The Latest Fashion Trends Of 2021 Are Out + 7 Sustainability Bonuses!
Following the weirdness of 2020 fashion trends – with online business meetings and WFH, 2021 brings some refreshing changes you’ll love to hear about.
For the last 60 years or so, the “latest” fashion trends were gathered from runways and fashion magazines.
Nowadays, it is the social media, youth culture, streetwear styles, and celebrities showcasing what’s cool and fresh in fashion.
Unfortunately, the fashion trends of 2020 didn’t help much – in the sense of inspiring the general public – and as a result, this year is out of the normal path.
The spring/summer season still has models wearing masks on the catwalk and the public watching designer collections via Zoom.
But, in contrast to the apocalyptic settings the fashion industry is going through right now, we see the emergence of digital trends and aesthetic clothing, so fabulous that can lift you up from the darkest depths of quarantine.
Compared to the neutral looks of 2020, this year showcases fresher and bolder designs.
That’s in part driven by a need to come back to life, after the gloomy global lockdown, and in part by the blossoming internet culture.
To some extent, the current styles resemble the 90s fashion trends in the sense of mimicking the silhouettes and patterns of those seasons, with one big difference; classic styles are reinvented in oversized and loud colors activewear and streetwear styles.
It is like nothing we’ve seen before, explained by experts as: “one’s need to compensate for the prologue COVID-19 lockdown and resulting boredom.”
But, as fashion never stops changing and evolving, keeping up with the latest fashion trends is key, especially now in the post-COVID era, when people will start going out again.
Without further delay, these are the top 36 current fashion trends of 2021; cheap, affordable, and easy to pull off, make sure you follow the instructions to look the par this summer.
One more thing: read until the end to discover the top 7 sustainability tips (style-wise) very much in vogue right now in 2021.
Hoodies Under Blazers
One of the most popular styles rocking the current fashion trends is the ever-so cozy hoodie – however, worn with a twist.
Wearing a blazer with a hoodie is no longer just another street style cut, but a mainstream look that transcends generations.
Wearing a quarantine staple-piece hoodie under a blazer adds an extra stylistic layer to your overall look.
Look for a slim, tapered hoody — preferably a darker, solid hue, without too much embroidery or graphics.
Pair it with a dark, solid blazer. Slacks or denim are up to you — either will work depending on the occasion.
Women’s Oversized Bomber Jackets
Bomber jackets should always rest loosely on your hip – unless you’ve opted for a slightly cropped style.
The clingy cuffs shouldn’t go past or above your wrists, no matter the fit.
The cuffs should be relatively tight, so if it hangs over your hand loosely, try a smaller size.
The hues, in this case, are almost always neutral, somehow empowering the underneath attire for an effortlessly chic aesthetic.
Nothing defines the contemporary fashion trends quite like a cropped cardigan.
Regardless, if putting together a cute outfit seems like too much to handle right now, a skinny knit with your favorite jeans – from our best jeans for women – is the perfect answer.
Styles range from basic button-ups to embroidered, embellished, or printed knits, so there’s pretty much something for everyone.
You can wear these shrunken knits with slip skirts and a vegan leather jacket, especially if you need another layer of protection.
Of course, jeans and boots are also great accompaniments for a cropped cardigan.
Not a fashion season has passed without the trench putting in an appearance, and the most recent shows were no exception.
With a perennially stylish military cut, the super practical trench coat is a fashion staple since the First World War.
Also, thanks to the Gabardine fabric, the casual trench is perfect for drizzly days.
The coat of choice for iconic women for decades, the casual trench is brought back to life by Meghan Markle’s recent royal visits.
Great with a cashmere roll neck and Prada tractor-tread boots to create that stylish and yet military-inspired outerwear look.
This one-and-done hero piece has cropped up everywhere this year, from the runway to your favorite affordable stores.
It’s easy, it’s cool, and it takes the stress out of picking pants and a shirt – because we all have enough to think about right now.
Traditionally made from heavy canvas or denim, the one-zip wonder was one of many game-changing inventions to come out of the Industrial Revolution.
