What fashion trends are going to take over in 2021? It seems like the must-have fashion pieces for 2020 all were a waste of time and energy, as instead of wearing the latest styles, we all resorted to sweatpants. Rather than snag that really cute jacket that we’ve all had our eye on, we instead invested our money in comfy sweaters and cozy socks for the long-lasting quarantine days of the COVID-19 pandemic. We ditched a lot of fashion trends in 2020!
But despite 2020’s lack of fashion standouts, designers went out of their way to bring the latest in fashion to their 2021 collections — and they did not disappoint. Taking into consideration the changing dynamics of life, as well as the function that clothes serve, labels like Rick Owens, Stella McCartney, and Balmain set the stage and introduced this coming season’s must have designs.
So even if you’re only putting on a blazer for your Zoom meetings, or if you save your best look for a trip to the grocery store, you still won’t want to miss out on a fashion-forward moment. Here are the fashion trends that are going to take over in 2021.
Clingy sweaters are definitely taking over in 2021
Good news for all you sweater lovers out there: clingy sweaters will take over in 2021, thanks to designers like Rick Owens and Thebe Magugu. As noted in Vogue, these designers featured tight-to-the-skin sweaters in their 2021 collections, using a light, delicate, and almost translucent material that hugged the body in all the right areas. Owens even featured an outfit that included a one-sleeved sweater with strategic cutouts, creating a futuristic, asymmetrical look.
Additionally, designers including Charlotte Knowles, Ottolinger, Supriya Lele, Nensi Dojaka, and LaQuan Smith all experimented with mesh as a material for clingy-sweaters in their spring 2021 catalogs. Ottolinger, for example, showcased a mesh plaid outfit, which combined a bold print with barely see-through material.
Now we definitely don’t have $380 to spend, but if you’re down to bring this look into your life, you might want to check out the more affordable options at stores like Urban Outfitters and Free People.
'70s-inspired looks are poised to take over in 2021
Add this to the list of the best things to happen in 2020: the announcement that ’70s-inspired designs are taking over in 2021. We love a good Fleetwood Mac moment, and given that ’70s aesthetics are already popular on social media apps like TikTok, it’s no wonder that designers picked up on the resurgence.
According to Marie Claire, 2021’s biggest colors will be the burnt oranges and the earthy tones of the ’70s, as well as stand out prints like argyle. You’ll also want to revisit everyone’s favorite material, corduroy, pointed collars, and flared trousers for fashion inspiration.
Thanks in part to the rising popularity of throwback hits like Dreams and The Chain (via the Independent), fans of the iconic era will be happy to know that they’ll soon be able to sport their favorite flared jeans and button downs. They can do that all wearing the new roller skates they bought after seeing people on TikTok make skating look effortless.
The oversized trouser will be a staple in your 2021 wardrobe
Thank goodness large pants are taking over in 2021. Gone will be the days of your old sweatpants from middle school; instead, you’ll be switching them out for a more stylish option. Just as comfortable to wear, but a hundred times more stylish, the oversized trouser will quickly become a staple in everyone’s wardrobe in 2021; that’s thanks to a bunch of designers featuring the look in their spring 2021 fashion shows. As noted by Vogue, designers including Louis Vuitton, The Row, and Stella McCartney brought the oversized trouser to their runways, and the outfits did not disappoint.
To top off what’s already such a great look, these pants are just as versatile as they are stylish. Whether you’re running to Target to get a bunch of stuff you don’t need, or venturing out of the house for a small get-together, the oversized trouser will not let you down — and it certainly won’t disappoint your fashion-forward friends. And since style doesn’t always have to break the bank, go for these looks from ASOS or Nasty Gal if you’re looking for a more affordable option.
Channel your inner Parisian, because headscarves are taking over in 2021
Headscarves have been in and out of fashion for decades, and unlike some trends we should really put to bed for good (think everything you wore in the early 2000s), the headscarf is taking over in 2021. According to Vogue, the effect of the headscarf has been dubbed the “haute-homespun,” given its signature look and well-documented history. But if you still need to be nudged in the direction of the iconic accessory, all you have to do is look at the people who have adopted it into their wardrobes.
Actress and beauty icon Audrey Hepburn wore headscarves effortlessly during her career. Model and all around icon Twiggy was also seen sporting the look. First Lady Jackie Kennedy wore a headscarf on multiple occasions, and Elizabeth Taylor was also seen wearing the accessory.
