Spring fashion: Everything you need to know about this season's key trends

From dots to denim, we've distilled the main spring 2020 trends you should be embracing

Bored to the teeth with large, shapeless puffer coats? Ready to ditch the dark winter woollies? Thanks to a whole gamut of storms in recent weeks, we may all be swiftly running out of enthusiasm for cold weather dressing, and more than ready to adopt spring styles.

Just as well the new season collections are arriving in stores. Admittedly, a diaphanous dress or open-collar shirt might feel like the last thing you need in early March, but when it comes to spring shopping, it’s best to move swiftly to snag the best stuff.

But the trickiest of seasonal wardrobe switches – from belligerent winter weather to mild spring – requires some thought. Uncovering is always more difficult than layering up. Couple that with the fact there are so many different ways to look on-trend, the choices can be overwhelming.

The key to navigating a new season of fashion is about laying the foundation, selecting the satellite pieces that will serve you and your wardrobe for the next four months, and beyond. Rather than kitting yourself out in trends head-to-toe, just a few outfit-lifting flourishes mixed in with your basic pieces will make an outfit feel way more now.

Spring 2020’s catwalks were very wearable. The appetite for faddy, throw-away trends is waning, with more of a focus on legacy buys and quality basics. This old thing is the next big thing.

Real-life, accessible outfit inspiration dominated the catwalks at Celine, Brandon Maxwell and The Row. Trench coats, denim, suiting and button-down shirts were everywhere, interjected with a few headlining trends than can easily slot into wardrobes and stay there. 

Consider this your cheat sheet for spring.



1. The 70s Show

Valentino flower shirt, €1,290; Zimmermann Super Eight Lantern mini dress, €895
Valentino flower shirt, €1,290; Zimmermann Super Eight Lantern mini dress, €895

Admittedly, florals for spring is hardly groundbreaking – but vintage couch and curtain-like prints were channelled at Alberta Ferretti, Etro, Christopher Kane and Prada. Buds were amped up with psychedelic twists, with acid-drenched trips making the latest iteration feel refreshed. Think retro wallpaper, but make it fashion. Flashes of paisley, fit and flare suits, disco collars, and knee-high boots keep the return of the Seventies on the right side of retro.

2. Do the Polka

Topshop blouse, €49; Zara blazer, €59.95
Topshop blouse, €49; Zara blazer, €59.95

Last year’s viral spotty dress from Zara proved people’s appetite for polka dots, and this spring you can expect more in-demand dots. Designers such as Dries Van Noten, Gucci and Richard Quinn sealed the spot’s fate as the pattern of the season, finding places for the polka dot on maxi skirts, co-ords and dresses. Any dot will do, from micro to massive, as spring spots will be your take-you-anywhere print, from the office to occasions.

3. Shirt vs Blouse

Doen blouse, €320; Topshop shirt, €34
Doen blouse, €320; Topshop shirt, €34

It’s easy to overlook the charms of a plain shirt, but a crisp blue button-down is the simplest and most prudent way to update your look this spring. You’ll be particularly on trend if you wear it as the catwalks intended, layered over a polo neck as seen at The Row, or with a utility jacket and bootcut jeans as seen at Celine, or with ankle-grazing tactile skirts at Dior. If shirting is not frou-frou enough for you, then romantic ruffled, frilled, pussy-bow bourgeois blouses are the perfect antidote to the stark simplicity, and as just as much in demand.

4. Suit Up

Remain Debbie blazer, €300; Uterque blazer, €219
Remain Debbie blazer, €300; Uterque blazer, €219

There’s a suit to suit everyone this season, from the retro styles at Louis Vuitton and Victoria Beckham to slouchy and oversized at Proenza Schouler and JW Anderson. Try saccharine tones or saturated shades, or stick to neutral tones. Team your tailoring with this year’s square toe mule, modern loafer or comfy trainer. To put a 2020 spin on the classic suit, add a waistcoat as seen slung under blouses at Burberry, Max Mara and Celine. Or for a warm weather friendly option, embrace the short suit with the bermuda/blazer combination that ruled the runway at Givenchy, Max Mara and Chloe.