With boiler suits, comfort and practicality are both high on the list.
Beloved by celebrities such as Giambattista, Hadid sisters, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, and Irina Shayk, this versatile all-in-one is your swiftest route to utility chic.
Power Bohemian Florals
Almost synonymous with spring, flowers have long represented renewal, beauty, and the feminine side of nature.
The association between floral motifs and natural femininity can be traced through the last one hundred years of fashion.
As the role of women in society (equality, empowerment) changes, so is the general concept of feminine symbols such as flowers in clothing.
However, the current fashion style of 2021 can be described as ‘adding petals to the metal.’
This year, designers are no longer interested in vintage clothing and roses prints.
Tip: While hard to come by, metal-boho is a must-have if you want to stay relevant in 2021.
Most fashion trends begin as just that: TRENDS.
By definition, a trend is a development or change, and as such, we expect fashion trends to morph and take new forms, and even veer off entirely.
However, some trends have staying power, proving to be more than fleeting – and the puff-sleeve style the perfect example.
The larger-than-life sleeve has been showcased in many variations: the balloon, the Juliet, the leg-of-mutton, and so on.
However, the puff sleeve trend cracked the fashion veneer in 2018, when ’80s references raved the runway.
Fast-forward to 2021, the supersize sleeve is more popular than ever.
With balloon sleeves on sweaters at Fendi, billowing sleeves attached to pleated shirtdresses at McQueen, perfectly puffed gowns at Rodarte, and double-breasted winter coats at JW Anderson.
Revive your classic jackets and romantic ruffles by mixing punch-packing bubblegum pink colors with vivid greens.
Color clashing is a great way to revive your wardrobe and make a fashion statement at no cost at all.
It works by pairing contrasting colors, or colors you wouldn’t usually put together, to create bold focal points.
The secret to pulling it off is sticking to simple shapes – think classic shifts, maxis, pencil skirts – and choosing shades that are the direct opposites on the color wheel.
The black and white color combo is a no-brainer.
When in doubt, choose black and white as there’s no pairing as classic as a white button-down and black pants.
However, as the current fashion trends of 2021 are showing, it does not mean that if it’s black and white, you can’t experiment.
Whether textural and layered, like Prada’s circle cut-out knits, or classic color-blocking at Louis Vuitton, there’s a monochromatic style trick for everyone – just choose which one.
Sickly Sweets Pastels
Subvert the saccharine: pastels are a perennial spring favorite, but this year’s styles balance delicate with daring.
Frothy ruffles and sheer tulle add romance to short lengths and make longer styles more risqué.
When everyone else is in loungewear, sherbet lemon chiffon is a radical statement.
Very popular in the past on pajamas and loungewear, contemporary pastel looks will elevate your 1990s barbie girl to a controversial fashion powerhouse that crushes everything on its way.
Yes, matching sets and sweatsuits can still be worn around the house, but the style works best for unconventional social settings.
Tractor Trek-Sole Boots
Seemingly every designer and retailer from Balenciaga to Zara is taking cues from the humble tractor boot, which had a massive surge in the fall of 2020.
Characterized by an almost comically rounded toe and a thick, rugged sole, the tractor-style boot is among the most wanted fashion trends of this year.
The boots look great with a long dress or with a super-short skirt.
Daggy dad runners, chunky street kicks, even ugly sneaks – call them what you will; this is the modern interpretation of the platform sneaker look that’s owned both runways and street style for the past two years or so.
It is all the chunk but less of the sporty cheek.
Think Doc Martens on steroids, the aesthetic opposite of the stretch neoprene flats and kitten heels seen on Miuccia Prada’s eponymous SS19 catwalk last September.
My fav is Balenciaga’s reinterpretation of Chelsea’s classic and elegant silhouette but with a chunky grooved-rubbed trek sole.
Too early for boots, too cold for fancy shoes, and not in the mood for high heels? I’ve got you covered with chunky loafers.
With an overall classic look, these shoes never fail to stand out from the mainstream.
Sneakers and boots were the most popular flat style over the past few years, together with loafers, ballet styles, and babydoll shoes.
