The fashion industry has historically divided the year into two main fashion seasons--spring and fall. Each season shows decidedly different colors and silhouettes. Within these two seasons, smaller collections may be presented, such as resortwear. Winter clothing is generally included as part of the fall season.
The fashion industry calendar is divided into two major time seasons. Spring generally refers to the six-month period from January to June, and Fall refers to the months from July to December. These are the most traditionally used dividing marks, although individual designers or stores may choose to operate using slightly different months or timing.
Fashion Week occurs twice a year, in February and in September. This weeklong event consists of a series of fashion shows presented by individual designers and fashion labels. The most publicized American fashion week takes place in Bryant Park in New York City. Fall clothing is shown in February, and Spring is shown in September. Fashion Week serves two purposes. First, it attracts publicity for the fashion industry. Secondly, retailers view designers' latest collections and begin buying next season's merchandise.
Fall fashion will typically set in stores in July, in time for the back-to-school shopping period. Generally, spring and summer merchandise would go on permanent sale at this point. Fall clothing often shows a jewel-tone color palette, long sleeves, heavier fabrics and light outerwear. A retailer may choose to set different weather-appropriate merchandise in stores that are located in warmer climates.
Winter/holiday season clothing is very important--this is the merchandise that is in stores during Thanksgiving and Christmas, a time period which produces a very large sales volume. Winter/holiday clothing will usually arrive in stores from late October to early November and will carry through the rest of the calendar year. Regardless of fashion trends, one can usually expect to see velvets, embellished clothing, heavy outerwear and party dresses in stores at this time.
"Seasonless dressing" is a recent fashion movement, describing a trend of wearing the same fashions year-round. People are spending increased amounts of time in climate-controlled environments. Air-conditioned and heated cars and work spaces equal less time in natural temperatures, and thus, less demand for heavy winter clothing. This means that fall and winter clothing may begin to appear and feel less autumnal--designers will show lighter fabrics and lighter colors. Summer clothing could become acceptable as year-round clothing--for example, summer dresses can be adapted for fall by layering turtlenecks and tights underneath.