In a time where there was little to rejoice about, the clothing of 2020 was beautifully imaginative and celebratory. Without the usual water-cooler chitchat, statement collars and novelty sweaters were ways to put a smile on your coworker’s face during Zoom meetings. Trips to the grocery store became opportunities to dress to the nines just for the sake of style. Laden with turmoil and uncertainty, dressing up became a mood-boosting panacea, of sorts, that reminded people of fashion’s joyful potential. And judging by the prevalence of vivacious winter trends, maximalist outfits will undeniably be the norm in 2022, too. On the precipice of a new year, turmoil certainly isn’t over — and neither is the consequent, uninhibited fashion phenomenon it inspired.
Colin LoCascio, whose eponymous label is an imaginative celebration of color, documents bold fashion’s timeline in an interview with TZR: “I think for a while, the pendulum swung so far away from maximalism that even brands known for their expressive prints and color had simpler colors in their collections — they had more tonal looks and neutrals than in the past,” he remarks.
But, eventually, minimalism’s reign came to an end, and LoCascio pinpoints it to when a certain heavily-bedazzled and glossy throwback decade took hold of the trend cycle. “The Y2K resurgence certainly unearthed a new love and nostalgia for wild prints and heavy saturation.” And now, he’s observed, “a huge pull toward designers that [are] re-articulating maximalism and kitsch in a super bright way like [the fashion of] the late ’90s and early ’00s.” The time spent at home, too, LoCascio adds, “has a lot to do with people embracing loudness and vibrancy, after and during a period of such silence and stillness.”
Autumn Adeigbo, founder of her own vivid eponymous brand, says the maximalist mentality is also an easy one to adopt. “To be a maximalist is about being bold and confident, and having a love of art, print, color, and fun. You have to be confident in yourself because everywhere you go, people will stare,” she tells TZR over email. “Give them a show. Whether they admit it or not, people love to be surprised and delighted in their everyday lives, and clothing as an art form is a wonderful way to do that. I mean — it’s just fashion, right?” posits Adeigbo.
LoCascio also believes the colorful, dynamic aesthetic will last well into the future, as it’s not just a trend, but a maker of industry change, too. “I think as the fashion industry is reinventing itself and going under a much-needed face-lift, it’s moving towards a more inclusive future — inclusive in what fashion looks like, and inclusive in who is in the room and telling their stories,” he says. And to LoCascio, maximalism — an anything-goes, all-is-welcome philosophy — has been and will continue to be a crucial force in making fashion a more varied, expressive realm.
Ahead, seven maximalist winter trends that’ll make your heart sing and your inner child grin.
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The Maximalist Art Of Layering
LoCascio advises getting creative with layering in the winter and says there are two methodologies: “You just go for it and lean into the absurdity by stacking textures and mixing colors and patterns,” he shares. “Or you group patterns and colors with similar hues and then layer those together, so the colors all live in the same family. You’re playing more with textures, or with different scales of prints, etc., so the finished lewk is more “toned down” because all of the colors are quite similar,” says LoCascio.
“I think for me, [maximalism in the winter] starts with a statement coat, and everything else — hat, shoes, jewelry, bag, pants or skirts — all orbit around it. I'd say invest in a great statement coat that you love and know you'll have for years — a coat that you would want to pass down to your daughter or your niece. Once you have that, it's just about adding and editing the story you want to tell through your choice of bottoms, shoes, and accessories”
“Our Phoebe Puff Sleeve Puffer is super extra and fun. I think you can wear it with a tonal sweatpant underneath it to tone it down, or you can add cheetah prints and heavy saturation and it's still cool and maximalist,” says LoCascio. Adeigbo, for one, vouches for her brand’s January Coat as a compliment-inviting, bold choice. “I recently wore our Alyssa suit in yellow and plaid January coat for my first Los Angeles house party, and it was a hit,” she adds.
Kitschy Knit Headwear
As your mom has likely reminded you endlessly, you lose a lot of your body’s heat through your head. Thus, you want to make sure you’re wearing the proper headwear that’ll trap in warmth during the wintertime. To stay cozy and playful, consider a beanie, balaclava, or bonnet (say that three times fast) that’ll surround your entire head. You could also opt for a knit headband if you prefer a more open piece.
For Adeigbo, lively dresses are a fabulous way to inject happiness into your wardrobe. Pair with tights and layers for added warmth, and the designer recommends being thoughtful with your jewelry. “I love a gold structured choker (I almost always have one on) or a couple layered mini gold chains with a classic pair of large gold hoops or chunky chain bracelet. Of course, if the item you are wearing is maximal, I would focus on accessorizing one or two parts of your body (neckline, ears, wrist),” she notes.
“Our clogs go really well with our dresses, too. But the best thing you can accessorize any outfit with is a kind disposition and a positive outlook,” concludes Adeigbo.
Print On Print On Print
“I’m seeing heavy print on print on print on print [for winter 2022],” LoCascio shares. “Printed pants, printed socks, a pop-color shoe, colorful jewelry, and crazy nails! Or a printed jacket with a printed hat and a printed top underneath a printed turtleneck,” he offers. “I think in so many ways, the rulebooks have been thrown out, and people are leaning into it and having fun!”
Frills, Ruffles, Bows, & Fringe
Another key element of maximalism is excess. In practice, that often looks like adding showy embellishments whenever and however you can. Shushu/Tong’s bow gloves and Mietis’ fringed trench coat make for delightfully girly additions to your winter wardrobe. Alternatively, you could don heavily-adorned pieces that work year round, like a lettuce-hem top or a pair of ruffle pants.
À La Retro Pop Culture Icons
LoCascio hypothesizes your streaming habits, too, incite a desire for expressive and vibrant style. “I'm also curious if streaming sites like Netflix, Disney Plus, etc., uploading shows from the ‘90s/‘00s also played a part on us lusting after maximalism — shows like The Nanny, Moesha, Lizzie McGuire, and That's So Raven, where boldness and vibrancy were front and center,” he wonders. Fran Drescher, for one, would definitely love AZ Factory’s royal blue blazer included below.