A new year brings new beginnings. For the Styles Desk, it also comes with an old pastime: Predicting the fashion and lifestyle trends that may bubble up in the months ahead.
Last January, when we pondered what might be in store for 2023, some of our thoughts proved rather prescient. Supersize lies (hello, George Santos); fake fashion items (hello, superfake handbags); and an appreciation for “regular degular” people (hello, blue-collar TikTok), to name three.
Others didn’t come to fruition. Butter crocks never took off; neither did pet rats.
The challenge with seeing the future is you can’t. As much as yesterday’s trends can give clues about tomorrow’s, there will always be those things that come out of nowhere.
Our predictions for 2024 contain well-supported hypotheses and others that may sound unlikely. But a nice thing about Jan. 1 is that it is a day when almost anything can seem possible. — Anthony Rotunno, fashion news editor, Styles
Music, fashion, movies, higher education: All were heavily influenced by Taylor Swift in 2023. Her relationship with Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs also put a spotlight on football — and put an athlete at the side of one of the world’s most popular bachelorettes, turning many people indifferent to the N.F.L. into armchair fans. Will that enthusiasm, coupled with the interest in the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris, set the stage for a jock renaissance? — Wilson Wong, editing resident, Book Review
Everything’s Coming Up Rosettes
We hit peak bow last year. Now rosettes are ascendant. More are appearing on items by Sandy Liang, the designer whose girlish aesthetic in part made bows so prevalent. The red rosette is being pushed as an accessory for the lapel and as a whimsical choker by the fashion blogger Leandra Medine Cohen. And Rosette, a newish clothing label in New York, is dedicated entirely to the soft roselike design. — Marie Solis, staff editor, Styles
Aging Out of Social Media
Gen X and older millennials who grew up without the internet will cease their nostalgic rhapsodizing about life before cellphones, when people read books on the subway and talked to strangers while waiting in line and made plans that they couldn’t cancel via text. They’ll start abandoning social media and recommitting to being charming and witty and interesting in real life with real people in real spaces. — Melissa Kirsch, deputy editor, Culture and Lifestyle
Fancy Glassware Sheds a Stigma
Not even drinking glasses have been immune to discussions about gender identity. But a bartender-led push to abandon outmoded ideas about the gender of cocktail glasses is afoot. Might it mean that men who have had a death grip on their rocks glass since college will start opting for the refined Nick-and-Nora glass more often? A Nick-and-Nora communicates a sense of occasion: It’s narrower than a coupe, wider than a flute and has an eye-catching silhouette — think an upturned bell — that can make everyone feel like the belle of the bar. — Louis Lucero II, senior staff editor, Styles
Smart Watches Enter Elementary Schools
Lots of parents remain resistant to introducing smartphones at a young age — and for good reason. But more seem open to getting smartwatches after companies like Apple made it easier to control children’s accounts. Expect to see more devices on the wrists of the elementary-school set and more school districts trying to adjust to a world where kids play watch games and send garbled audio messages. Some have already banned the devices from classrooms. — Farah Miller, strategy and operations deputy, Culture and Lifestyle
Theme Dressing Becomes a Red-Carpet Staple
Hollywood never met a good idea it didn’t want to squeeze a sequel — or 15 — out of. The strategic red-carpet roll out for “Barbie” has already inspired themed dressing at premieres and photo ops for films like “Wonka” (so many shades of purple) and “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.” With movies like “Dune: Part Two” and the “Mean Girls” remake set to release this year, just imagine the possibilities. — Vanessa Friedman, fashion director, Styles
Grand Theft Auto VI Hype Grows Inescapable
The ultraviolent Grand Theft Auto franchise’s next installment isn’t coming out until 2025. But a trailer released last month has received more than 128 million views — and has led to swirling debates about whether the teaser’s high-fidelity graphics will actually be representative of the game play. (Fans have also noticed that GTA VI, which is set in Miami, evokes the visuals of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, its 21-year-old predecessor heavily inspired by South Florida.) Buckle up for lots more discourse now that thirsty gamers’ attention is piqued. — Mike Isaac, technology reporter, Business
Less Virtuous Drinks
Low-to-no-alcohol beverages are now a fixture at restaurants, bars and even clubs. The focus on virtuous drinking, however, may be inviting new vices: hard sodas, for instance, or heavily caffeinated lemonades. It has been almost 15 years since the company behind Four Loko stopped producing the caffeinated alcoholic drink. Would it be so surprising if that anniversary was used to launch a comeback? — Dani Blum, reporter, Well
Butterfly Kisses Get Reconsidered
The explosion of girlhood online over the last year — girl dinners, girl math — was, in a way, about the culture-shaking, market-moving effects that can come from forces often seen as unassuming. Could it give new relevance to the butterfly kiss, another little, silly thing with surprising potential? The butterfly effect tells us that seemingly tiny events can have colossal, unpredictable effects on far away places and in far away times. Who knows what butterfly effects a year of fluttering eyelashes could yield. — Emma Goldberg, reporter, Business
Manicures for the Boys
ASAP Rocky appeared in a new Bottega Veneta ad with blitzed-out nails. Drake had his painted a neutral color in a recent Nike campaign. And over the past few years, Harry Styles, Machine Gun Kelly, Lil Yachty and Tyler, the Creator, have all launched nail-polish lines. Men, famous and not, have been painting their nails for centuries. But the practice’s recent ubiquity suggests male manicures are poised to have a larger cultural moment. — Christy Harmon, photo editor, Styles
Chocolate Lava Bubbles Up
Molten chocolate cake — or chocolate lava cake — has been harder, but not impossible, to come by since it haunted restaurant menus in the 1990s and 2000s. But in a presidential election year, when some will be driven to seek comfort and others driven to hedonism, few desserts seem more ripe for a comeback than this classic, warm, chocolaty and indulgent confection. — Anna Kodé, reporter, Real Estate
Tides Turn for Gen Z
As Gen-Zers have basked in the glow of youth, they’ve also told older generations that everything they do is embarrassing. (Two words: OK, Boomer.) That attitude may catch up with them now that Gen Alpha, a younger cohort, has arrived online. The new kids are already mocking terms embraced by Gen Z: “It’s not even funny how out ‘slay’ is,” one Gen Alpha member said on TikTok. Some members of older generations are ready for the skewering. “Watching Gen Alpha come for Gen Z is gonna be the highlight of my Millennial life,” a commenter responded. — Callie Holtermann, reporter, Styles