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When people describe fashion as having “something for everyone” in terms of trend variety, a lot of the time they’re totally bluffing. Usually, it’s all about pastels and florals, or solely focused on grungy, punk aesthetics—never both. It’s rare for there to be a balance of femme and masc trends in one year, but the 2021 runway fashion trends don’t lie, and this time around there really is something for everyone. TBH, we all deserve it.
What do I mean, exactly? Well, a lot of next year’s trends appear to oppose one another, whereas in the past, trends have tended to work together—for example, it’s unlikely for florals to trend at the same time as edgy spikes, and more likely for them to trend when skirts are having a moment, or ladylike handbags are in. That said, in 2021 opposites will attract.
Streamlined monochromatic neutrals will be all the rage, but so will head-to-toe prints that make a major statement. Soft, frilly pieces with tons of ruffles will be trending, but so will sharp, defined silhouettes and the return of the shoulder pad. Lastly, 2020’s suiting trend will continue to thrive, but so will a more bohemian aesthetic, encouraging dreamy prairie vibes that are far less structured.
With so many opposing trends to consider, it can be hard to know how to shop, but in fact, having all these options is a good thing. You have the chance to experiment with hard and soft, edgy and sweet, and see which look you gravitate towards more. Or, you might end up combining them for a personalized flair that’s all your own. Who says you can’t wear ruffles with shoulder pads? A boho dress with a suiting blazer? How you style these trends will tell the tale.
With that, read on for the top 2021 fashion trends fresh off the runway, and shop them for yourself, too.
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In 2020, we discovered that we enjoyed neutrals like tan, cream and camel as much as neons and tie-dye. Designers like Cinq á Sept, Vivienne Hu, Ulla Johnson, Adeam and Julia Jentzsch all showcased head-to-toe looks in monochrome neutrals, proving solids can certainly still make a statement.
The key to nailing a monochrome neutral look is not ruining it with a jacket that contrasts, so stock up on a few good outwear picks! This Line & Dot Linda Fringe Coat perfectly lends itself to any neutral ensemble.
Ruffles + Frills
If you’re into femme details, you’ll adore the ruffles spotted on runways like Ulla Johnson and Cinq á Sept. What can we say, after months trapped inside in sweats, it’s no wonder we want to dress up in fancy frills and look our best, whether that’s a with tiered skirt or floaty sleeves.
The gorgeous Romance Me Long Sleeve Maxi Dress by ASTR The Label has a ruffled tiered skirt and flocked dot fabric, perfect for styling year-round. Wear with knee-high boots in fall and neutral sandals come spring.
That said, designers like Christian Siriano, Fendi, Badgley Mischka and Cinq á Sept (they really do it all!) make a case for more tailored apparel in 2021, showcasing tons of elevated suiting styles. Forget a boring blazer and slacks—think bold patterns, fresh materials and exciting new silhouettes to give an old staple new life.
If you’ve yet to find your dream blazer, now’s the time. Don’t be afraid to try a few and get a feel for what fit “suits” you best! If you’re plus and looking for a chic option, this Eloquii Striped Tie Waist Jacket is a standout.
After seeing the looks presented by ARIAS, Anna Sui, Veronica Beard and Nicole Miller, I was ready to find the nearest field to frolic in. Boho girl vibes were all the rage, from tiered midi dresses to crochet details to blousy tops and sleeves, plus a neutral color palette and prairie aesthetic with some serious Little Women meets Sex & The City energy. Cottagecore, but make it (high) fashion.
To channel your inner boho babe, go full prairie-chic with the Free People Sheer Romance Mini Dress, a baby-doll style shirtdress with lace accents and a ditsy floral print.
Shoulder pads really are back—we can’t say we saw this coming. Designers like Claudi Li, Cinq á Sept and Alice + Olivia created silhouettes with defined shoulders for their Spring/Summer 2021 collections, including sequined jackets, voluminous blazers and tees with padded necklines.
The easiest way to ease into this trend is with a padded tee a la Alice + Olivia’s. This Endless Rose Padded Shoulder T-Shirt comes in eight different colors, but the sage green is definitely our fave.
Last but not least, if you rolled your eyes at that streamlined neutrals bit, you’re more likely to enjoy 2021’s all-over print trend. Ulla Johnson, Libertine and Alice + Olivia all styled models in the same print from head to toe for a cohesive look that grabbed attention. Bonus points if, like the A+O look above, you can find a matching mask to finish your ‘fit.
If you’ve never played up patterns before, the time for feeling shy has passed—be bold! Go for something that makes a statement, like this Camilla Long Dress with Tie Front. Camilla makes multiple pieces from each of their signature patterns, so you can throw on a few at once for that head-to-toe printed look.