12/17/2012 06:00 EST | Updated 02/16/2013 05:12 EST

Trends For 2013: Start The New Year In Style


TORONTO - Sweats? Sweaters? Suits? Or T-shirts and jeans?

Comb through your closet and undoubtedly clues will emerge of which well-worn items stacked in multiples may rank among your fashionable favourites.

A go-to ensemble is not unlike having a stylish daily uniform which offers a sense of comfort and familiarity to the wearer.

But if it's on your New Year's to-do list to shake up your style or you're merely looking to accentuate a tried-and-true look, you're in luck: the range of ripped-from-the-runway options is extensive.

Yet for some, the prospect of sifting through a sea of apparel and accessory offerings on store shelves may seem a bit daunting.

Well, fear not, fashionistas. Barbara Atkin, vice-president of fashion direction for Holt Renfrew, fashion and media maven Jeanne Beker, LouLou editor-in-chief Julia Cyboran and Hello! Canada fashion and beauty editor Julia Seidl share their suggestions of five fashionable trends worthy of trying in 2013.

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1. The tunic. Whether worn with sleeves or without, the loose-fitting garment was featured prominently on runways at home and abroad, perhaps most notably in Milan among the colourful, luxe looks unveiled from Italian fashion house Gucci.

"In the past, it may have looked like a little mini-dress. But today, we're going to layer it over a skinny legging or that new knee-length bicycle short," says Atkin. "The tunic is really looking new."

Atkin says the garment can be paired with a skirt as well — be it a slim pencil silhouette or a flirtier version — and will be seen in soft, easy silks, sheers or even more constructed fabrics like cotton.

2. Transparency. See-through accessories give a whole meaning to the phrase "barely there."

"It's anything from the new lucite heel to an actual transparent shoe which is made of PVC or vinyl," says Atkin of the look which she describes as the "new neutral." Tote bags and belts are also popping up in PVC fabrications, she notes.

But for those concerned about their valuables being visible within a transparent bag, Atkin suggests purchasing different prints from the fabric store to line the interior. Individuals could also consider placing a small fabric or drawstring bag within the tote or carry-all to discreetly house the contents inside, she adds.

"You can change it up, and that's such an inexpensive way of doing it."

Atkin says the transparency trend is apparent in apparel as well, with sheer fabrics and sheer insets being seen in clothing.

It's a sentiment echoed by Seidl who has seen many dresses with geometric cutouts and flashes of skin in garments for the year ahead that are "sexy but not too revealing."

"We saw a lot of sheer panelling as well. So we saw a cutout, but we saw a panel of a sheer fabric covering it," Seidl says. "You got a hint of it without it being too in your face, so that's kind of a way to pull off the look if you are a bit more conservative."

3. Headwear. While the young New York socialites of "Gossip Girl" may be heading off the airwaves, fashion fans can still channel their inner Blair Waldorf by sporting a style popularized by the teen soap: headbands.

Seidl says she's liking mod-style headbands such as those spotted on the spring runway at Louis Vuitton with pretty, bow details. Young starlets like Elle Fanning are also being seen wearing full-wrap, elastic fabric versions of the accessory, she notes.

For those on the hunt for a new topper or looking to try their hand, er, head, at sporting a hat, the fedora may be just the ticket.

At Hedi Slimane's debut show at Saint Laurent Paris this fall, Atkin says every model was sporting the headpiece. "Literally, the next day in Paris, every woman on the street pulled out their fedora or went looking for one."

She believes the new incarnation of the felt fedora is a fresh take on a familiar item and one that will "become seasonless."

"We have seen women wearing fedoras, but not like this, not this really kind of wide brim floppy one. And it's going to be a really simple, easy one for everyone, (to wear)," she said of the style, which she described as having a "hippy chic feeling to it."

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4. Peplum. It's prime time to get ruffled. Expect to see plenty more peplum in 2013, as the ruffle or short overskirt which attaches to the waistlines of garments is set to make an even bigger sartorial splash in the new year.

"Peplum has been dominant now for the last few runway seasons and it's not going away," says Cyboran. "We saw it again on the spring 2013 runways and it's something that has finally translated to the market. So we're seeing them everywhere and we've become comfortable with that silhouette — and it's a silhouette that can really flatter."

The peplum can add a touch of feminine appeal to a silhouette by cinching at the waist, she noted.

"The peplum is a great piece because it can be dressed up and it can be dressed down," said Cyboran. "One of my recommendations would be to invest in a peplum, be it a skirt, a dress — even jackets now have a bit of a peplum feel to it."

5. Go Bold. The movement towards embracing richer shades in the wardrobe which was prominent in 2012 will continue in earnest in the new year in an unexpected way: leather.

While black and brown standard in leather looks, new collections from Toronto-based Lucian Matis and New York label Proenza Schouler featured vibrant shades like red and mustard, noted Seidl.

"It's kind of in this rainbow of colours and also the different textures," she says, pointing to the use of croc-embossed patterns seen in select leather creations.

For those seeking something similarly striking, Beker suggests opting for a bold or graphic piece to add pop to pre-existing ensembles.

"I think those are the kind of things that can give a lift to your whole wardrobe that is comprised mostly of little black dresses," she said. "If you have just the right scarf, for example, with a big graphic black and white check, that could sort of elevate it to a whole other level."