Fashion Week Re-Cap: Gym Clothes Pull Double Duty While Bold Looks Reign Supreme

While we're all gearing up for frigid temperatures and cozy layers, the fashion world is looking ahead to a sunnier time filled with fresh new styles. New York Fashion Week Spring 2012 has just come to an end, leaving us with a fabulous crop of new trends to consider while we endure the colder months.

Starting on September 8th, the weeklong semiannual event featured 300 collections from a wide range of designers that spanned from universally renowned to unknown up and comers.

In case you weren’t able to keep up with all the craziness, we’ve designed a quick crash course spotlighting the key trends that everyone will be rocking from spring (some of these looks can even translate well for fall, talk about being ahead of the curve!)


Sportswear had a major moment during Fashion Week, cropping up on a diverse array of runways. Hoodies, mesh, drawstrings, sweats, anoraks, styles you usually reserve for the gym, will serve double duty as daywear come Spring 2012.

The sporty trend was most heavily referenced at Alexander Wang, where we saw a slew of styles inspired by NASCAR and Motorcross, updated and made chic with a dose of Wang’s signature downtown-cool. The boys of Rag & Bone also went in a decidedly sporty direction with track pants, mesh tee-shirts and oversized zip-ups all piled together on the runway for effortlessly cool styles that set a standard for tomboy-chic.

On other runways, the sporty was blended beautifully with the romantic, lady-like styles. At BCBG Max Azria, floaty chiffon dresses in airy shades were topped with contrasting zip-up hoodies. At Marc Jacobs, sweatshirts were teamed with intricately draped skirts for unexpected styles that set a new standard for casual-cool.

And while she was once known as Posh Spice, Victoria Beckham seemed to have drawn from inspiration from Sporty Spice for her collection, which featured boxy, hooded jackets and dresses with insets of sheer mesh, which was also a popular fabric on the runways this season.

Sweetly Slouchy 

Spring 2012 runways were full of comfortable shapes that float in the breeze and move beautifully with every motion.

At DKNY, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Jill Stuart, BCBG Max Azria and countless others, we saw airy dresses that are made to hang loose for romantic styles with an ethereal quality. It wasn’t only the dresses, though: tops, skirts, jackets, pant—comfort proved to be key styles.

While skinny pants will stick around for spring, slouchy pant styles, from relaxed trousers to super wide legs have proved to be a much more fashionable (and forgiving!) alternative on the runways and is emerging as one of the standout trends. To keep things slouchy without looking sloppy, take a cue from Elie Tahari or DKNY and combine fitted, more structured pieces with your free-flowing ones.

Explosive Prints 

Pretty prints are always key players when it comes to spring fashion. This season, the stakes have been raised and prints have gone from pretty to power-packed.

Florals are always a la mode for spring. This time around, dainty florals have been toughened up, appearing on the runways of Cynthia Rowley and Diane von Furstenberg in rich, electric shades that make a statement.

DKNY showcased a model wearing a single wild print from head-to-toe, literally, with a hat, top, pant, bag and shoe all in the same crazy pattern. If wearing a single print from top to bottom is way too matchy-matchy for you, take a cue from Karen Walker, Suno and DVF and mix several prints together—stripes, florals, dots, even, dare we say it, stripes and plaids. The rules of matching are officially obsolete so go wild!

Pops of Neon 

The neon trend is nothing new and has been cropping up for several seasons. While in-your-face neons are still going strong, more subdued flashes of neon are emerging as the new way to bring bold colors into your look.

At Rachel Roy, a beautiful cream-colored suit was accented with hot pink ties, adding just enough pop without looking out of place. At BCBG Max Azria, sweet dresses in nude shades were outlined with stripes of neon, ranging from chunky to barely visible. Pops or neon orange were sprinkled throughout the Rag & Bone collection in doses big and small: a neon swimsuit under a sheer top, a neon bag to accent a quietly colored look, a neon drawstring peeping out beneath a dark knit.

The lesson here was go bright, only do so in moderation!

White Hot 

This spring is going to be white-hot thanks to a takeover of LWDs (little white dresses). White dresses found their way onto nearly every runway this season and with so many interpretations by so many talented designers, there is sure to be a LWD with your name on it come spring. (It’s a good thing we have a while, you can star practicing how to avoid spills in the meantime!).

White wasn’t only for dresses. We saw beautiful layered looks made up of white separates from head-to-toe at Ralph Lauren, Altuzarra and Rachel Roy. Even at shows where looks weren’t styled to be full on white-outs, there were plenty of fun and fresh white pieces for choose from.