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 Fashion Trends 2004

  Autumn 2004/5 Winter

Part 2 - General Trends

By Pauline Weston Thomas for



Fashion Trends Autumn 2004 & Winter 2005


Trends Affecting Fashion in Autumn 2004 and Winter 2005

Comment - Fashion is ever cyclical.

If you have been following fashion trends this year of 2004 and shopping generally or scouring the summer sales, you will already know that fifties revived styles have been big fashion themes.  As far as retro fashion trends go, the fifties may be here to stay awhile.  From a mass market fashion point of view, of average priced typical clothing shops in UK at the time of writing (late June 2004) - French Connection, Top Shop, New Look, Oasis, Hennes, Dorothy Perkins, Jigsaw, Kaliko and Kew are just some of the makes that have all flirted with aspects of 1950's retro fashion styling. There is no doubt this will follow on as a fashion trend into autumn 2004 and winter 2005.

Not everyone likes 50's inspired fashion trends.  Many women over 45 feel they have seen the look before and many find it just a bit too young to get away with.  If however you are under 30, have a great waist and like the girliness of the styling, then the mood may be just for you.  If you are over 35 then be selective in what you choose going for the more classic aspects of the more grown up fashions.

But as cyclical fashion goes the 50s is being challenged by style elements from other decades such as the 1970s and the 1960s.  Several designers this season have even looked to the 1980s attempting to reinvent the broad shoulder and the larger sleeve head.  You are reading an original fashion article written by Pauline Weston Thomas© at ©.

Colour Cycles

All these eras had interesting colour cycles.  For example the 1960s had bright lively colours, especially jewel colours and used strong primary and bold secondary colours. The 1970s continued some of these tones to begin with, but as the decade progressed these moved toward earthier and softer more wistful tones such as aubergine and rust.  The 1980s began with some bright cheerful jewel tones, but by mid decade the rise of street style saw black reduce the colour palette to a shade card almost as dull as camouflage.  Minimal colour was the order of the day.  The murky and expensive tones of taupe and grey blended into the background by the 1990s.

Then the 1990s saw black and more black or camel or navy relieved only by bright plain pashmina shawls toward millennium eve. At the turn of the century there was also a great deal of iridescent fabric about and this sheen whether pearl or metallic on fabrics looks set to continue through part of the noughties.

Whichever revival attracts you, colour will be a strong feature of future fashion in the next few years.  For the noughties to set a look that marks the decade some changes such as embracing colour are essential.  At last it has happened and we can see the decade is moving toward change and will make its mark.  This gives us just enough time to embrace it fully with pleasure, before a designer decides to revive the 90s with black and even more black!!!


Bright Colour is Back

There is no doubt that in 2003 and 2004 women and girls began to look more feminine again as colourful and cheerful fabric prints have slowly crept back into a corner of most women's wardrobes.  Amid a sea of grey and beige the brighter colours are gaining favour with every age group.  Suddenly individuals are no longer shy of colour.  Bright is back.  The grey, beige or taupe look may sometimes be expensive looking dependant on fabric and cut and may comfort individuals to blend anonymously in cities, but it can be so deadly dull and drab. 

The likely big hits for next winter 2005 will be the fur collar/trim/stole or fur tippet, the winter weight poncho, the shoulder cape, the trench coat and following closely on from that, the belted tailored winter coat.  Already ponchos are flying out of stores. 

On a recent (June 2004) shopping trip I noticed woman after woman picking up a poncho in several different venues and taking the poncho to the checkout till.  The great bonus was of course that it did not even need to be tried on.  It was just a colour and texture choice.  Perfect for presents to others and oneself.  Let us hope that winter versions will appear in yarns and fabrics rather more luxurious and costly in appearance than some of the tacky acrylic yarn ponchos we have seen to date. 

The poncho is such a useful item, but I have only seen one quality poncho I would actually like to wear and would honestly consider purchasing.  The nicest quality autumn poncho I have seen is a soft lambswool angora mix one by Autograph, selling in selected Marks and Spencer stores and retailing at about £49.  Sadly it is not available on the internet even though others are available at the site.  If you want to spend £250-300 on one by say Joseph for example, you can certainly get better ponchos, but they are not in everyday high street shops yet.  Do let me know if you find attractive ones.

And don't forget those Ugg boots that some of you missed last winter.  There will be plenty of opportunity to buy this year's version as fur on the foot will be as popular as fur on the collar.

At long last there will be (for many like myself) a welcome return to the waist in its natural position and the demise of the low-rise waist in favour of high waist jeans.  When the waist returns, tailoring always returns too. 

