, How to Dress Modern, Outdressing

How to Dress Modern

Fashion design is an artform dedicated to the creation of clothing and accessories. Modern fashion design is separated into two basic classifications: haute couture and ready-to-wear. The haute couture category is dedicated to certain customers, predominantly high class and is custom sized to fit these customers exactly. 

Ready-to-wear is the more suited to the general public with many styles off the runway made fast, cheap, and available. 


Fashion is often thought of as a Western world phenomenon from the late Middle Ages. But fashion-oriented behavior existed in some other societies and historical periods, such as the Tang Dynasty in China and the Heian Period in Japan. 

For example, in the eleventh-century Japanese court, “imamekashi” was a term of praise used to describe something up to date or fashionable. 

By the fourteenth century, a regular pattern of stylistic change with respect to dress and interior decoration existed in Europe. The first fashion magazine is thought to have been started in 1586 in Frankfurt, Germany. In the seventeenth century, Paris was considered the capital of European fashion, and the source of most new styles in women’s dress. 

By the eighteenth century, fashions in men’s clothing originated from London.

The 19th century saw the first fashion designer. He was a simple seamster named Charles Frederick Worth. Before he put up his fashion house in Paris, garments sewn by unknown dressmakers and fashion standards were based on the designs worn by royalty. 

Worth became the first designer to dictate to his customers what to wear, not following their demands. This the first time a designer was making trends in fashion for the masses. His fashion house was so well-known that people started to attach a face and a name to designs when they knew they were from the House of Worth. 

This was the start of the tradition to have a designer of a fashion house not only create clothing, but also represent the symbol of the brand.

“La mode” is the French word for fashion. Numerous scholars think there is a connection between la mode (fashion) and la modernité (the stylistic qualities of what is modern). The number of people following fashion expanded greatly in the modern era. It began in the nineteenth century, due to the spread of democracy and the rise of industrialization. 

The later nineteenth century witnessed both the mass-production of ready-to-wear clothing and the development in Paris of the haute couture. Famous Paris couturiers of the twentieth century include Coco Chanel, Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent.


Ready-to-wear collections are standard sized, not custom made. It makes these more suitable for large production runs. They are also divided into two categories which are designer and confection collections. Designer collections have higher quality cloth and better finish as well as a unique design. They often represent a certain philosophy and are created to make a statement rather than to make a sale. Both haute-couture and ready-to-wear collections are shown on international catwalks.

t is widely believed that there is such a huge difference between high fashion and ordinary clothes, but this is not the case. Designers such as Chanel and Dior sold expensive fashionable clothes to a fairly small number of people, but their designs were widely copied by manufacturers. They sold the knock-off clothing for a fraction of the price of the originals to a much more extensive range of consumers.

Another popular falsehood is that men don’t wear fashion. It is true that men’s clothing changes more slowly and subtly than women’s clothing, but it follows the fashion. For example, in the 1980s, Giorgio Armani designed fashionable men’s suits and jackets. It had a profound influence on menswear collectively. 

Lastly, it is widely assumed that changes in fashion reflect societal changes or the financial interests of fashion designers and manufacturers. Recent research indicates that internal taste mechanisms exist. This pushes changes in fashion even in the absence of significant social change. Something relevant to this is Stanley Lieberman’s research on fashions in children’s first names which are clearly unaffected by commercial interests. No advertisers encourage the choosing of names such as Rebecca, Zoe, or Christopher, but they have become fashionable anyway.

2020 Spring/Summer Trends

The spring/summer 2020 runways were remarkably more commercial than usual, with a focus on classic buys rather than imaginative and artistic creations. This could potentially fall into the fad or impractical category. Every fashion buyer has used the word “realistic” as the overarching theme. Another buzzword for spring 2020 fashion was “wearability”, a word used to describe clothes, given it is their basic function. Elizabeth von der Goltz, Global Buying Director at Net-a-Porter, said that, “The large majority of the runway collections have been incredibly wearable, the brands have showcased the ultimate wardrobing heroes in a new and interesting way: the suit, the Bermuda short, the white shirt, the tank top…” 

90’s Minimalism

The 90’s have been a source of inspiration for the past couple of seasons. Instead of tiny sunglasses or bold prints, designers are more focused on simple styles that reflect clean lines and relaxed tailoring. Pieces included silks, halter-tops, slip dresses, box blazers, leather accessories, and naked knitwear. Fashion buyers remarked that there was a return to minimalist dressing that had monochromatic tones which made big statements. 

