Items like corsets, long gloves and empire-waist dresses have become the stars of women’s fashion, notably since the success of shows like Bridgerton and The Crown. However, despite figures showing interest in these trends from the past, the chances of seeing them being worn on the street or at the store remain — for now — pretty slim.
Let’s take a look at some of these micro-trends that buzz online but never quite make it to our closets.
Another day, another trend. Such is the fate of the fashion world since the advent of social media and dedicated search engines. As a result, internet users, who also want to dress like their favorite stars, heroes or idols, find themselves exploring inspirations that are as extravagant as they are eccentric — and we’re not talking about the bucket hat.
Undoubtedly, these trends can be very aesthetically appealing, but they’re often difficult to wear on a daily basis. The phenomenon has grown in recent months, demonstrating the power of social networks when it comes to inspiring the biggest fashion designers.
The corset gets refreshed
The 19th century London high society seen in the Bridgerton series, as well as the retro aesthetics of the Queen Elizabeth II biopic The Crown, have given rise to some surprising trends in recent months, bringing back to the forefront historical pieces that no one would have imagined wearing in 2022.
First in line is the corset, buoyed by the emergence of two micro-trends: Regencycore and Royalcore. Long criticized, this once-essential womenswear piece fell into disuse when designers liberated women’s bodies with much less restrictive clothing.
But these two TV series have put the corset and other trends back in the spotlight, to the extent that the global search engine Lyst reported a 123% increase in searches for corsets just one month after Bridgerton screened.
So, it seemed that women were (in theory) ready to revive one of the most oppressive pieces their wardrobe has ever seen. On the catwalks, fashion houses like Weinsanto, Acne Studios or Mugler, also raised the corset to the rank of womenswear star, while celebrities like Lourdes Leon, Saweetie, Halle Berry and Lizzo, did not hesitate to show it off on stage and on the red carpet, as well as on social networks.
And indeed, while the corset has a strong presence on Instagram and TikTok, it is more difficult to spot in the street or in the subway. And for good reason. It is not necessarily the corset in its original form that has returned to fashion, but a range of clothing inspired by the said piece.
A symbol of emancipation and self-affirmation, rather than constraint, its 2022 version lands with decorative lacing effects, as well as lingerie pieces inspired by this creation which dates back to the Spanish court… So don’t expect to see your boss — or your coworkers — coming to work wearing a corset as you might have seen it nearly a century ago.
Long gloves, the invisible micro-trend
Not content with reviving the corset, Bridgerton and The Crown have also given rise to a passion for long gloves. Yes, that’s right, the kind of evening gloves — also called opera gloves — worn by Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe in the 1940s to the 1960s. The height of fashion at the time, along with long evening dresses, these gloves had never really resurfaced until now. And we can understand it.
The jeans/shirt with opera gloves combo probably isn’t the easiest look to wear. And yet, the global search engine Stylight observed a 153% increase in clicks for opera gloves at the beginning of the year, while the hashtag #operagloves has already reached more than 500,000 views on TikTok, a social network favored by younger users. Incredible, but true.
Here too, the trend has been embraced by the biggest luxury fashion houses, such as Elie Saab and Valentino, but also by world-famous stars, such as Sydney Sweeney, Beyoncé and Millie Bobby Brown.
Yet no trace of long gloves can be found in real life — the life of endless commutes, long weeks, school runs and grocery shopping. In this world — far from the gemstones, sequins and red carpet events — long gloves simply have no place, like empire-waist dresses, leather mittens (here’s looking at you, Emily in Paris), or feather or pearl headbands and other trends.
These micro-trends keep coming thick and fast in various shapes and forms, but ultimately they only really seem suitable — and intended — for the kind of world frequented by stars and celebrities, as has been the case for many years.
Or, of course, for social media, these new virtual worlds where everything seems possible.