Mary Janes, sheer realness and gothic hues: 7 of gen Z’s fashion holy grails for 2023

By Deanna Pearce

Updated May 30, 2023 at 01:08 PM

Reading time: <1 minute

When it comes to consumerism in the fashion cosmos, it’s important not to mistake short-lived fads for evergreen trends that will help you build the perfect wardrobe over the years. In order to help you achieve the latter and not fall for the dangerous traps set by the former, we’ve scoured the internet, stalked upcoming fashion designers and obsessed over trend forecasters, all to bring you the seven essentials you’ll need in order to keep up to date with the style of 2023.

So take a breath, concentrate on battling the annual January blues, and leave the rest to us.

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1. Mary Jane shoes

2023 will usher in a resurgence of the stylish school shoe, the patent pumps which typically feature a bold exaggerated heel and dainty strap. Sex and the City actress Sarah Jessica Parker and style icon Alexa Chung are among a long list of celebrities spotted wearing the shoes.

I would advise you to order a pair as soon as you finish reading this. I wouldn’t be surprised if every one of these classic trotters were snatched up before the beginning of February. Fear not however, in order to help you save some time, I’ve shopped for the best options online. For those looking for a highly sophisticated type of footwear, the French brand Carel is selling a beautiful pair of Mary Janes—available in three different colours—for £288.

Of course, if you’re hunting for more affordable options, there are also a variety of choices out there. For example, Koi has a number of chunkier alternatives—all primed and prepped to help you sashay through the year in style.

Image courtesy of Calzedonia

2. Red tights

Hear us out here, from your go-to cheap option Calzedonia to a more luxurious (and cute) pair by Stella McCartney, red tights are gonna be everywhere.

Ready to throw caution to the wind? Here’s where to get the perfect pair for your own style. If you are after a fairly sheer option, Calzedonia currently has its 30 denier tights on sale, including a red pair for only £4. Alternatively, it also has a slightly thicker pair for £7.99.

Image courtesy of Stella McCartney

Last but certainly not least, Stella McCartney’s Smiley Flower Knit Intarsia Tights are also on sale, reduced from £34 to £24.80.

Image courtesy of Motel Rocks

3. Maxi skirts

While mini skirts were all the rage last year—hello, Miu Miu’s micro pleated skirt—the fashion world has done a complete 180 with maxi skirts predicted to dominate 2023. From cargo to silk and denim—you can pretty much pair them with anything. For example, dress down a silk maxi skirt with your favourite pair of chunky platform trainers or break down the tomboy feel of a denim option with a sleek set of heels.

We’re kind of obsessed with the colour palette of this Motel Rocks low-rise maxi skirt, which currently costs £45. We’ll get one of each, please!

Image courtesy of Topshop from ASOS

If you’re looking for a slightly more elegant look that also won’t break the bank, ASOS has some pretty good options to offer, including this Topshop satin bias maxi skirt in dark khaki for £38.

And if you’re simply looking to channel your inner Bella Hadid, don’t hesitate to scroll through second-hand maxi skirts on Depop or Vinted.

4. A slice of lime

Michael Kors, Victoria Beckham and Christian Wijnants were among the long list of designers to include the refreshing shade in their Spring Summer 2023 collections. From dresses to sandals, there is no doubt the colour will be nothing but caliente this year.

Here’s where we recommend you get your squeeze. Although this crystal-embellished lime green jersey midi dress from Self-Portrait might be slightly over my budget, sitting at £420, I’m crossing my fingers that it will show up in the sale section soon enough.

Image courtesy of COS

In case bedazzled clothes aren’t your thing but you’re still aiming to dress to impress, this COS high-neck gathered midi dress might do the trick for £79.

Image courtesy of REVOLVE

5. Sheer joy

Once a major statement, sheer fabrics have now fully immersed themselves into mainstream gen Zer fashion. With every step closer we get to female liberation and empowerment, the sheerer our clothes become—and we’re here for it. From sheer maxi skirts to mesh overlay tops, little will be left to the imagination with everyone sporting this fearless look.

REVOLVE has a hoard of sheer items, including a low-back mermaid gown—retailing at £99—which means you can tick sheer realness and mermaid sleaze off your aesthetic bucket list for 2023 all in one go.

6. Balletcore

Gather your tutus and pumps—the latest micro-trend taking over TikTok is none other than balletcore. Here’s how to shop the look. For a pair of princess ballet pumps, head over to Sandy Liang where you can cop some high-end fanciful footwear. Beware, these pointed pumps will set you back a hefty $495 (approximately £400).

Image courtesy of iets frans from Urban Outfitters

For a more affordable and attainable ballet look, head over to Urban Outfitters and pick yourself up a pair of iets frans leg warmers. Warm, comfy and casual—these ecru limb huggers only cost £14 and are sure to help you emulate all things ballerina.

7. Gothic, revisited

Considering the incredible success that Netflix’s Wednesday received after its release in November 2022, it’s not surprising that the gothic look has since been a rising trend among gen Zers.

Despite the recent popularisation of the style from the Addams character, it should be noted that the goth aesthetic has been around for decades—yet we’re now seeing many luxury brands such as Bottega Veneta and Miu Miu have begun featuring gothic elements in their most recent collections.

Image courtesy of Sister Jane

Because we’re not as hardcore as Wednesday herself, we won’t restrict ourselves to only black and white—purple, navy and other darker palettes are fine too. Take this navy Sister Jane DREAM Spell Velvet Mini Dress for example, can you really resist? Actually, you just might after seeing its £175 price tag.

Image courtesy of ZARA

In case you’re on the hunt for something slightly more affordable, just head straight to ZARA as it currently has a pretty mind-blowing (and worrying) sale on. Just look at this black velvet mini dress and try to guess how much it currently costs… £9.99—grab it before it’s gone!

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