The gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free craze has spilled over into fashion. We are no longer seeing unwearable collections filled with confections; designers are taking their cues from the streets and real people, stripping the additives and leaving the essentials. Is this art imitating life or an excuse to let ourselves go?
The answer probably lies somewhere in between with a byproduct of wearable and accessible fashion. The new shapes shown in the fall and spring shows were voluminous and forgiving, made with jersey and other fabrics that beautifully drape, stretch, and are focused on comfort.
This comfort-is-king trend could be attributed to our growth (literally) as a society: 1 in 3 adults in the US is considered obese. Do our larger bodies require stretchable material, or are designers merely trying to take advantage of a growing market? Active wear sales are growing more than four times as fast as the $201 billion U.S. apparel industry. Profitability, coupled with an off-the -chart cool factor, makes this trend a no-brainer.
Everyone wins because athletic shoes of all styles and colors are currently fashionable – rejoice! The sweat pant has made its way to the runway in every fabric imaginable and knitwear rules the day. This isn’t walk-around–in-your-yoga-pants-all-day fashion. Today’s style feels pared-down and utilitarian but with beautiful finishes and is reimagined by the most creative people to look and feel special.
Differentiation in materials is the only thing separating current high-end fashion from the mainstream. The Row and Marc Jacobs created knitwear in the finest materials (think cashmere) but you can recreate these looks at Anthropologie and Zara for a fraction of the price. Fashionistas are walking around in leather “sweats” and street style looks feature fur/shearling jackets in all shapes. The good news is that coated denim looks like leather and faux is not only as acceptable but responsible, both ethically and for your bank account.
Regardless of your personal level of gluttony, current fashion speaks to and enhances the everyday woman. It has never been easier to recreate the looks of the runway in an imaginative and economical way. My advice is not to overthink it and enjoy. Today’s fashion is totally relevant, totally cool and totally glutton-free.
By Jamie Banks