However, the 2021 current fashion trend puts chunky loafers at the top of the flat style, especially when paired with longer-length socks, for a preppy, ‘schoolcore’ trend.
Check out Prada’s chunky loafers, leading a grunge trend that’s only growing right now.
The maxi dress style has always been one of the most versatile things a woman wears.
Are they headed out on a summer night? – Throw it on with sandals and go.
Are you going to a wedding? – Dress it up with jewels and heels.
Dubbed by many as ‘baby or blanket dresses’ – as it fully covers the legs and can work even while chilling on the couch, the maxi’s of 2021 are brighter, shiny, and happiest, infused with loud colors and volume.
More extensive and bolder is better, as clashing prints mix with wide tulle makes everything seem sunnier.
Some of our favorite influencer and celebrity outfits take advantage of the color blocking trend, and there are so many shades that pair perfectly together.
Vests have long held an essential sartorial role both for practical purposes and as part of suiting.
However, vests didn’t become a standard part of womenswear until the 1970s, when they entered the mainstream as casual work attire.
By the late 1990s and early 2000s, it became fashionable for women to wear vests as part of their everyday style.
The rest is history as since then, vests have taken over the runway and the streets.
The vest is pretty iconic, to say the least, and still very much in style in 2021 – just make sure you stay away from the vest-centered ensemble as part of a three-piece suit.
Don’t own a vest? DIY an old sweater by cutting off the sleeves or layering a muscle tee over a long-sleeved shirt to create a similar look.
Voluminous Sleeves and Shoulders
Unmissable sleeves – with their ruffles, puffs, and frills – are ballooning across the catwalk and the high street, and there’s no sign of the trend deflating.
Stuffed with social and logistical questions, oversized sleeves and shoulders shouldn’t be a viable trend – such as: is it possible to hug those you love while wearing a top that resembles giant armbands?
And yet, the ‘sleevification’ of fashion is in full swing right now.
In 2019 and early 2020, sleeves were all about glamour, but 2021 sees an emergence of voluminous dresses that creates a perfect one-and-done look (especially for video calls).
Far from being purely utilitarian, belts can add that final sartorial touch and complete your look.
The addition of a belt can be the equivalent of adding a period to the end of a sentence.
2021 sees sash belts being used beyond the bridal landscape, as in the past, sash belts were created especially to be worn with bridal dresses.
Nowadays, a sash belt is a fashion-forward statement piece you can tie around your waist (like a sash) and look like a style-goddess.
Ideally, you go for a sash belt dress, if possible. If not, find a belt that matches your outfit and wear it as advised below.
The main difference between a bra and a bralette is that bralettes are softer, more lightweight, and are usually made without wiring.
As a result, bralettes give lighter support than a regular bra.
In the past, this comfortable bra alternative was layered under baggy shirts for an extra print or pop of color.
However, the 2021 wire-free style comes in all sorts of colors, fabrics, and designs, so yes, you can wear it as a top.
Moreover, you can now wear bralettes under blazers and cardigans, and you do not have to match them with your top layer.
The possibilities are endless: match it with a co-ord set, under a blazer, with denim Bermuda shorts, under a mesh top, a vacation shirt and high-waisted skirt, under a sheer ensemble, and so on.
The bucket hat is back, as searches have gone up by 56% since last year (according to Lyst) and a 55% increase in searches on eBay.
While more recently spotted on Billie Eilish, Diplo, and shows of Bode, Kate Spade, and Anna Sui, bucket hats never really went away.
This type of hat is the ideal lockdown wear, great for hiding a headful of curls untouched by the hand of a hairdresser.
It is also a hat that screams “it’s summer!” while giving you a Madeline moment.
The shape – both charming and pretty silly – evokes a smile and a fizz of memories.
This seeming duality has given the hat longevity that somehow transcends trends.
So, without further ado, swap the baseball cap for a very 2021 bucket hat, one of many current fashion trends beloved by Rihanna and Bella Hadid.
