Part of what fascinates me in writing about lingerie is why people buy the things they do. Why did velvet just take off this past season? Why has the strappy bra trend refused to die? Can we ever escape the all-encompassing reign of black mesh lingerie? Is what we buy dictated by lingerie trends?
Whether we want to believe it or not, everyone’s actions are controlled by trends. It's what keeps the lingerie industry going. Once a new season hits, you're left to pick out the stuff that is special and try to ignore the rest. Hopefully, the 2018 trends will work in your favor.
Today I’m going to go over some of the more significant lingerie trends of 2017, for better or for worse. Plus I'll highlight some of the upcoming trends and a few standout pieces that are worth the wait.
Trends With Staying Power:
Trend #1: Bondage Inspired Lingerie
I have some deeply mixed feelings about this trend, both on a personal and industry-wide level. The “strappy” lingerie trend initially broke through due to some incredibly creative designers who don’t get their due. If you look hard, they’re still out there doing their thing, but they’re harder to see. If you want to check out the best version, take a look at people like Creepy Yeha and Marlies Dekkers who are using the style to create truly artistic pieces that make strong statements about women and their power. On the flip side, look at, well, everything else.
You can’t throw a metaphorical internet rock these days without hitting a cheap black bondage-inspired bra with flimsy elastic. And now this trend has reached plus sizes. Many smaller brands are doubling down on their plus size styles rather than expanding into other looks, which is especially frustrating. The best brands are doing something fresh and new (such as Elomi’s Nicole bra), but most are sticking to the least original iteration of this trend. It won’t go away next season either, so be prepared to skip it or sort through lots of bad to get to the great.
Trend #2: Bralettes
I’ve have written so much about the good and bad behind bralettes this year. But whatever you think of them know that they are here to stay. Financially, they’re a win for everyone. They’re less expensive to produce, simple to market as a comfy underwire bra replacement for everyone, and they sell like crazy. There are several companies now devoted to making bralettes in a wide range of sizes. And they're lovely and artistic while being honest about their lifting and shaping capabilities. Much like the bondage trend, it’s easy to find watered down versions everywhere. If you're new to bralettes, put some effort into finding the best pieces.
Trend #3: Velvet
Velvet was everywhere this season, so much so that there have been numerous articles written on The Breast Life about it by multiple contributors. Much like other trends, velvet has shown up everywhere from your local Target to sublime silk velvet creations from indie designers. And consumers are buying up all versions at every price point. While we’ll see less of this fabric during the spring and summer, I predict it will be back when the weather turns cold again.
Trend #4: Black Mesh Everywhere
I feel like something is wrong with me or like I missed the boat on black mesh lingerie. Everyone I know raves about it and can’t stop buying it, but it leaves me kind of cold. Hopefully, you aren’t like me, because more lines are planning to continue producing black mesh and bondage-inspired fusion pieces far into next season! If you do want to try out a less standard version of it, check out designers like Erica M who were doing this way before it was cool.
Trend #5: The Basic Doubledown
If there was one common theme I heard from PR people this season, it was a request to feel free to ignore their fashion offerings. Lots of the big companies were using this year to beef up press for their core collections. They're also releasing more lux versions of classic pieces to expose them to a new audience. I ended up with more of these basics this season than ever before (I now own four). And I also have a new appreciation for several lines as a result.
What to Look For in 2018:
First of all, let’s cover the mysterious fashion trend institute that will dictate what color you wear for the next year of your life: the Pantone color of the year is Ultra Violet. While this sounds exciting and potentially “complex,” “contemplative” and “enigmatic” per the Pantone website, it just means that you should like the color dark purple.
While I’ve already highlighted some trends with serious longevity, let’s look at some of the new arrivals this season.
Trend # 1: Alternative Leopard Print (or Leopard Print for Leopard Print Haters)
I am a proud card-carrying leopard print hater, and even I have pre-ordered a leopard print bra for next season. Lots of companies this season were showing delicate versions of the classic animal print, which may convert a whole new crop of leopard print haters into fans.
Fantasie Aimee Bra
Trend #2: Formal Wear is Loungewear and is Also Activewear
Each season, we see the lines blurring between what we wear in private and public. Luxurious silk and velvet pieces double as loungewear and opera wear, while loungewear and athletic wear are continuing to blend even more than before. For plus sizes, this is fantastic news: several wonderfully innovative clothing companies like Universal Standard are now producing both loungewear and activewear, giving us more options than ever before.
On the high-end, it means that luxury companies realize that most consumers want to wear that insanely expensive robe they bought somewhere other than their kitchen. And they are designing pieces with multiple uses in mind. No matter your tastes and budget, you’ll have more options than ever this season.
Trend #3: Custom Prints
Digital fabric design and printing have given every lingerie company access to the ability to design exclusive fabric and prints. We still see this most often with floral prints, but some companies like Only Hearts are pushing things further into boundary-breaking statement prints. I’m fascinated to see more companies embrace this option going forward, as it opens even more ways for designers to make their mark.Moonlight Tunic via Christine Lingerie
Trend #4: Beige Gets a Makeover
Beige has always been the favorite workhorse lingerie color, so it’s interesting to see the rise of increasingly glamorous styles in this color. And there's newfound popularity of “champagne," which is usually just beige dressed up. If you’re looking to replace your basics with something more elegant, this is the season to do so.
Trend #5: Size Expansions
Several lines are expanding their sizes this spring, most notably Playful Promises (who will now carry H cup bras). It follows several years of big-name companies trying to figure out how to work their way into both full-bust and plus-sizes, with some editing along the way as they analyze sales data. If you see a design that you love that is part of a new size expansion, buy it quickly and at full price if you can. That’s the best way to give feedback to companies about what to keep and what to cut!
What do you think of these lingerie trends? Which ones will you wear in 2018?