Adult women are fed up of the low rise waist and too short tops that expose the midriff.  The fact that many younger women have started to wear little flounced waisted mini skirts over the top of low slung jeans or trousers suggests not so much a new fashion, but a practical cover up of a bare area that they women and girls no longer wish to have bare.  Ponchos that are long enough to cover the same below waist area have flown out of the stores in the past months.  Are customers trying to tell designers we've had enough of the low rise waist and want to cover it up.You are reading an original fashion article written by Pauline Weston Thomas© at ©.


General Fashion Look Trends For Autumn 2004 - Winter 2005

Equestrian Styling Trends 2004/2005

Parisian fashion shows in March 2004 showed international designers like Gaultier, Demeulemeester, and Helmut Lang often thinking alike as many added equestrian touches to their designs.  Equestrian styled trouser pocket flaps, traditional expensive looking tan riding boots and gleaming printed Hermes style scarf fabrics covered in equestrian references all add up to a winter where the horse will be a significant motif or theme in styling.  Metallic chains that emulate the horse bit and ring snaffles, already seen decorating handbags last autumn, will be to the fore.  Hardware on bags is the winter look for 2005.

Feminine Styles Get Masculine Touches

Many designers used pinstriped fabrics, tweeds and traditional fair isle patterning on knits for women, all elements borrowed from the boys and traditional masculine tailoring looks.

Headmistress Prim Trends 2004/2005

Marc Jacobs favoured a prim and proper look as did Donna Karan and Ralph Lauren.  Modesty panels of chiffon, where none might have existed before were seen on bodice fronts. The prim and proper ladylike look is set to be really big for autumn 2004 and winter 2005.  Modesty is back and over exposure of flesh is out.

Modern Romance Trends 2004/2005

Bows of all types from embroidered bows on necklines to traditional tied bows on corset style bodices will feature often, especially in knits.  Homage was paid to Marie Antoinette in the frills and styling of many an ensemble with colours that were reminiscent of the C18th.  Boots frilled with lace at the calf top were a pantomime like reference that was new and feminine.

Russian Military and Fur Themes Trends 2004/2005

Knit and fur used together was a feature of many shows.  The reference could have easily been from the heart of Mongolia and the tribes of Ghengis Khan or the Russian steppes and straight out of Dr. Zhivago on occasion.  Add to the fur look frog fastenings and Hussar hats and the Russian story lives again.  Prada and Moschino led some of these looks.

Silhouette Features to Watch in 2004/2005

Comme de Garçons decided that it was time to reinvent the gigot sleeve by letting the sleeves dangle from jackets from any point back or front.  Couple this with more voluminous layered silhouettes and larger shoulders that are broad and engulfing and dresses hemmed with fur or flounces and we have a striking larger silhouette that replaces the retro slender 70s line many have followed in the past few years.

Fringed edges and raw tweed turnings will be a texture return that defines the noughties.  Note that the bootcut trouser fashion shape is the most common shape in shops now, yet did not really exist at the turn of the century other than among the very fashion forward.  Look out for new skinny trouser leg and drainpipe shapes.

Accessories and Trims Trends 2004/2005

Accessories are back, particularly gloves as are animal print bags, chains with fake diamond charms, coloured metallic chains decorating dresses, ribbon threaded through knits, two tone black and white shoes, silver heeled boots, jewel heeled shoes, frilled and cuffed calf high boots and most notable of all, fur trimming everywhere, whether as a small tuft worked into a knit, a banding of fur at a coat hemline or an accessory.

Those who love trims will relish the ribbons and pretty detailing found not only on dresses, belts and bags, but also on shoes. 

Colourful giant suede bags from Pringle and bags embellished with multi colours or woven embroidered bags and holdalls will translate well to the high street.  Colourful patchwork elements will be a feature of many bags that also have contrast linings.  Fur bags will delight with their cosy texture.

Luxury yarn scarves and stoles in cashmere and alpaca or mohair, will come richly embellished with pearlized effects, embroidery or spangles.  Burnt out devore velvets will be a strong fashion as they look great in rich jewel tones.


Jewellery Trends 2004/2005

Pearls and more pearls at the neck.  Pearls of every pastel hue from small to large have renewed cache. Lavender and other pastel pearls will be popular.  Chandelier style earrings of shorter length than last year will abound, but probably wane in popularity in the next year.

Silver is still desirable, but other metallics and copper tones in costume jewellery are making inroads.  Meanwhile the gleam of gold is set to return.

Brooches are huge fashion news.  Use them to add life to any piece of clothing or any accessory.  Look out for tattoo effect brooches, snakes, lizards, dragons and reptile effects.

Jewels have also been used by many designers to encrust collars and belts. Some of us may prefer to just tone that down a little and stick to a more modest version of this by indulging ourselves in some shoes with jewelled heels, perfect for parties. You are reading an original fashion article written by Pauline Weston Thomas© at ©

See also more detail in Jewellery Trends for 2004 discussed in Accessories 2004.

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