Academic-infused styles got a massive boost in 2020-2021, during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Driven by social media nostalgia for school and fashion, this fashion style emphasizes education, learning, reading, writing, hence the ‘Academic’ touch.
The style can be split into three substyles: Dark, Light, and Grey Academia.
Each substyle has its own characteristics; for example, Dark Academia draws inspiration from the classic Greek arts, writing, architecture, deeply infused with Gothic elements and concepts of death.
You can go with Dark Academia style by choosing heavy knitwear in dark tones, inspired by ancient, Hogwarts-worthy libraries.
Or, Light Academia for a ‘lighter’ twist on its goth-leaning counterpart, and create an aesthetic that carries an air of refreshing positivity.
Let the icy specter envelop you in its shadowy grasp.
Become a demon of the night, a being born of unholy miasma.
Your very footsteps desecrate the ground under your feet.
You have become a creature of the void, an acolyte of the malevolent.
A blackened aura dims the sunlight around you.
The pious avert their gaze; they secretly wish they could be so bad but look so good.
When we think about alternative fashion, gothic clothing is almost always the first thing to mind.
Part of the early alternative subculture, gothic clothes are a cornerstone of the scene, with ‘the blackest of the black and the darkest of the dark’ at heart.
However, you do not have to be the ‘baddest’ witch in the coven or in love with the prince of darkness to wear hot goth apparel in 2021.
After a boring 2020, you’re entitled to be both decadent and sulky, climbing into a hot gothic slip dress, bringing not a drama but a darker style to your daywear outfit.
Y2K fashion brings back bubblegum pink everything: Metallic jackets, wide-leg denim trousers, bedazzled logos, teeny-tiny bags, denim on denim, and lots of Juicy Couture.
Somehow related to couch-clothing (pastel sweatpants and hoodies everywhere) Y2K fashion has made a big comeback in 2021.
Blame it on the idea that, once we felt comfortable going outside again, our commitment to comfort didn’t waver.
For example, Y2K sweatpants are reaching a jeans-like status as almost anything can go with a pair of simple sweats.
The secret to pulling off a Y2K style is not to look frumpy or too formal.
Go for candy-colored sweatpants – the fastest and cheapest way to make you look (and feel) like a fashion icon.
Mesh tops have taken the fashion world by storm in 2021.
Known as the ‘second-skin’ trend, this style grazes on your body that it might as well be a second layer of skin.
While that may not sound particularly appealing, the number of celebrities rocking mesh shirts – think Marine Serre’s moon-print stretch-jersey top – such as Beyoncé, Adele, Kylie Jenner, and Dua Lipa, is nothing short of stellar.
The fashion trend is a perfect wardrobe go-to, no matter the season.
There are so many ways to fashion sheer blouses, sheer shirts, and underlays.
You can quickly go with our fave mesh long sleeve top & lace bra combo, but there are other ways to combine and wear sheer tops with your wardrobe faves creatively.
Whether you decide to dress it up or down or layer it up for those chilly evenings, second-skin tops will be your best friend this spring and after that.
White Knee-High Boots
Swing it back to the ’60s with the classic gogo dancers-inspired item of footwear – white knee-high boots.
Taking its inspiration from the Youth Revolution in the mid-century, this Nancy Sinatra-approved look is a chic way to elevate your outfit.
White knee-high boots are great for a particular reason – they easily match many looks in this or that style and can be worn everywhere, from work to parties.
Wide Leg Pants
For the last ten years or so, if you had asked a woman to wear pair of pants that weren’t skin-tight, she would have rolled her eyes in disgust.
For what seemed like forever, we gave skinny jeans and leggings undivided attention.
Until 2021 when light appeared at the end of the tunnel and saved us from another year of uncomfortably tight jeans.
Leg wide pants, also known as baggy or puddle pants, have been on the rise for quite some time now.
Yet, it wasn’t until the post-pandemic wide-leg trousers started popping up on the streets of New York, London, and Paris.
Tip: Match your wide-leg pants with cropped tops or you risk coming across as lazy or disorganized.
If you’re new to this trend or spotted it plastered all over your Instagram feed, you may be wondering, ‘what is a shacket?’