If you still need convincing, just remember that fashion icons like Rihanna and Bella Hadid have both been seen rocking a headscarf. And the look isn’t tailored towards women; men have also been spotted wearing headscarves and completely pulling it off. Even A$AP Rocky wore a headscarf and paired it with an ornate jacket.
Ladies, don't forget to browse the men's section for your 2021 blazers
It seems like with time, the line between clothes deemed “masculine” or “feminine” is blurring, and for good reason. Men can wear skirts and women can wear pants, because at the end of the day, if the outfit looks good, who’s to judge? With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that the oversized men’s suit jacket is making a resurgence, and will take over in 2021.
As noted by Vogue, the best way to rock the men’s streetwear style for the coming year will be in a laid-back way. Pair your oversized blazer with jeans and sneakers, or dress it up with a skin-tight turtleneck underneath and a pair of statement boots.
Blazers not only signal professionalism, but the oversized nature of the garment also brings a certain sense of casualness to an otherwise very put together look. And with just one article of clothing, you can gleefully break down those silly gender stereotypes for what people “should” wear. Looking for a blazer to add to your closet? This one from Madewell or this one from Urban Outfitters should do the trick.
Since Zoom shows you from the waist up, be sure to add dramatic shoulders to your 2021 wardrobe
Did you think that big shoulders and dramatic padding were out? Please. Thanks to designers including Balmain and Balenciaga, big shoulders are poised to take over in 2021. But before you think to yourself, “Oh hell no, I am not looking like I came straight from the ’80s,” think again, because these designers have reimagined the shoulder look and it doesn’t disappoint. By combining the softer silhouette of a blazer with a dramatic, high-arched shoulder design, the new look made a splash during Fashion Weeks and caught the attention of Vogue.
Calling the new dramatic shoulder designs “perfect for cutting through the chaos of the world,” Vogue concluded that the trend was a hit, and as such, we agree. So where to look for sky-high shoulders? Well if you have $2,990 to drop, you could get this amazing jacket from Balenciaga. If not, you could opt for this $27.50 look from Boohoo USA with a little less flare. Either way, even your Zoom coworkers will notice.
In 2021, white, knee-high boots will take over
White, knee-high boots have signified bold behavior since the beginning of time. Whether it was the gogo dancers of the ’60s who used the boots as a way to express their feminism (or as characterized by as Refinery29, their “powerful and untouchable” behavior), or the boots Madonna wore in the ’80s, white knee highs are ready to take over in 2021. And just in time, given that Generation Z is one of the most educated and socially aware generations (via the Pew Research Center.
As noted by WhoWhatWear, the white, knee-high boot is on the radar of designers, who are leaving ankle boots behind and focusing on bringing height back to footwear. So if you’re looking to put this iconic shoe in your closet for 2021, here are some good options for you: Lulu’s sells this pair for $49, Nasty Gal sell this version for $45, and Shein also does this pair for $45. Get to it.
An elevated version of the Juicy sweatsuit will take over in 2021
If we could return to the simple days of Juicy sweatsuits, Claire’s earrings, and massive sunglasses, we would. But since we don’t have access to a time machine that would take us back to the early 2000s, when Paris Hilton and lip gloss reigned, we’ll gladly accept the fact that a new and updated version of the sweatsuit is a fashion trend that will take over in 2021.
According to Vogue, designers Miuccia Prada and Rag Simons featured a very high-end version of the famed sweatsuit in their recent 2021 collection, highlighting Prada’s full and volume-heavy silhouettes and graphic materials. Their debut was one to watch, and clearly it did not disappoint.
Vogue also revealed that designers including Baleciaga, Rodarte, and Collina Strada have all taken to the sweatsuit look, as it is as versatile as it is comfortable. And Givenchy even went as far as making a hooded version that is almost fancy enough for black tie events. Either way, we’re just glad that comfort is making the 2021 trend list.
Fall tones are poised to take over in 2021
We’re so glad that fall tones are taking over in 2021, because nothing makes an outfit pop more than a bright yellow accessory or a gorgeous, fall-toned dress. As noted by Marie Claire, Miuccia Prada & Raf Simons put together a gorgeous 2021 collection, and it featured an acid-yellow ensemble that’s set the stage for 2021 being the year of the autumnal colors. Versace also featured a gorgeous, yellow dress in their spring collection, and Fendi launched some of their accessories in fall tones as well.
If yellow isn’t your color, that’s okay, because variations of orange are also going to be big in 2021. Marie Claire also pointed out that designer lines including Acne, Salvatore Ferragamo, Valentino, Burberry, Versace, and Miu Miu all featured variations of orange in their 2021 collections. So whether you have a penchant for burnt orange, summer gold, or a seasonal tan, you best believe that you’ll look as trendy as it gets.
