When rounded up into a well-curated list, as Marie Claire's Style Director Sara Holzman has done, the front-running fashion trends of summer 2023 feel almost contradictory. Classic sartorial codes like high-waisted trousers and oversized blazers are gaining momentum, but so, too, are more experimental styles—summery leather and jungle-fever-inducing animal prints, for instance. A cohesive thread throughout is hard to find, but the sundry lineup signals that the season ahead offers fashion a range of folks will resonate with. Likewise, summer 2023's color trends offer a varied mix: oscillating between the neutrals of quiet luxury and highly-saturated statements, the season's defining hues cater to an assortment of aesthetics.
After combing through the Pre-Fall 2023 collections and sourcing insight from Urangoo Samba, the Head of Color at the industry-leading trend forecasting agency WGSN, we curated the shades that will define the upcoming season. Minimalists, maximalists, and those who fall somewhere in the middle of the style spectrum—rejoice! The color trends of summer 2023 have options for everyone.
"Luscious Red is WGSN’s key color for summer '23," describes Samba. "This particular shade has a lightness and transiency which feels hyper-real, immersive, and sensory. It is a familiar and commercial bright for the season [that] signals the return of powerful and emotionally engaging brights. We have seen this commercial shade as a response to consumers craving impactful looks, which is key for occasion-led looks. This shade was prevalent [in summer 2023 showings from] brands such as Victoria Beckham and Valentino, fully embracing head-to-toe looks and accessories [in Luscious Red]," the color expert analysis.
"The sensorial shade of Digital Lavender, WGSN’s Colour of the Year 2023, has become a popular choice within the youth sector, and brands continue to embrace this shade for its gender-inclusive appeal," explains Samba. "The powerful pastel aligns with a renewed sense of optimism, hope, and balance. WGSN’s catwalk analytics data also shows this color [gained] traction on the Spring/Summer 2022 catwalk shows, with pastel purple making up 57.2 percent of the mix (up 8.2ppt YoY), and this rose to 61.6 percent (up 4.3ppt YoY) for the Spring/Summer 2023 collections."
Evidenced by Valentino's lime floral brocade, Dior's verdant satin, and Prabal Gurung's electric sheaths, bright green is an eye-popping shade you'll see a lot of this summer. It's a color that inspires risk and is a guaranteed head-turner, making it a match made in heaven for statement dressers. Oh, and for those who traditionally stick to subdued hues and minimal aesthetics, make summer 2023 the season you leave your comfort zone by opting for a key lime accessory. Doesn't it feel refreshing?
"As consumers continue to make considered purchases, colors with practicality, versatility, and long-term appeal come to the fore," illustrates Samba. "Timeless and investment shades [drive] color direction, and neutrals gain momentum due to their commerciality; shades of Oat Milk and Parchment draw on elegant comfort and low-key luxury trends. We have tracked that neutrals rise due to their trans-seasonal appeal as longevity continues to drive conscious consumers."
Here's another highly-saturated shade for summer, one so vibrant and striking it might even stop traffic, so buyer beware. Seen in the Pre-Fall 2023 collections from Jil Sander, Etro, and LAPOINTE, vivid orange is an easy, one-and-done statement with a touch of whimsicality. Also of note: with its attention-grabbing and playful effect, the bold shade feels inherently summery, making it a no-brainer color to integrate into your seasonal style.
Meet the Fashion Expert
Urangoo Samba is the Head of Color at WGSN. She leads WGSN Color team to create world-class insight and analysis across interiors, beauty, fashion and consumer tech industries to ensure success across all market levels.