Well, a ‘shacket’ is pretty much what the name suggests, a cross between a shirt and a jacket.
Yep, two of your favorite wardrobe pieces combined into one…how great is that?
Imagine a shirt likened to a jacket made of thicker fabrics, has pockets, and can be worn layered up or on its own as outerwear.
With different fabrics, finishes, and details, brushed plaid shackets are among the current fashion trends that can be worn anywhere, any time.
Heavier than a flannel shirt but not quite as bulky as a full-on coat, they’re perfect if you need to run out.
The Bubblegum pink color trend was first spotted on the S/S 21 runways and has already entered the wardrobes of the fashion set.
Back in 2017, you couldn’t walk into a shop without seeing millennial pink, well, everywhere.
It was the color to invest in, loved by style celebrities, sticking around until late last year from clothes to homeware.
However, the upcoming season was already signaling a new pink shade in town: bubblegum pink.
Imagine the Hubba Bubba gum wheel you used to get from the local corner shop, as that’s the hue you’re looking for.
Brighter than the soft, millennial color, it’s punchy, bold, and vibrant – precisely what your wardrobe calls for after, what feels like a lifetime in loungewear through multiple lockdowns.
It’s a departure from the neutrals that have been commanding our closets for the past few seasons, but it’s a dose of fun that I’m ready to welcome into my wardrobe.
Consider tiger print an update on last year’s pervasive leopard print.
This year, tiger stripes are showing up on everything from cozy knit sweaters and boxy overcoats to prim blouses and dresses in case you need a break from your sweatshirts and elastic waists.
Once worn by our parents – and our grandparents before them – tiger print is more relevant than ever.
See Balenciaga’s SS20 show leopard print arrived in coat form; masculine and oversized with poppin’ padded shoulders (see above for those trends that come and go) worn with yellow tights and large earrings.
Whoever said disco was dead has never seen the disco ball fashion style.
The iconic disco ball that was a symbol of the 70s has left its mark on more than just movies and dance moves.
If you long for Studio 54 good old days, packed with the quirkiest breed of celebrity, then you will love these disco ball fashion features.
A disco ball may not be very versatile, but it looks right at home on everything from shoes to swimsuits. I can feel the disco fever coming on already.
Fittingly, as the temperature climbs, so too does the number of statement silvery styles this season.
The category is mercury rising, with textures in the form of sequins and oversized metallic paillettes, as well as ‘touch me’ ruffles and lurex that shines even brighter when the sun’s out.
Logo-mania has again taken over the fashion industry, making a significant return since its last major cycle in the ’90s.
During that era, being plastered in logos was beyond hot… until it wasn’t.
Just as strong as the fad’s infiltration into the scene was its dissipation; what once was a mark of cool faded into a land of taboo trends.
But with celebrities like Rihanna already stamping the look and high-fashion brands like Gucci and Fendi reclaiming their place in the mix, the logo craze just may have longevity well into the future.
The big, bold, colorful slogan has usurped the slogan shirt – loved by every favorite celebrity.
Chanel kept the club spirit alive with neon sign-style logos, while graffiti graphics ruled the runway at Louis Vuitton.
From baseball caps at Celine to socks at Gucci and every fashion designer pledges allegiance.
Sustainable Fashion Trends of 2021
Sustainability plays a key role in the current fashion trends and that’s because apart from switching the aesthetics, designers are also using sustainable materials that people love to wear and brag about.
Here are the top 7 sustainable fashion trends you have to take into consideration right now if you want to be seen as stylistically relevant.
1. Upcycled Fashion Trend
The upcycling trend is transforming the fashion industry, from manufacturing to design.
In simple terms, upcycling refers to taking used products and turning them into valuable materials for – in this case, for fashion purposes.
The product made resulting from such rescued materials has a second life, often priced as a brand new (or even more valued) product.
Upcycling is always possible, even after wearing a garment for a long time, to a point of destruction.
On the one hand, this new design philosophy has inspired young fashion creators such as BODE and Tremblepierre to rethink the garments they create.
