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SS20 key items: Eight must-haves for the new season

Sandra Halliday
22 October 2019

SS20 will be a big season for dresses and shorts are a must-have too. But we’ve already looked at those two categories. So what else are we backing to hit big come 2020?

The want-it-now waistcoat


Celine, Louis Vuitton, Awake Mode, Giorgio Armani, Celine, Bally, Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu

The waistcoat has already made a comeback in the men’s market thanks to a certain football manager, and now it’s hitting big in womenswear too, although the look is less footballer chic and more Parisienne retro. It’s a must-have for the 70s smart-casual-urban style that’s big news for SS20 but could creep in earlier as it has instant want-it-now appeal. But it can also be found in shearlings adding a cosy element for slightly chilly spring days or as a way to dress up an occasion/evening look. And there’s a corporate option too with the waistcoat coming as a sleeveless jacket that works well with the new, more relaxed tailoring (see our suit trend below for Miu Miu’s take on that).

It’s a suit Jim, but not as we know it


Marc Jacobs, Burberry, Chloé, Miu Miu, Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs, Rochas, Givenchy, Dior

The suit is having a moment as the season’s obsession with power colour, shorts, slashed skirts, retro and pattern/colour contrasts gives it a more subversive edge than the classic office suit could ever have. Like the shorts that are the basis for so many of the new suits, sleeveless or short-sleeved tailoring shows us that the classic jacket+pants or skirt doesn’t have to be the way forward. Materials interest is also key from corduroy to PVC or rustic linens that detract further from the corporate feel of the traditional suit.

The shirt rules


Loewe, Alberta Ferretti, Versace, Burberry, Ermanno Scervino, Carolina Herrera, Valentino, Valentino, Iceberg

It’s big blouse season but this key item is all about the shirt. It may come in feminine silks and girly colours or textures (think embroidered soft or crisp sheers, lace and bright satins) but the inspirational source for this is the classic men’s shirt. That means we also find it in pure white cottons (the most popular colour/material) as well finely-striped men’s shirting. Keep it masculine for an uber cool feel or add girly touches to feminise it — think statement sleeves, yoke detail, or gathering.

The statement crop top


Tom Ford, Chloé, Miu Miu, Oscar de la Renta, Isabel Marant, Alberta Ferretti, Loewe

The crop top is having a moment and while fitted and tapering styles are key, SS20’s newest shape echoes the top dress silhouette, flaring from above the bustline. Think of its as a cut-off trapeze dress that works as well with the season’s pencil skirts as it does with its casual pants or shorts. It’s a great option for beach and festival season in fine cottons and crochet. But designers have also embraced the crop top for occasion dressing too in shimmering and embellished materials.

The denim skirt comeback

Givenchy, Givenchy, Celine, Celine, Stella McCartney

The denim skirt may have been confined to mini lengths for years, but for SS20 it explode onto the scene in all lengths and widths. The newest are long and pencil slim, some in line with the season’s favourite thigh-slashed look, others with contrast inserts for a decidedly home-made/made-over look. But find space for a fuller silhouette as SS20’s obsession with tiers and a 70s-influenced dirndl cut come into play.

Mac ’n’ ease

Valentino, Dries Van Noten, Stella McCartney, Burberry, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Versace

The trench remains the dominant coat style for SS20 but it loosens up with a softer feel than a classic trench. This is all about easy dressing. Many designers take it to new lengths with floor-skimming options or added seasonal details like Victorian-influenced puffed sleeves. Alternatives to the trench were the elevated parka or rain jacket — translated into high-end materials like lamé or worked in power colours, it’s the focal point of any look.

Jump to it

Alberta Ferretti, Longchamp, Chloé, Chanel, Givenchy, Ermanno Scervino, Isabel Marant, Chloé

The jumpsuit has its place in every collection but the newest option for SS20 is the shorts jumpsuit. With a safari, utility, sporty or dressy spin, its being backed heavily to make a real commercial impact if we get another summer like the last two. A strong festival or holiday look, it’s also worth noting that Chanel’s versions would also be ideal for wedding guests or summer parties. Full length jumpsuits meanwhile, have a utility spin and continue the workshop overalls look that has been a street style favourite in recent seasons.

Forward slash

Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, Stella McCartney, Stella McCartney, Givenchy, Awake Mode, Light & Shadow

Trying to sell skirts to consumers who spend their lives in jeans or leggings can be tough, but the designer end of the market has a bigger chance of doing it and runway labels are backing the slashed-to-thigh skirt for next season as a smart look but with a surprising twist. It’s a move forward for the classic pencil or gentle A-line with the season’s longer lengths making this less of an all-out-sexy option than it might otherwise be. Teamed with retro knee boots it nods back to the 70s trend that’s big news for SS20. The new skirt is also key for seasonal occasion dressing when teamed with strappy sandals.

Visit our Trends section to view our full suite of trend analyses for SS20.

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