What the heck is Pre-Fall? Great question. There’s no defined timeline or organized schedule — labels such as Burberry and Valentino kicked things off back in November; Chanel hosted its grandiose Métiers d’Art show at NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in December, as did many other brands; some like Off-White, Hermès, and Isabel Marant have only just recently presented in these final weeks of January. Even the collections themselves appear to defy categorization, with some offerings best suited to summer, and others intended for early autumn wear. But, don't let all of that confuse you, the truth is Pre-Fall 2019 is full of trends to know for the year to come. It's not about the novelty of spring collections that come before it, or the fantasy allure of the Haute Couture that follows, instead Pre-Fall has carved out a niche rooted in practicality and versatility.
It’s a season for refined and evolved versions of existing hits — and though items don't hit stores until May or June, they're usually great fabrics and silhouettes for year-round wear. Merchandise is typically timed to hit stores with the arrival of summer, so you never have to wait long to snag your favorite pieces. Plus, Pre-Fall tends to skew transitional, bridging the gap between seasons, building off of the spring looks we saw on the runways last autumn and teasing themes from the upcoming fall collections that will debut next month. To that point, here are eight key trends that have emerged from the pack in this sort-of season.
Dresses Over Pants
This one’s for the more is more crowd — but minimalists can make it work too by opting for more streamlined pieces to pile on. Long, languid layers create a distinctly elegant silhouette that’s both relaxed and polished.
We may be entering the final year of the decade, but the fashion world is still partying like it’s 1989. The throwback theme continues to hold strong with these new Pre-Fall offerings. If the sequins and spandex aren't your vibe, there are ways to embrace your inner ‘80s baby without going the glam-rock route. Consider some of the other style markers of the time: acid-wash denim, structured leather jackets, shoulder pads, bike shorts, slouchy patterned sweaters, and (gasp!) pleated pants.
There's no better time to embrace a back-to-school spirit than with the pre-fall season. The schoolgirl look has graduated to collegiate-level chic this season. Collections featured polo-collar shirts, pleated skirts, preppy uniform separates and varsity-inspired sweaters — all worthy of an A+.
Ruffled Yoke Necklines
Conservative high necklines are getting a touch of youthful femininity this season with the addition of frilly, fluttery shoulders. Reminiscent of the dresses you might have worn as a kid — those prim and girlish frocks your mom probably dressed you in on yearbook picture day — these ruffled babydoll necklines (and really, ruffles in general) are enjoying a surprisingly adult-friendly comeback.
Plaid for fall? Groundbreaking, right? Checked patterns might seem like an obvious choice for early autumn, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that they’re a tried-and-true classic. This season’s renditions have a decidedly cool bent. Lean into the fall favorite with tailored tartan separates or a menswear-inspired houndstooth or Glen Check suit.
If you're on the fence about this psychedelic pattern, have faith that it can exist apart from its funky, groovy roots. If you're looking for an entry-level approach to tie-dye, try a subtle watercolor print or earthy bohemian iteration. If you're ready to fully embrace a dip-dye mood, designers are putting out plenty of splashy, kaleidoscopic pieces that range in color palette from summery brights to rich earth hues.
New Animal Prints
Last year was all about leopard print, this year, tiger, zebra, and python prints are taking over the jungle. Take a walk on the wild side in snake-embossed leathers and exotic stripes.
Designers have been playing with over-the-top sleeve proportions since summer, and it seems the trend will continue through 2019. From Cinderella princess puffs to long, full peasant sleeves, voluminous arms are coming out on top.