Womenswear Trends for the S/S20 Season

WGSN is the world’s largest trend forecasting company and one that anyone is fashion looks to for guidance before the next season. While subscriptions to their services are only really afforded by big businesses, fashion industry professionals are treated to a talk by an international representative once a year in Cape Town, at Source Africa’s annual fashion expo.

So, what can the ladies expect this summer season? In two words, comfort and sustainability. While these buzzwords may have been on the radar for a while now, we’ll see these concepts taken to the next level, as sustainability looks to natural vs synthetic materials, and comfort comes through loungewear. What we’re seeing for both men and women is the upgrading of streetwear to a more grown-up aesthetic so we’re still enjoying everything we love about the look, but there is a focus on tailoring and a move toward formalwear which is steadily overtaking the casual look.


Colour this season for womenswear is all about keeping with natural, organic shades. Apart from there being a wash of brown, this extends to organic fabrics in their raw state. As a counter to this, we’ll also see artificial colour in screen-generated hues.

Expect to see:

  • Natural Pastels (soft, barely-there dyes to update core items, like soft denims)
  • Peaches (warm, sunset hues for a smarter look)
  • Neo-Mint (expect to see this with spring drops, where we’re still seeing neon styling and neo-mint versions of military looks)
  • Mellow Yellow (while yellow has been the shade of the past couple of seasons, we’re seeing the colour become deeper in hue, rather than disappearing off the radar)
  • Flushed Neutrals (Baked and layered warm nudes and browns)
  • Fashion Blues (shades of deep blue on experimental silhouettes for the fashion-forward)
  • Summer Browns (key neutral shades across knitwear and swimwear in particular)
  • Synthetic Rainbows (neon hues in luxe, statement pieces, working particularly well for festival-wear)
  • Digital Pastels (synthetic colours, like iridescent and ombre shades, seen on tailored, fashion-forward pieces)
  • Bold Red (the colour of sophistication for the season)

Key Items

We’re seeing a duality of showy items versus demure items this season, with style flashbacks to the early 00’s.

  • Cutout kaftan (cotton fabrics, perfect for the beach and festivals)
  • Volume Sleeve Dress (expect the bells of last season to migrate from the legs to the arms, with ballooning sleeves)
  • Ribbed Midi (the bodycon silhouette remains, served in pops of colour)
  • Bow Bralet (exaggerated bows and tailoring that makes this an item to mix with suiting looks)
  • Halter Neck Tops (seen in lightweight silks and knits)
  • Draped Blouse (this is the cleaner update to the prairie look of last season)
  • Backless Blouses (this season is all about exposing the back in feminine fits, in silk and cotton materials)
  • Utility shorts (shorts have been off the radar for a while, but this season they return in neutral colour palettes)
  • Barrel-leg Jeans (gone are the skinnies and boyfriends for a happy medium, seen with cropped hems)
  • Sleek Jumpsuit (jumpsuits are back in a big way, updating the boiler suits of the past season in a formalised version of the look)
  • Tiered Maxi (feminine and playful)
  • Soft-waisted Blazer (an outerwear piece that is sleek and minimal)
  • Utility Jacket (directional, boxy and crisp fits)
  • Tech Trench (trench coats with useful pockets with subtle hints at the next gen)

Prints and Patterns

It’s all about comfort meets glamour in the prints and patterns of the season.

  • cloudy tie-dye (soft swirls, not the traditional hippie style)
  • organic textures (true to nature)
  • large-scale placement prints and renders (artsy looks)
  • hand-drawn monochrome (delicate, diy looks)
  • tortoiseshell (seen in silky and outerwear pieces)
  • art (gallery meets retail with abstract forms)
  • Nu Meadow (punchy looks)
  • Modern Paisley (returns to our wardrobes in a sleek rendition, not the traditional way we’ve seen before)
  • blurred lines (stripes that fade into each other)
  • Windowpane (checks)
  • Stenciled botanicals
  • discreet typeface (fonts that are smaller)
  • off-grid checks
  • The mundane (commentary on current consumer culture, a-la Off White)

Fabrics and Details

With fabric and details, we’re seeing a general move to details which show the body’s form, with odes to pervious decades meeting futuristic elements that matter to this generation, from the environment to the incorporation of technology

  • Laundered crepe
  • checks (satorial looks that are muted and barely there)
  • Stripes (faded, large and often seen laying vertically)
  • Cotton drills (in vibrant colours)
  • subtle textures (like semi-sheer jerseys)
  • eco-conscious denim (consciously made and presented without harsh dyes)
  • spaghetti straps (a nod to the 90s)
  • sharp pleats (for form that is derived from formalwear)
  • side knots (seen in dresses and skirts)
  • bewelled trims (inspired by the 00s)
  • cut and paste blocks (in different colours too)
  • long collars (exaggerated 70s inspiration)
  • sweet straps (bows for feminine details)
  • Graphic cut-outs (a nod to technology and futuristic looks)
  • Contouring (darts & seems to subtly show the female form)
  • Rider pockets (this is a continuation of the Western trend of the last season, now finding itself in subtle details)

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