On the other hand, upcycling in fashion has changed the way fashion consumers view the clothes they buy and wear.
2. Cruelty-Free Fashion Trend
Most people see cruelty-free and veganism as identical; however, this is not the case.
Despite what most vegans believe, some animal products can be produced in cruelty-free ways.
For example, ‘peace silk’ and ‘cruelty-free wool’ are products of animal origin, yet, obtained without harming animals.
That is unlike animal leather, where the animals are killed for their skins.
More than that, cruelty-free materials and products are often far more sustainable than their vegan counterparts.
Stella McCartney, Mara Hoffman, and even Allbirds are some of the most loved sustainable clothing brands, using cruelty-free materials in their collections.
And, let’s not forget that cruelty-free materials are natural and thus, do not require special recycling plants.
3. Pre-Owned Garments Trend
Collaborative consumption is, for sure, one of the most powerful trends in sustainable fashion, right now.
Over the past few years, vintage clothing shops have become the to-go destinations for young conscious fashion lovers.
New generations of fashion buyers are increasingly interested in clothes that no one else can have.
Uniqueness and originality are highly praised by them and this approach expands even to once-in-a-lifetime events such as getting married.
Markets such as Kilts n Stuff, which emphasizes renting garments for occasions like weddings, are a great example of this fast-growing trend.
Moreover, thrift stores, second-hand shopping, and even renting are excellent alternative ways to help the planet while finding unique clothes.
4. Vegan Leather Trend
Vegan leather is loved not only by vegans as it does not require the killing of animals but also by those who care about the planet.
This plant-based leather-like material is made from discarded pineapple leaves.
The material is extremely resistant, reliable, and a fabulous choice to create sustainable fashion trends.
Innovative vegan leather alternatives are preferred by conscious fashion lovers as it makes them not just look but also feel good, knowing that no animals were harmed for their boots, bags, and jackets.
Also, these leather alternatives present great benefits for the planet by slowing down intensive animal agriculture – known to be a significant source of greenhouse gases.
5. Custom-Made (Slow Fashion Trend)
The slow fashion movement is growing popular, as one of the most effective sustainable fashion trends.
Research shows that customers are ten times more likely to hold onto a new jacket or dress if it was custom-made for them.
Custom-made clothing, as opposed to mass production, saves raw materials and yields clothing of higher quality, designed to last.
Moreover, today’s consumers have seemingly endless choices of sustainable fashion trends.
Hence, customization is increasingly appealing.
Finally, to increase the life span of your clothes you must keep them organized.
Luckily there are many outfit generator apps in the market right now to help you with that!
6. Recycled Apparel Trend (Plastics &Textiles)
The advent of using recycled textiles to create sustainable fashion garments and shoes is driven, so far, by Adidas.
In one historic collaboration, the sportswear giant has partnered with Parley for the Oceans, a non-profit organization fighting to clean the planet’s oceans from plastic.
The duo collects plastic waste from the oceans and turns it into textiles and fabrics used to make new Adidas shoes.
The trend of recycling textiles from plastics keeps the oceans clean, and marine life thriving.
7. Lab-Made Fashion Trend
Although designers have been using natural materials such as organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo, for ages, recent material innovations have taken the industry to the next level.
One such innovative material is Celloluse, a coconut-based fabric that requires much lesser water and land to be produced.
The realm of innovative materials, created at the intersection of biology with technology, is very new but also very promising at the same time.
Finally, with the help of biology, we’ve started to create the perfect ‘vegan leather‘, not in the field – from plants, but in the lab, from cultured cells.
Vegan and biodegradable (because it is already cut and tanned to the size and color desired by the buyer), these new materials are fully circular and eco-friendly, reducing waste and saving the planet.
Now it’s your turn…
From all the current fashion trends in this article, which one is your favorite and why?
Do you know of any emerging fashion trends you think I’ve missed and like to add to this list? Please let me know.
What’s more important to you, staying up to date with the latest fashion trends or wearing timeless (slow fashion) clothes?
Please leave your comments below so we can all benefit from your knowledge.