5. Modern Romance

Simone Rocha ruffled blouse, €545 at Havana Boutique in Donnybrook; Red Valentino pleated midi skirt, €795
Simone Rocha ruffled blouse, €545 at Havana Boutique in Donnybrook; Red Valentino pleated midi skirt, €795

Waterfall ruffles, chiffon, and sheer layers – the spring catwalks read like a romantic love story. Zimmerman, Richard Quinn and Cecile Bahnsen proved there is plenty of power in the pretty. Mimic the dreaminess of the runways with enchanting tiered dresses, big puffy sleeves, high-neck ruffled blouses, or shades that belong in an ice-cream parlour.

6. Leather Weather

Uterque leather jacket in yellow, €279; Zara A-line faux leather skirt in olive green, €49.95
Uterque leather jacket in yellow, €279; Zara A-line faux leather skirt in olive green, €49.95

Leather used to just be the reserve of autumn, but the slick fabric is ready to have its moment during spring too. Lightweight, soft, buttery iterations in a myriad of shades from berry to rust, tan to mint, and in every form imaginable. At Prada, creative director Miuccia Prada stuck to the brand’s DNA, offering leather versions of ladylike A-line skirts in pastel shades, teamed with chic fine knits. While Boss’ trench in the shade of the year – classic blue – is a stylish way to brave the spring chill.

7. True Blue

Arket denim skirt, €79; LK Bennett blazer, €400
Arket denim skirt, €79; LK Bennett blazer, €400

Not a trend per se, but denim was ubiquitous on the catwalks for spring 2020. Sophisticated and wearable, it channels the timeless and wearable mood that dominated this season’s style. Knee-length skirts were teamed with slouchy blazers at Celine, scuffed-up jeans were counterbalanced with elevated blouses at Givenchy, and worn head-to-toe at Gucci.

8. Entrenched

French Connection trench, €230; Topshop check trench, €110
French Connection trench, €230; Topshop check trench, €110

There’s nothing quite as timeless as a neutral-toned trench coat, but for spring the perennial classic comes in new guises and fresh colours. Top-billed shows Simone Rocha, Ports 1961 and Loewe presented leather panels, frills, ruffles and checks, making the neutral mac a lot more exciting. But if you’d rather stick to the classics, the standard issue beige topper was still represented in timeless versions at Celine and Victoria Beckham.



Men’s trends

1. Utility

Barbour jacket, €180, Arnotts; Stone Island logo patch cargo trousers, €325
Barbour jacket, €180, Arnotts; Stone Island logo patch cargo trousers, €325

Technical fabrics, workwear and multipocketed everything brought a practical and functionally edge to the spring catwalks. Virgil Bloh at Louis Vuitton kicked it off with multicompartmentalised cargo jackets and trousers, with Prada, Dolce & Gahanna and Fendi following suit.

2. Open-collar Shirt

French Connection shirt, €70; Reiss shirt, €120
French Connection shirt, €70; Reiss shirt, €120

Considered a comeback hero of men’s wardrobe, the Cuban-collared shirt is one of the most enduring trends. Wear it open over a T-shirt, with jeans or chinos, or if you want to smarten it up they can even work under a suit. Open collars were seen on runways for labels including Valentino, Marni, Fendi, and Dolce & Gabanna.

3. Tailoring 2.0

Burton blazer, €110; Marks & Spencer blazer, €135
Burton blazer, €110; Marks & Spencer blazer, €135

Tailoring is never a no when it comes to the male wardrobe, but suiting got a definite renaissance for spring. Propositions for warm weather include fine fabrics, volume and tailored shorts. The smart and neat double-breasted blazer was the silhouette of choice at Ralph Lauren, Squared, Dior and Dries Van Noten.

4. New Prep

Fred Perry T-shirt, €95, Arnotts; Tommy Hilifger top, €119
Fred Perry T-shirt, €95, Arnotts; Tommy Hilifger top, €119

Irreverent but grown-up, preppy stablemates on the catwalks included rugby shirts, penny loafers, boat shoes, and Oxford shirts. But this isn’t full-tilt preppy, so don’t incorporate all into a single outfit; instead field your striped shirts with utility trousers and trainers.