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13 Predictions for the Trends We’ll See in 2023

Oh, the possibilities of a new year. This will be the one, we say, when we’ll exercise more, spend a little less and stop devoting entire weekends to binge-watching “House Hunters.” (OK, maybe that’s just me.)

Nevertheless, change is in the air. What will the rest of 2023 bring? We can’t see into the future, but let’s try. Here are some of our best guesses for what’s in store this year. — Lindsey Underwood, senior editor, Styles

Imprecise by design, “vibes” defined our vague feelings of uneasiness in the beginning of the pandemic. The “vibes are off,” my friend Steve Macfarlane, who works in the film department at the Museum of Modern Art, wrote in a viral tweet he now regrets, describing the atmosphere of summer 2021. Not long after, there came news of a “vibe shift” gathering on the horizon. Writers and critics tried to pin down exactly what vibes were, but the word remained slippery and, at least for me, frustratingly overused. There will always be a term to account for that which we can’t clearly express in the moment — in the 2010s it was “mood” — but at a certain point, mere “vibes” crystallize into hard facts, and we’re forced to look around and evaluate the circumstances of our lives. — Marie Solis, editing resident

Last month, the designer Marco Simonetti posted images he’d created, using artificial intelligence, of a hypothetical Jacquemus and Nike pop-up shop in the French ski resort Courchevel; the proposed collection includes squishy knit sneaker boots and bulbous padded bags. Jil Sander’s spring 2023 runway show had fuzzy, feathery garments and clutches; the Instagram favorite Selkie has built a cult following with dreamy, delicately hued cream puff dresses. Lucy Sparrow installed an all-felt McDonald’s during Miami’s Scope Art Show in November, complete with cuddly burgers and fries.

Two million people watched a TikTok featuring cozy crochet covers for headphones created by Alexandria Masse, a textile artist. A post about a teacher who turned her students’ drawings into plush toys spread widely on Twitter. Even the concept cars at the trade show CES in early January were mostly rounded with bubble wheels. A soft-rock documentary series, “Sometimes When We Touch,” just debuted on TV. Soft boys and soft girls may have been gaining momentum for a while, but this is the year we all go soft. — Dodai Stewart, Metro writer at large

By now, most people have accepted little white lies — those small fabrications that keep polite society humming along, inflating a bit of praise here, safeguarding against hurt feelings there — as the cost of doing business. In 2023, it’s going to take nothing less than baldfaced lies on an international scale to get our collective blood pumping, the type of lie that occasions a scandalized “if that even is your real name!” Representative George Santos has gotten the ball rolling in fine fashion, of course, but I predict that time will reveal him to be only the tip of an iceberg of mendacity, bobbing insidiously in a sea of deceit. Be careful out there. — Louis Lucero II, senior staff editor, Styles

During his first year in office, Mayor Eric Adams of New York made the city’s rat population a pet issue, one that he will seemingly stop at nothing to resolve. He has encouraged the use of new Italian-made traps across the five boroughs. He has created a job, director of rodent mitigation, in the mayor’s office. (Starting salary: $120,000.) He has installed a sanitation commissioner who doubled down on his rhetoric at a news conference this fall, reminding vermin that “the rats don’t run this city, we do.”

If these hard-line attempts fail, could a softer approach — getting rats off the streets by encouraging people to take them in as pets — come next? Last month, New York State banned the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits at pet stores. Rats, however, remain a permitted commodity — and they’re in no short supply. — Anthony Rotunno, fashion news editor

They’ve had a nice run. But the many hot slip-ons of 2022 suggest that 2023 may be the year we retire shoelaces. We’ve already been shuffling around in the Birkenstock Boston clogs and UGG slippers that exploded on TikTok last year, and we’ve returned to the office in loafers, ballet flats and Mary Janes. As evidence mounts that the sneaker resale bubble is bursting, even the streetwear crowd has been trying out puffer clogs and the terrain-chic toggle closures on Hoka Hoparas and Salomon XTs. Maybe we’ve become more willing to wear lightly disguised slippers outside since spending so much time cooped up during the pandemic. Or maybe we’re just sick of tying two Boy Scout-level knots every day before 9 a.m. — Callie Holtermann, Styles news assistant

Last year brought us the TikTok phenomenon of “butter boards” — gussied up butter, softened and spread over a cutting board, sprinkled with garnishes like herbs, edible flowers, salt or honey. Delicious! Butter’s appeal is eternal, but even butter has trends. So this will be the year of the butter crock, a vessel that sits outside of the refrigerator, designed to keep butter soft and fresh. (Here I feel obligated to mention that the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends keeping butter at 40 degrees Fahrenheit, even if it messes with my prediction.) If you need a tutorial on how to use one, see this one from Carolina Gelen. Happy spreading. — Stella Bugbee, Styles editor

