Lists are so 2012, aren’t they? What’s “in” is what you feel like wearing and what’s “out” is… well, nothing is really “out” if it’s worn with a straight back, cool smile and swinging hips. But some trends do chime more truly with the Zeitgeist and thus are a smidge more “in” than most. Volume, for example. Think; the opposite of body-con and skin-tight. After a month of fashion week runways in New York, London, Milan and especially Paris, the look of volume crystallized as the mother trend from which many others, including full sleeves and calf-grazer and floor-sweeper hemlines, will swing in 2017. According to Akira Isogawa (who should know because his spring 2017 Hakama silk organza pants, pictured above, are wide as a one man tent), it takes courage to wear clothes that don’t actually follow the shape of your body. “It is a more intellectual way of taking fashion,” he says. “But when you take a risk you appear to be confident and, as confidence is the greatest asset a woman has; why not show it off?” (No surprise then, that online fashion bible Business of Fashion described spring 2017 trends as a season for “female empowerment”.) Volume, and the other pack leader trends for 2017 listed here, have been ripening on the fringes of fashion for several seasons. This is their moment and, if you were an early adopter – lucky you – in one form or another, they’re probably already in your wardrobe. Ok, ready? Here we go….

Words: Janice Breen Burns for M Magazine, Fairfax Media. Photographs:


Oversized “boyfriend” shirts and jackets with 1980s-esque linebacker shoulders. Blouses and dresses thickly ruched, bunched to bulge. Fat frills and ruffles and any texturing or embellishment that increases the silhouette well out beyond the bodyline, either with a shapely, or shapeless aura. Pants so wide and long they drag a little on the floor. Frocks and shirts apparently bought several sizes too big so they appear to be slipping sideways and almost off.

Almost none. The new black is mostly, anything but: all-white or cream, a fantastic liver red, yellows from lemon curd to almost chartruese, cobalt and navy blues, pinks from calamine to coral, jungly and earthy browns, greens and the odd pop of exotic orange especially in patterns, and a suite of naturals from cafe latte to lightly burned toast.  

Often oversized, skimming the calves, ankles or floor; belts rough-tied not buckled, or worn open and dramatically flapping.

Two, or sometimes just one (for artful asymmetry) extravagantly puffed, gypsy, belled, leg-‘o-mutton or cavalier and lacily cuffed, often reaching well past the second knuckle or beyond the fingertips. (Yes, it will be tricky to reach for another slice of pizza.)

A waft of tulle skirt over bloomers, shorts or mini hemline and bare legs is a look so beloved (particularly of Kardashians and Brownlow night W.A.G.S) it’s unlikely to be abandoned anytime soon. Neither will lace; spring 2016 – this one – is already awash with the stuff, from technical types to romantic and vintage varieties. But sheers and lace are freshened for 2017, ruched, frilled, ruffled, used as overlays to add another dimension to base colors and patterns, or embellished lightly or heavily for exotic veil and layering effects you haven’t seen recently.

Tied or buckled fabric sashes on trench-style coats. A handspan of leather or “belt” constructed more like a corselette to accentuate the waistline or the new dropped-waist/hipline. A strap of leather is also handy to tame those extravagant, swaying swells of fabric under “volume”.

From delicate sprigs to bolshie jungle blooms; florals were incorporated in 87.9 per cent ( approximately) of Australian and international collections for spring 2017. Designers also incorporated drama with tops and bottoms in slight variations of the same pattern sets and suits.

Polished and coated leather, metallic finishes, embellishments, glossy PVC and silky fabrics such as satin that catch and softly hold light. Pleats, particularly sunray, and textures such as ruching, shirring, vertical fold draping, all fit the new sense of luxury that’s trickled – and still trickling – even as far down as high street fashion.  

Volume may be the mother trend for at least a season or three but, don’t despair if all this talk of tent-like fashion offends every little frocklet and va-va-voom gown in your double drawer IKEA. Houses such as Chanel, Prada, Burberry, Givenchy, Carven and others mostly rejected excessive volume for spring 2017 in favour of slimly constructed separates and skirt or trouser sets (skirts with hemlines varied more conventionally from near-crotch to knee, sometimes over cropped pants or patterned leggings) and little aesthetic puffs and nods to the volume trend that you’ll find easier to acclimatise: fluffed frills, for example, prissy pussy bows, ruffled cuffs on blouses, even wiggling marabou feather trims on everything from cuffs to wraplets.

In reality in 2017, true voluminousness will also be manipulated by you, the wearer, to amplify or tame to your taste. You’ll clamp excess fabric at precisely the right point for maximum sensuality using sugarbag and drawstring details if that’s what you fancy or, you will clench excess with a broad belt, or sash, or torso-fitting bodice or even, a neatly constructed, studded leather brassiere top. And, voila. Modernity, circa 2017. Bon appetit.

Janice Breen Burns,