Polka dots

Polka dots are moving back into fashion as designers like Gucci, Marc Jacobs, and Richard Quinn brought back the classic polka print. They experimented with different color combinations which moved from the traditional navy and cream color combination. Clothing from Zara is also featuring differently sized polka dots. It is expected to become more viral as time goes by. 

Summer leather

Strangely enough, leather has come into fashion for the season. This shows that the boundaries between each season are less defined. Designers have started playing with more lightweight fabric, and lighter shades. For example, Bottega Veneta released Bermuda shorts in leather. 

Statement Suits

, How to Dress Modern, Outdressing

Suits have become more prominent in the spring 2020 collections. Victoria Beckham and Kwaidan Editions feature relaxed tailoring and menswear-inspired oversized fits. The tailoring doesn’t just mean classic trouser suits, short suits and skirt suits have become a key street style trend in 2020. 

Jungle Prints

The jungle leaf Versace dress worn by Jennifer Lopez is a big inspiration for this trend. Fendi and Dolce and Gabanna have featured luxurious green leaves in their designs. Marni has also featured abstract blooms, tropical prints, and palm trees in vivid colors on various pieces like dresses, jackets, and footwear. 

Scooped, squares, and slashed necklines

With necklines this season, it’s all about showing as much shoulder and as much cleavage. Scooped, squared, and slashed necklines are heavily featured. Mui Mui has off-shoulder cardigans while Jacquemus has low knits as key styles. Khaite’s Maddy ribbed-knit tops proved to be a best seller during the season. 

Statement collars

Wide, pointed statement collars appeared on coats, shirts, and blazers. Many are using zesty or contrasting colors to really exaggerate the lapel. Victoria Beckham and JW Anderson are prominently featuring this in their lines. 

Bermuda shorts

Max Mara and Chloé featured Bermuda shorts in their collections. They were either worn as part of a suit or separately. This makes this trend a trans-seasonal look that gives options to mix and layer. More leather shorts may be a highlight in the next season.  

Updated Trench Coats

Designers like JW Anderson aren’t done with reinventing the trench coat just yet. The spring essential is going to be extra playful than ever in 2020. Key iterations include the split-sleeved coat at JW Anderson and the blazer-meets-trench at Loewe. Popular items from Proenza Schouler and Loewe contributed to a 140% spike in trench coat sales making a must-have for the season. 

Tank tops, body tops, and bras

According to Moda Operandi, fitted tank tops, bodysuits, and crop tops accounted for 20% of its total top sales for spring/summer 20. Many of these crop tops are so tiny there are more like bras. The likes of Dior, Fendi and Loewe made a case for wearing the bra as a top. The racer-back tank top is also going strong for 2020.

White Summer Dress

, How to Dress Modern, Outdressing
Photo by aeworld.com

Another staple returns to the runway in the iteration of the white summer dress. designers have reimagined in line with the “keep it simple but never boring” mantra. Valentino opened his show with several white cotton dresses. Loewe also featured draped midis and Jonathan Simkhai had white maxi dresses. 


Now this is an item that may terrify many and bring back ’00s flashbacks. The waistcoat is making a comeback thanks to the abundance of tailoring on offer for spring. Several designers including Max Mara, Louis Vuitton and Gucci layered them as part of a three-piece suit. However, Hedi Slimane for Celine provided the coolest styling inspiration, with an unbuttoned black waistcoat layered over a white blouse.

Polo Shirts

Preppy polo shirts are also a good buy for 2020. Albus Lumen, Prada, and Gabriella Hearst created chic, minimal knitted polos either meant for work or the weekend. It seems like it’s going to be a staple wardrobe piece. 

Little Black Dresses

, How to Dress Modern, Outdressing

Many designers revisited classic wardrobe building blocks for spring 2020. One of the items that has been reimagined the most is the little black dress. For example, Versace opened its show with three little black dresses. Moda Operandi found that over 75% of all runway trunk shows had at least one black dress in the collection.

Thong sandals

One of the top sandal styles for 2020 is thong sandals. These sandals come under the umbrella of ’90s minimalism. There is already an inclination for this shoe style, as Net-a-Porter notes that last March it created a capsule with Gianvito Rossi and sold 1600 pairs of thong sandals in a week. 

Chain necklaces

Chain necklaces have been a micro-trend for several seasons however, this spring, they are set to be even more popular. This is a fashion that never goes out of style, the gold chain necklace. Net-a-Porter has purchased over 840 chain necklaces for spring, with fine trinket options by Lauren Rubinski, Spinelli, Foundrae and Jessica McCormack. These accessories compliment any outfit. It’s worn alone or with a collection of other jewels or with two or more chains for a dramatic twist.

