It seems that after a decade of embracing skinny jeans, jeggings, bodycon dresses, and all manner of stretchy and slim-fit clothing, we’re collectively outgrowing skinny fashion and headed in a more voluminous sartorial direction.
The signs have been all around us. The Wall Street Journal predicted the phasing-out of skinny jeans back in October 2014, when it ran a piece about the rising popularity of roomier denim styles, such as the classic Levi’s 501s and other “boyfriend” fits. Vintage pairs were spotted on influencers during Paris Fashion Week that year, and the publication reported that mainstream denim tastemakers like Citizens of Humanity and Urban Outfitters’ Urban Renewal website were encouraging wider proportions by peddling new and vintage loose-fit offerings.
The seams are being taken out when it comes to men’s fashion, too. In October, J. Crew announced it would be widening its neckties by a quarter inch, suggesting a shift back in the direction of more traditional and less tapered menswear.
Now, The Wall Street Journal is revisiting its earlier observation, this time pointing to many of the 2017 fall and resort collections by major labels like Céline, Monse, and Stella McCartney, which are dominated by “roomy trousers, the lavishly loose tops and … voluminous dresses.” Even Roopal Patel, senior vice president and fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue, confirmed to the publication, “There’s been a shift in proportion. The woman who lives in pants has been looking for something exciting, because for a long time it’s been the same. With [wider styles], there’s a reason to buy pants. It’s new and it’s fresh.”
Women’s Wear Daily pointed out volume as a trend for resort collections back in 2015. “Whether structured or fluid,  resort looks featured ample proportions and an elegant flair,” the publication said, pointing to billowing pieces by Chanel, Rocha, and Balenciaga. Stylecaster pointed to the flowing styles that were seen all over the runways at the Spring 2016 New York Fashion Week, including puffy shirts, loose linen pants, and pajamas-inspired daywear.
While this sizable change in the industry may be good news to risk-takers and the naturally fashion-forward, it could also be troublesome to the everywoman. Now that we’ve been wearing skinny fashion for so long, and slim cuts hold court in our closets, how do we just start dressing differently? The Wall Street Journal admits that adopting larger proportions can be challenging for many women. Certain principles need to be obeyed in order to prevent looking “lost in your clothes.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, “a good cut is paramount: The key to wearing volume successfully is understanding how it relates to the body.” The publication notes that when wearing billowing garments, care should be taken to accentuate key areas of the female form. “Even if your pants pool around your ankles in a swirl of fabric, they should delineate your waist,” the publication says. “When pairing a voluminous top with a voluminous bottom, it’s crucial to draw attention to either a bit of skin — a collarbone, say — or a slimmer part of the body, whether that’s the ankles, arms or waist, to avoid looking lost in your clothes.”
Designer Fernando Garcia of Monse told The Wall Street Journal, “It all depends on how you style it. You have to have balance.” He offered a few ways to streamline ample garments, including wearing baggy cargo pants with a tighter top and feminine heels or cinching the waist of an ultra loose-fitting dress with a wide belt that draws the eye in. “See the wisdom in a belt,” the publication suggested.
Still afraid of looking frumpy? Advocates of roomier fashion insist that you can look and feel just as sexy in broader proportions and clothes that have volume. Designer Rosie Assoulin, interviewed by The Wall Street Journal says it’s all about the idea of “sensual” as opposed to “sexy.” She told the publication, “There’s something very sensual about the way fabric moves when you move. The sort of thing that is conventionally sexy, something very tight for example, is not what I consider sexy.”
Wearing wider proportions can simply be freeing, too, those interviewed by The Wall Street Journal suggest. Comfort and liberation are inherently sexy. And speaking of liberation, the shift toward roomier styles may also be a sign that the fashion industry is finally embracing women of all sizes and shapes. During recent trunk shows, designer Assoulin noted that a significant number of customers responded enthusiastically to her widely proportioned green-and-white plaid dress, which has a structured corselet waist, according to The Wall Street Journal. “Normally you’re with the fit model and you know how it looks on her,” Ms. Assoulin said, “but seeing this on different body types was great because it’s flattering on everyone.”