Blame it on stuffy office dress codes or the guilt that sets in when we splurge on anything less than "practical," but our adult wardrobe has become more buttoned up (dare we say boring?) over time. Back in our single-digit prime, not only did we wear cartoon- and ruffle-adorned anything, we also had our mother's closet to sneak into, where we'd casually slip into her way-too-big kitten heels and the entire contents of her jewelry box. Factor in our plastic-ring hauls from toy vending machines and the frilly dance-recital costumes we had on deck, and our dress-up game was a NYFW street style moment in the making.
Sadly, somewhere between pink tutus and today, we grew up — and so did our clothes. But after looking at some of this season's whimsical trends at Saks Fifth Avenue, we can't help but be reminded of our youth. From art-project-inspired embellishments to sparkles — on everything — these playful, nostalgia-inducing pieces are not taking themselves too seriously. And what better time to rev up the fun and proactively ward off seasonal blues than now?
Below, we break down the six winter trends that will make you forget about adulting. Animal-Inspired Accents Maybe it's the internet's insatiable appetite for cat memes or the fashion world's ongoing lovefest with leopard print (or perhaps a combination of the two), but animal-inspired trends are still very much alive and well. While you might expect these sartorial nods to critters to fall into the category of "what the kids are wearing these days," they can actually be sophisticated, too. For grown-ups, the translation looks more like the feather-trimmed sleeves on this Nanette Lepore dress and Charlotte Olympia's now iconic luxe kitten flats. Accessorize simply, like with sleek gold jewelry, to keep the overall look elevated.
Fairytale Sparkle If years of building a timeless "adult" wardrobe robbed your closet of its fun, spontaneous spirit, consider this season's obsession with sparkly pieces permission to revive it. In addition to the usual holiday party garb, glimmering styles are making their way into the regular rotation, from twinkling turtlenecks to shimmery ankle socks. But it's the styles that fully embrace the Studio-54-meets-storybook-princess vibe that have us getting on board with seeing our own reflection in our clothes, like gold pleated maxis, starburst earrings, and Miu Miu's whimsical, glitter-packed pumps.
Florescent Fuzz While shearling and faux fur are cold-weather standbys, we typically cuddle up to 'em in their neutral-hued variety. But this season, designers lit up the runways with fuzzy accents in an assortment of bright, bold shades. It may seem intimidating to work such a fierce texture into your wardrobe — especially in Day-Glo colors that remind us of our neon troll dolls — but if Giorgio Armani, MSGM, and Mara Hoffman can do it, we're down. Ease into the trend with smaller accessories, like this blood-orange Coach bag and electric fluff heel to counter winter's dark palette.
Cotton-Candy Hues Rich pastels like baby blue and pale pink send us right down memory lane to when our most prized possession was a pair of pink ballet slippers. These dreamy colors offer an easy way to have fun with your look, especially if you pair 'em with unexpected primary shades. Here, a pale-blue wrap duster coat contrasts gorgeously with saturated red gloves, and with the addition of stud detailing, the pink bow purse doesn't feel too cutesy.
Arts & Crafts Embellishments Nothing stirs up nostalgia for the DIY projects of yore like haphazardly placed jewel accents. (Remember when you thought it was a good idea to put rhinestones on everything?) This time, you can find the chromatic embellishments expertly attached (sans glue-gun disaster) on the toes of going-out heels, shoulders of duster coats, drop earrings, and more. With strategic placements, the approach is just the right dose of fun without veering into gaudy grandma territory.
Rainbow Costume Jewelry After seasons of dainty, barely there jewels dominating fashion girls' fingers and earlobes, a new crop of bling is vying for a spot in our jewelry box. Instead of playing it safe with white diamonds and minimal chains, we're mixing it up with studs that remind us of the stick-on earrings we'd get in birthday goodie bags. Gemstone statement necklaces and chunky cocktail rings fit into the costumey aesthetic, too, but now you don't need a theme party to wear them.