was worn by Zoë Kravitz and Hailey Bieber—searches spiked 145% in August after Bella Hadid was spotted carrying it,” says Morgane Le Caer, fashion expert and content editor at Lyst..

There are plenty of designer options to tempt you, but I can’t fault this style from COS. 

“Crochet featured in so many collections, from The Row to Gabriela Hearst and Proenza Schouler, and spoke as part of a larger and refined craftsmanship trend. We especially loved Proenza Schouler’s gold metallic crochet midi skirts, halter-neck tops and flared trousers,” says Wiggins.  

Love this cardigan? Just wait until you see the matching skirt. 

A subtle move on from Kelly green—a true grass green—if I had an hour to spare, I could list all the designers that included zesty shades in their collections. Instead, I’ll leave you with some more impressive numbers.”There was an average of 39,000 page views each month this year for green products on Lyst,” says Le Caer.Coincidence? There’s no such thing. 

A dress you can genuinely wear from now until July. 

“For spring 2023, there was a more surrealist interpretation with standout 3D designs and runway looks embellished with floral motifs. Standouts included provocative sculptural flowers on mini and maxi dresses paired with bold leaf shoes,” says Page.

Give your existing wares the 3D floral treatment with this incredible choker necklace. 

“The movement could be traced back to Jonathan Anderson’s cult-adored blur-print tube dresses from Loewe last summer—the designer kick-started a revival for formfitting trompe l’oeil and cyber prints, and the look appears to be holding strong for S/S 23. But there is also another side to this creative coin; I’ve noticed an air of bohemia for smudgy surface patterns, with some designers combining lighter-weight, billowing fabrics alongside painterly ombrés to great effect. It’s very ‘I work in the arts, darling.'” 

I can think of three top-tier influencers who already own this dress. 

“We saw the ’90s and ’00s, be that grunge or minimalism, firmly returning to fashion with denim maxi skirts, bomber jackets and biker jackets. We have invested in nine styles from both the runway and true denim brands to scout out the perfect fit, length and wash,” says Page.

You can practically taste the teenage angst coming off of this gauzy layering top. 

According to Le Caer, post–Fashion Month searches for trousers were up 55% on Lyst. That tells me all I need to know. 

If you’re new to the wide-leg trouser trend, Reformation’s bestselling Mason pants are a great place to start. 

“It seems this season is upping the ante when it comes to wearing whites, forging newfound design methods and experimenting with untraditional fabrics for the season. Of course, the real challenge is not how to style a colour so brilliantly simple but how to keep it clean. My advice? Stay clear of all coloured foods, children and the Central Line,” adds Rhys-Evans.

This dress silhouette complete with draping to the waistline feels particularly current. 

It’s been a long, long time since knee-length skirts provided any sort of competition for midis, so this might take a minute to filter into the mainstream—stay tuned.

Look for details like wrapover fronts and buckles to make your knee skirt feel more modern. 

“From Molly Goddard’s diaphanous skirts to Giambattista Valli’s embellished minis, it’s time to step into the world of the living doll, a candy-coloured world of ribbons, ruffles and plenty of drama, as the fresh, new season opens with childlike joie de vivre. Simply dust off your Mary Janes and knee-high socks, and enjoy the all of the petticoats and frou-frou that we ironically hated as children but cannot wait to repurpose as adults,” adds Farrell. 

When it comes to doll-like dresses, independent brand Selkie simply can’t be beaten. Plus, every design is size inclusive; this particular dress is available in XXS to 6X. 

“Although they’ve been cropping up on runways and amongst the street style set for a few seasons now, it’s clear that, for S/S 23, ballet flats are back in a big way—and I’m okay with it. Yes, it makes sense to save these precious shoes for a day when no rain is forecast, but the elegance they lend to any outfit makes those limitations completely worth it. This season sees classic leather put on the back burner (although, they’ll always be chic) in place of luxurious satin and printed fabric styles, which promise to lend their French-girl appeal to any jeans or dress outfit you’re looking to freshen up for the months ahead,” says Emily Dawes, affiliate editor at Who What Wear UK.

Metallic finishes make this shoe trend feel so fresh. 

If, however, the idea of a yellow all-in-one feels somewhat daunting, there is an easy way to tap into the motocross energy. “The moto jacket is on our S/S 23 wish list following the vintage-inspired options that walked the runway this season,” says Page. “Leather jackets are leading the nouveau grunge trend, with Masha Popova, Knwls and Gucci bringing strong seasonal updates,” says Gramston. See? Easy!

If in doubt, you can’t go wrong with classic black leather. 

“Sheer fashion dominated the trends conversations for S/S 23 as seen at Simone Rocha, Christopher Kane, Rick Owens and Molly Goddard. We loved Molly Goddard’s romantic take on the trend, featuring her signature ruffle details on sheer orange midi dresses,” says Wiggins.

I’ve seen this in real life, and it looks even more beautiful. 

“I’m not one for necklaces, statement rings or wrist stacks, but earrings? Earrings I can get on board with. In my opinion, nothing sets an outfit off better than a shoulder-skimming pair. Fortunately, it was this particular accessory that so many designers used to elevate their designs for S/S 23. Whether you opt for an elegant bejewelled drop like Magda Butrym, Ralph Lauren and Nensi Dojaka, or a more extravagant pair like those seen at Louis Vuitton or Tory Burch, it’s time to give your plain gold hoops a rest and go big for the season ahead,” says Dawes.

If I didn’t know otherwise, I would have thought these were designer. 

“If there’s one dress update you consider for 2023, it’s this: a dress with a train. Yes, you read that right. Formerly reserved for brides or the red carpet, trains are big news for spring/summer thanks to designers like Bally and Victoria Beckham, who showcased everything from minis to maxis with cascading details. Choose an ice-cream shade (I was particularly taken with the pistachio at ACNE and soft orange sorbet at Giambattista Valli) and a slinky material for maximum impact before adding polished accessories. I can’t wait to dip my toe into this trend ahead of wedding season and will be choosing a style with an interesting neckline to keep things on the contemporary side,” says Poppy Nash, managing editor at Who What Wear UK.

I’d really, really love to own this Prada dress. 

Clearly, these monochromatic looks made an instant impact, too. “Searches for red pieces increased by 29% on Lyst in October,” says Le Caer. 

The cutouts, pleats, puff sleeves and tie-back detail make this saffron dress a real showstopper. 

“Combine this design shift with the fact that we’re moving into a fifth wave of feminism where many predisposed notions and ideologies tied up with previous movements are being flipped on their head, and this is less burn-the-bra and more for-goodness-sake-what-does-it-matter-if-I-show-my-bra? Maybe it’s that I’m getting older and giving less of a damn, perhaps it’s the ongoing body confidence messaging I see on social media, or maybe it’s that we should all be allowed to wear what we want, when we want. Whatever the reason, I’m into it,” adds Almassi.

Textures such as satin and velvet loan themselves especially well to this look. 

“This season, we saw the revival of the bubble skirt. Styled with printed snakeskin and powerful shoulders at Khaite, longer versions at Proenza Schouler reimagined with a low-waist silhouette and Simone Rocha’s metallic mini bubble; these were all highlights,” says Wiggins.

The colour! The fit! The shine! 

Next Up: The 9 New-In Pieces I’m Adding to My Wish List This Week