The first flurries have landed…and melted again (but we’re trying not to think about climate change) this winter season. At least not at this exact moment, as we contemplate all the outfits we can wear in the semi-cold, before the temperature descends into hibernation levels. The truth is that Toronto winters are the hardest to dress for, which is why we called on a fashion professional to help us stay inspired. Here are five fashion trends you’ll be noticing on the streets of Toronto this winter, according to Toronto stylist Meg Summers.
The newest casual streetwear trend, according to Summers, is what she calls “loud athleisure.” While it’s recommended to incorporate athleisure pieces into everyday wear this winter, there’s a particular departure from conventional matching sets, in favour of true sport style-clothing. This trend moves away from pristine ensembles towards a more relaxed, slightly disheleved aesthetic characterized by baggy, layered outfits. Jerseys and Adidas track pants are poised to become staples within this shift. Summers says vintage shopping is the best way to find authentic sportswear in Toronto, noting Vintage Outlaw in Kensington and Vinty Baby, an online shop and frequent downtown market vendor.
Figure skating core
Ballerina core has proved that it isn’t going anywhere fast, it’s just adapting to the season– taking to the ice instead. The trend of figure skating core blends elements of simple athleticism with elegance and grace. Summers says you can use a lot of what you probably already have to work out in (tights, spandex, fitted long sleeves) since the look revolves around the art of layering. Rue De La Mare has incredible stretchy layering pieces and knits that you can use to build the foundation of your outfit, but if you’d prefer to thrift you can try Batch Vintage. The focal point is your investment piece: a dress or a flared, A-line skirt, such as those made by Toronto designer Elisa Gentile. Pull it all together by adding accessories like arm and leg warmers and ear muffs and you’ll be ready for the ice (or the party).
Last January, as we entered 2023 in the dead of winter, we set our sights on colourful, unexpected knitwear. Naturally, this is one of the main ways that Torontonians can express ourselves when it gets too cold to expose skin, and this winter is no exception. The knitters are back on their game and as strong as ever. Summers says the way to keep the trend fresh is to incocoprate statements knits into simple outfits — the weirder the better. While you might think your go-to would be a balaclava, Summers actually thinks we’re moving away from that particular accessory. Instead, she recommends pants with strings, over-exaggerated sleeves (like the “knotty sleeves” by Shop Feelings Vintage) and knit bags like this one by knitwear designer Jil Leo. Olivia Rubens’ “positive knitwear” collection is also the perfect place to shop for colourful textures, like her brushed alpaca slither vest in chartreuse/flame orange.
There’s no doubt that you’ve already been seeing striking pops of red all over. It’s holiday-coded, it’s fiery and it’s warding off winter blues. Trend analysis account Data But Make It Fashion was quoted in Vogue stating that cherry red increased 280 per cent in popularity in November. So what are you waiting for? Summers favourite way to add a red accent is with a pair of bold tights, and they’re not at all hard to find (Montreal-based Sheertex sells them). You might also consider a red cardigan, a cherry lipstick, fire engine coloured nails or a ruby kitten heel.
Now for the undisputable shoe of the season. Summers has officially deemed Mary Janes the statement going out shoe for winter. It draws on the prep wave that we saw in the fall, but also fits into the ever pervasive ballet and figure skating core aesthetic. They’re easy to walk in – thank goodness, the winter streets are rough – but they’re still fashion-forward. They’re so popular at present that you should be able to easily source them in a thrift store, but if you’re looking for a long-term investment or something a step up from the classic style, try John Fluevog (kooky, elevated) or Dr. Martens (edgy, casual).