From model-off-duty to effortless glam, fashion has turned to the casual girl-next-door for new, fresh and toned-down looks. Dressing down instead of dressing to the nines has become much more than an excuse for a lazy day — it’s become a fashion statement. The effortless look has always been in, but with the introduction of mixing athleisure and statement pieces —- such as combining sheer cut out leggings and a daring leather jacket — becoming more commonplace, dressing up seems to be exclusively reserved for more formal events rather than day-to-day life.
On the runways, designers have embraced the casual yet tasteful details that make an outfit. Since athleisure entered high fashion, the main focus has been pulled from the clothing to the details — jewelry, caps, scarves and socks. In Max Mara’s Spring 2017 collection, the subdued tropical print, matching cap and daring black sunglasses took the look from gym-worthy to day-to-day worthy. Using accessories to build an outfit explains the popularity of the choker trend — it elevates casual outfits for a night out. Another option is to tie a scarf loosely to bring even the most comfortable plain skinnies and equally plain tank to life.
Rihanna is a prime example of how dressing down or dressing up can look fashionable. She dropped some jaws in a floor-length fur skirt and glitzy orange crop top combo and turned heads in her Fenty Puma by Rihanna collection sweatsuit and flashy white thigh-highs. Apart from the different outfit choices, accessories create subtle details and give even comfortable sweats the aura of a red carpet ball gown.
Of course dressing up doesn’t exclusively entail a floor-length gown and heels, but this new focus on keeping things toned down — specifically, gravitating towards elevated casual, sporty looks rather than towards dresses and formal pieces — seems to be the new definition of dressed to the nines. It’s a new age of comfort, allowing you to say “yes” to yoga pants on a night out or to a tracksuit to New York Fashion Week. This acceptance of low-key style reflects the range of fashion that spans from keeping things casual to going all out. The dominance of athleisure and dressing down doesn’t mean it’s the end of glitz and glam. Instead, fashion seems to be going back to its roots — feeling and looking good.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Feb. 27 print edition.
Email Liv Chai at [email protected]