The Dark Academia aesthetic is the best thing to happen to 2021
The school year may have looked different in 2020, but that didn’t stop a new sub-culture from taking over in 2021. Dark academia, as described by The New York Times, has a “heavy emphasis on reading, writing, learning — and a look best described as traditional academic with a gothic edge.” So what fashion should come to mind? Oversized cardigans, vintage everything, velvet coats, high waisted pants, and round wire glasses. Make a cup of tea, light a candle, and read some poetry, and you’ve got the aesthetic down flat.
For the fans of this look, you’re in luck, because it certainly doesn’t appear that the trend is going anywhere. And if anything, the winter and early spring months of 2021 will only make the dark academia aesthetic that much more pleasing. So if you’re already obsessed with Harry Potter, old photographs, artistic endeavors, and a love of learning, all you have to do now is find the perfect vintage jacket, black blouse, and tweed skirt and you’ll be good to go.
Start building your gold jewelry collection, because the trend will take over in 2021
Gold jewelry has been a staple accessory for years. Whether it’s your mom’s wedding ring or your grandma’s gold chain from way back when, it’s pretty reasonable to assume that gold has a place in most people’s jewelry collections. But unlike the gold jewelry of the past that has been more ceremonial than anything, gold jewelry in 2021 is taking over in a unique and interesting way. Because of this trend, you’ll be able to find statement gold jewelry pieces, like chain-link bracelets and bold hoop earrings.
According to Harper’s Bazaar, the gold jewelry trend can be seen “from thick chains to sizable arm candy,” and pieces of jewelry have “unique shapes and textures,” like a braided band or a statement gold ring. There are even jewelry stores and brands that are almost solely dedicated to the cause, including Southern California designer Gorjana, and female-owned brand GLDN.
With affordable options and a bunch of options to choose from, whether it be earrings, a chunky bracelet, or braided necklaces, this is a 2021 trend worth investing in.
In 2021, a new twist on the monochrome look will take over
The monochromatic look was a huge trend a couple of seasons ago, and celebrities like Kim Kardashian helped push the aesthetic forward. For a while, it seemed like everything in your ensemble had to be the same color — from the top to the accessories to the shoes.
The great thing about evolving trends is that we find out what works and what doesn’t, and a new twist on the monochromatic look will take over in 2021. As noted by InStyle, the new take on the trend consists of breaking the monochromatic aesthetic with a pop of color to break it up. So whether you choose a bold handbag, brightly-colored shoes, or even statement earrings in a popping red, the subtle change will impact the outfit in a pretty revolutionary way.
If you’re looking for inspiration, try snagging one of these bold yellow purses from Simone, or a pair of these electric pink heals from Sam Edelman. This single choice will take your look from 2018 to 2021, and you’ll be sure to turn heads.
In 2021, fanny packs and crossover purses are taking over
There was a time where you couldn’t pay us enough money to wear a fanny pack. It was the choice of our mothers when it was time to go to the zoo for a day, or what our dads would wear while reffing our soccer matches.
But everything deserves a second chance, and both the fanny pack and high-and-tight crossover bag look have surely made a comeback. According to Harper’s Bazaar, designers have put their spin on the essential bag every fashion season, and the look for 2021 might be the best one yet.
Spotted during Paris Fashion Week in October of 2020, designers paired the crossover bag with bulky coats and bold sunglasses. And due to the fit of the bag itself, the functional design created a look that impacted the shape of the entire ensemble, giving it a distinct new style. Looking for some options? Madewell sells this crossbody bag for $88, and Urban Outfitters sells this fanny pack for $42.
Classic, button-down shirts will take over in 2021
When we think of a woman wearing a man’s classic, button-down shirt, we might conjure images of famous Hollywood scenes that show the love interest wearing her new man’s shirt (think Julia Roberts in Notting Hill.) According to HuffPost there’s a reason for that, as women have adopted a lot of traditionally male items into their wardrobes.
If you’re a stats person, we can break down this trend by the numbers: approximately 64 percent of woman donned clothing geared toward men in 2017. Four years later, and the trend is taking over in 2021. As noted by Refinery29, during the COVID-19 quarantine, women were wearing these shirts, appreciating the item’s versatility and ease.
Afraid it’ll look too boxy on you? Add a fitted skirt, or put a turtleneck underneath the button-down for a tighter, more curve-hugging look. And don’t overspend on this staple — plenty of great button-ups can be found at your neighborhood Goodwill.
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