Shoes with anklets

, How to Dress Modern, Outdressing
Photo by glowsly.com

With the popularity of chain necklaces comes another Bottega Venta accessories triumph: shoes adorned with chain anklets. The Bottega mesh shoes with a chain around the ankle were a huge success in autumn, and they’re back for spring with a thicker, more dominant chain. Gucci and Alighieri have also designed shoes with built-in anklets.

90’s shoulder bags and grown-up rattan bags

Baguette bags will continue to dominate in 2020. By Far, Bottega Veneta and The Row are continuously interpreting this classic ’90s accessory. Basket and rattan bags aren’t surprising additions to the spring/summer trends roundup. This summer, they are going to be particularly elevated and grown-up. Moda Operandi identified raffia weave as a feature that most of the top sellers had in common. This is a trend Anna Wintour is particularly eager for 2020, as she said, “We’re seeing a lot of linen and raffia fabrics that are very organic and natural.”

Colors that frequented the runway were ivory, neons, and sunset colors. 

Instead of sharp white, ivory and softer light shades demonstrated to be popular in the spring/summer 2020 collections. Von der Goltz mentioned that this season reflected a lot of mixed ivory and white, and lots of layering, creating exceptionally soft and beautiful ensembles. She also said that fresh whites is always a classic way to style out spring and summer seasonal dressing.

Fluoro neon shades have been prominent on the runway for several seasons. This season featured a more refined spin on neon, with highlighter gowns and dresses. “Standout styles for us included Valentino’s pairing of tone-on-tone bags with belts, diamonds-meet-neon jewelry from Melissa Kaye and EÉRA, and Kwaidan Editions’ highlighter-green power suit,” says MyTheresa’s Tiffany Hsu. 

The spring/summer 2020 color palette resembles a tequila sunrise with vivid oranges dominated, interspersed with bright pinks and yellows. Hsu observed the uplifted tailoring in warm tangerine with Gabriela Hearst and Daniel Lee’s Bottega Veneta marmalade interpretation of the leather summer dress. She was also taken by a double-breasted coat in neon orange with pale blue embroidery that was designed by Prada.

Achieving the Look


Joanna Hillman, Harper’s Bazaar’s senior fashion market editor, has taken layering to the next level with her use of a chunky scarf, skillful pattern mingling, and warm color palette. To make this work, one needs to think about how each layer works together. She used warm brown tones in her outfit to pick up the red tones of her scarf while the black and white striped shirt grounds the look and adds lightness. 

A baggy scarf and slightly larger blazer contrast with the skinny leg and tapered pants which create balance in the silhouette. Slim-cut pants, a shirt, and an oversized blazer pairing are simple elements to layering. 

Playing with Color

Adding color into the wardrobe is an easy way to add some style. Street style stars in the past have done brightly colored suits, tonal looks, and color blocking with contrasting colors. An easy way to incorporate color is by using one statement piece and wearing other neutral clothing with it to make the statement. 


Graphic patterns pop up frequently on the street style track. Black and white is a perpetual classic. One can mix different patterns together. Also, wearing patterns in the same color family or just wearing two pieces with differently sized patterns on them will keep the pattern mixing from becoming too messy. 


Crazy embellishment is a trademark of modern street style. Choosing pieces that have any kind of 3D embellishment on them. These include lace, embroidery, sequins, or feathers which offer an automatic style upgrade. Because of the work involved in these embellished pieces, they tend to be a little pricier. Not to worry because an easy way to incorporate embellishment into one’s outfits is through the use of accessories. Lucky Brand and Anthropologie are great stores to go to.


When it comes down to it, the street style looks that are easiest to replicate. They are probably the ones most people actually wear on a day-to-day basis. The key to making street style work forever is having clothing that fit the body well. Anything too oversized, too tight, or too short will immediately look less put-together. If one needs to stock up on high-quality basics, consider spending a little more money on pieces that will last longer. Burberry is well known for their trench coats. Other brands that do minimalist and simple clothing well include COS and Whistles.

Use Street Style Images or the Internet for Inspiration

There’s so much inspiration that can be taken from modern street style images or the runway. Always keep in mind that what works well for the women in the pictures might not be a good fit for other people’s body type or lifestyle. It’s advisable to pick and choose what one likes to take from each image or look and have fun with it. 

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