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Spring Summer Fashion Trends 2011/2012

Selection of some great Spring dresses
Alice In The Eve, Gary Bigeni, Sportscraft

The stand out Spring Summer fashion trends I'm seeing (and loving) for this season in Australia and the southern hemispere are...

  • Bold colour -- both bold in terms of bright colours, but also bold in terms of unusual colour combinations

  • Dresses -- dresses remain a dominant trend

  • Lower hemlines -- there are now more midi-length skirts and dresses, in particular ones that end between the lower knee and the top of the calf. The full, maxi length is still around and the knee length, but far fewer above knee options. If you go for a midi-length make sure the hemlines falls above or below the widest part of your calf. Take care with the longer lengths if you are shorter than 5'4" (162cm), as a petite the shorter lengths will be more flattering for your frame.

Spring Summer Fashion Trends 2011/2012:
Main Style Elements


50s/Mad Men-inspired styles are everywhere for both day and evening. The silhouettes include hourglass and shift.

Styling includes...

  • Sculptural details, especially around necklines.
  • Asymmetrical styles, such as one shoulder or, more dramatically, one sleeveless and one short sleeve

Colours are bold (see more about this in themes below) or nude neutrals.

Lengths are short (though there are fewer of these around), full-length or in-between (midi lengths are the "new" length)! Pick the best lengths for your height and weight.

Many of the longer styles have full, flowing skirts. Some styles have thigh-high splits too.

Pants, Trousers and Shorts

  • Pants and trousers silhouettes are still mainly straight legged. There are quite a few of the wider straight legged variety. These are great for most women, especially when they're in soft, flowing fabrics that cover a multitude of sins!

    Look for lighter weight crepes, medium-light knit fabrics, as well as softer linens. There are also some very full-legged pant styles around -- these are best if you are tall and slim. There are also some slight flares around

  • Cropped pants -- stick with tapered legs or narrow, straight legs unless you're tall and slim. The wider straights will make you look shorter and therefore heavier than you are. If you want to look taller and slimmer it's also best to keep the colour of your trousers darker than or the same level of darkness as your top

  • Shorts -- ultra short! Great if you're young with firm, shapely legs. I'll stick with the knee length


  • Pencil
  • Straight
  • Subtle A-line
  • Tapered or straight with sculptural details and pseudo wrap
  • Lengths -- still some above knee, but more just below the knee. Full length skirts tend to be in softly flowing fabrics


  • Shorter length jackets -- not so good for those with a vertical balanced body, unless you're short, in which case they're longer on you. Often with interesting lapels and collars

  • Blazers

  • Leather jackets , including Biker styles


  • More masculine-styled shirts (including the classic white shirt) and feminine blouses in long, short and no-sleeves. Fabrics include crisp cottons, softer cottons and sheer styles

  • Vests/waistcoats in denim-style cotton and leather as well as softer-flowing fabrics

  • Plain medium-high round necked, short sleeved t-shirts


  • Broad-strapped gladiator sandals: heels range from flat to high and include platforms, wedges, stacks and stilettos. This style is challenging to wear unless you have long, slim legs. It's more flattering for the rest of us when you pick a colour close to your skin tone, such as taupe or tan, and if your hemline is knee high or shorter. If you go for a midi length choose at least a medium heel to make your legs look longer and slimmer.

  • Pumps/courts -- with a covered toe or a peep toe. Heels are flat, wedge and stiletto. Bright colours and skin-toned neutrals.


Bright colours, to go with the clothing colours. Or try going neutral in your clothing choices and add a pop of colour with your bag.

If you find your body shape doesn't work well with the new, wider horizontal stripes, opt for a striped bag instead.

The hard, hand-held clutch is particularly popular this season


Medium and slim width belts help create the 50s hourglass silhouette.

Spring Summer Fashion Trends 2011/2012:
Main Style Themes

I think I must have missed a few of the Spring Summer fashion trends, but this is what I've noticed so far!...

  • Bold colour -- colour blocking and monochrome:

    This season's version of colour blocking is vertical blocks of colour 2 or more colours. Check where the lighter and brighter colour bands fall and where the colour changes occur -- do the colour bands work for your horizontal and vertical shapes? For example, don't go for a light or bright band of colour across your hips if that's your widest part and you want to minimise that area!

    Another variation which is flattering for more of us is vertical stripes of colour, especially when the darker colours are on the outer edges, to give us a slimmer, longer looking torso.

    This season's monochrome includes matchy matchy shades of the similar hues of a bright or neutral colour.
  • Feminine, 50s-inspired silhouettes (think "Mad Men" TV show)

  • 70s-inspired floaty maxis; wide, flowing pants and jumpsuits

Spring Summer Fashion Trends:
Main Fabric Trends

Fabric Types

  • Linens
  • Lace and tull (a fine netting)
  • Silk soft and flowing
  • Light weight crepes
  • Cottons knits, flowing, and crisp
  • Bamboo
  • Leather

Fabric Prints and Textures

  • Florals -- especially medium to medium-large floral prints
  • Stripes -- horizontal and vertical (used to create flattering contours eg Karen Millen)
  • Lace -- both lace and tulle (a fine net fabric) over an under fabric and more solid Broderie Anglaise styles. Used in dresses, bags and shoes.
  • Graphic prints in bright contrasting colours and fun ethnic-inspired prints
  • Animal -- snake, tiger, zebra, leopard

Fabric Color Trends

  • Brights -- reds including true reds, corals, pinks, and bright and burnt oranges; blues including cobalt, teal blues and pastel blues; greens such as emerald, teal greens and lime; purples, especially medium and medium-dark (try pairing with a red); yellows
  • Neutrals -- black, as always, but medium greys too. Lighter neutrals such as cool and warm taupes and light greys, oh and white of course

Spring Summer Fashions Video

This video from the Rosemont Australia Fashion Week (RAFW) illustrates most of what I talk about above.

Related Article...

Have A Current Fashion Trend You'd Like to Share?

If you've noticed a trend that I haven't mentioned feel free to share it here.

Or, if you'd like to talk about a current fashion that you love or hate (regardless of whether it's mentioned on this page already) this is the place to do it.

Tell us what it is about the item or outfit that you love or hate. For example...

  • Do you love the way it flatters your body shape?

  • Do you hate the way it looks on you, but love it when you see someone else wear the style?

And if you have a photo to upload to illustrate your observation that would be great.

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