The years 2016 to 2022 were marked by a high level of chaos, with the pandemic as the peak of four years of incoherent yelling. In 2023, as I observe people of all political stripes repelled by the spectacle of a Congress unable to choose a leader, I foresee a move away from the strife and dysfunction. Americans are going to gravitate toward media, experiences and political figures that are just regular degular and rather wholesome. More “Abbott Elementary” and “Ticket to Paradise.” More Luddite teens starting book clubs and staring at the stars. Less of the extreme and more of the everyday pleasures. — Jessica Grose, opinion writer

As inflation decimates our spending power and fast fashion becomes ever more uninspiring and ethically dubious, we can expect lots of talk of shopping for tasteful “investment pieces” in 2023. But for those of us with neither the budget nor the interest in a $1,300 black turtleneck from The Row, I hope this year ushers in a resurgence of do-it-yourself clothes crafting.

Thrift stores may no longer offer the inexpensive hidden gems that they did 10 years ago, but they still provide plenty of raw material to shred, dye, bead, appliqué, paint, patch or otherwise mess with to create one-of-a-kind statement pieces. I’m expecting my TikTok algorithm to deliver more tutorials on how to turn a T-shirt into a dress, and I foresee craft night invitations in the place of clothing swaps. Amid a collective nostalgia for the early aughts, it’s as good a time as any to embrace uneven hems and unfinished edges. — Shane O’Neill, senior video editor

TikTok helped usher in a new era of fakes in fashion. “Dupe” accessories took off thanks to faster-than-fast-fashion websites selling bootleg Bottega Venetas and Balenciagas — although some analog New York City street vendors profited, too, like the “scarf guy” selling Acne Studios knockoffs on Seventh Avenue in Manhattan. But fashion’s cyclical nature suggests that in 2023, we’re due to see more meta-fakes: merchandise created by troublemakers poking fun at logomania and the obsession with luxury that proliferates on social media. The last time bootlegging became a trend was around 2017, when brands like Gucci made “Guccy” shirts and paid homage to its most famous provocateur, Dapper Dan. Luxury brands getting in on the joke somehow made it much less funny. Still, in-your-face fakes will always be more interesting than straight-faced fakes, as I was recently reminded by Johnny Cirillo of Watching New York. He’s a street photographer who caught one stylish pedestrian carrying a Hermès Birkin dupe covered with the words: “You fake like this Birkin.” — Jessica Testa, fashion news reporter

Leave your 12-step facial routine in the past, and trade caring for the cells on your face for the ones growing out of your head. This is going to be the year of upgrading your drugstore shampoo and conditioner — or maybe just finding a drugstore brand that works better for your hair — and giving your strands a little more TLC. Whatever that means for you! Maybe it’s a microfiber towel, a fresh cotton T-shirt for plopping your hair or a Denman brush for curl definition. The 2022 return of the claw clip, a ’90s staple that can be less damaging than a hair elastic, was just the beginning. Keep an eye out for heatless styling methods on your TikTok’s For You Page and Instagram ads peddling scalp scrubs and conditioning masks. And if that is not enough to convince you, just look at the TikTok discourse that broke out in the first week of the new year over a rosemary hair oil. — Madison Malone Kircher, Styles reporter

Congressional elections are all about representation. And while I am a Californian, at no other point in history have I felt more represented than when John Fetterman, the blue-collar giant known for appearing on the campaign trail in shorts and a hoodie, was sworn in as a senator from Pennsylvania. As a longtime hoodie-and-shorts guy, I greatly appreciate Mr. Fetterman’s dedication to the bit; neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night has deterred him from wearing his preferred outfit in public.

My hope is that Mr. Fetterman’s bravery, along with Covid chic’s becoming more acceptable outside of video calls, will bring more of us hoodie-and-shorts guys out of the woodwork and onto the national stage in 2023. This is more than just athleisure: It is a movement. — Mike Isaac, technology reporter

It’s notably weird when someone next to you on the subway or at a restaurant strikes up a conversation, no matter how innocuous. I anticipate, perhaps somewhat wishfully, that 2023 will change that. More strangers in public settings will start conversing with one another on matters small and large. It will make us feel like we’re all living in this world together rather than going about it ourselves, and new ideas will be spread and debated like we’re in one never-ending French salon. — Anna Kodé, real estate reporter

Last year, alcohol-free rosé crept into the club and exorbitantly expensive mocktails showed up on bar menus. In 2023, the crackdown will come for caffeine. Think mugs of matcha-flavored brew without the kick, a booming decaf menu at Starbucks — or, as one perhaps soon-to-be-former tech executive prefers, soda-flavored sludge sapped of caffeine. Wellness influencers will post pastel infographics that rail against caffeine-induced jitters; before-and-after videos will clog your TikTok feed, showing people a day, a week, a month without coffee. If indie sleaze really is oozing back, this time around, we’ll be chugging caffeine-free Red Bull instead of Four Loko. See you at the coffeeless coffee bar. — Dani Blum, associate reporter, Well

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