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12 Fashion Trends That Defined 2021

2021 fashion trends, how do we love thee? Let us count the (12) ways!

During 2020, we mostly stayed home in our sweatpants watching Tiger King and baking banana bread. Occasionally, we tried to make an effort and throw on a fancy blouse for our Zoom meetings; but alas, 2021 brought with it the return of real, in person meetings that actually required us to look presentable (not that we're complaining. We're ecstatic that the pandemic may come to an end soon). Luckily, 2021 hasn’t disappointed, offering us plenty of trends to rock, now that social gatherings and work meetings are back.

Here are 12 fashion trends that dominated 2021:

1. Bike Shorts

Comfortable but make it fashion. That is the essence of bike shorts, which have reappeared in our lives this past summer. This trend was the source of some controversy, but ultimately one cannot deny their staying power. Love it or hate it, they were everywhere. Originally designed for functional purposes, they are now worn just like any other article of clothing and can be paired with an oversized sweater for a causal look or dressed in a blazer and heels for a night out. Really, you can’t go wrong with this one.

2. Y2K Fashion

Picture this: It’s 2003, you just saw an episode of One Tree Hill after a shopping spree at Limited Too. Life is good. Memories like these have resurfaced for many millennials thanks to the resurgence of Y2K fashion, after Gen Z started paying tribute to it on TikTok. One must admit, the early 2000’s did see some pretty iconic trends (Juicy Couture tracksuits, obviously). Other staples of this fashion era are trucker hats, low rise jeans, and baby tees.

3. Bucket Hats

Don’t feel like washing your hair today? No worries, the bucket hat has you covered (pun intended) while providing you with style at the same time. It’s a win- win situation.

4. Smock Dresses

Nothing gives off summer vibes more than a smock dress; it's breezy, loose, and light; making it the perfect choice of attire for those hot summer days. Not only is it flattering AF, but it also provides peek comfort. It can easily be worn with a chunky sandal, sneakers or boots for when it gets slightly chilly at night. This dress is perfect for when you want to wear loungewear but need to be present in that meeting that could have been an email or when you go get drinks.

5. Bras as Tops

Yes, loungewear was the default in 2020, but perhaps you feel the need to dress up again and serve a show stopping look. What better way to do that, then flaunt your bra – after all bras were pretty neglected during quarantine, amirite? Well, this trend is proving that bras have no business being hidden - as evidenced by their display by various celebs (Megan Fox, we're looking at you) with oversized blazers, high waisted pants or even over a t-shirt.

6. Wide Leg Pants

Beyonce was all of us when she sang “if you don't jump to put jeans on, baby, you don't feel my pain” on her hit song, "Savage", with Megan thee Stallion. However, with the looser fit of wide leg pants, you can leave your jumping-into-your-jeans-days behind. If you are still struggling with the transition from sweatpants to jeans, wide leg pants are a great solution for you. They look good for a casual date without comprising on comfort.

7. Sweater Vests

It’s getting colder, the leaves are falling and Halloween is right around the corner, which means it’s sweater weather! Sweater vests are all the rage this autumn and we implore you to get on the bandwagon. The sweater vest is super versatile – and can be worn over a button down shirt or a puffed sleeve top for a more sophisticated aesthetic. They can also be layered with maxi dresses, skirts and wide leg pants. So, what are you waiting for? Go get one

8. Oversized Blazers

Many of the trends we have seen so far are replacing the more tight and constricting clothing trends (like skinny jeans, which Gen Z has declared war on), in favor of looser fitting options. The oversized blazer is another great example of this. They are perfect for transition periods between the seasons and allow you to mix it up with different lengths and play around with layering. When styled correctly, the oversized blazer can also look great on those of us who are slightly shorter than average but also want in on this trend.

9. Platform Shoes

These bring some serious throwback vibes, reminiscent of the chunky flip flops of the late 90s and early 2000s. Well, these not only evoke nostalgia but also look super chic, no matter in which form you decide to wear them. Have a brunch date? Wear a platform sandal to stand out. Feel like ditching the sandals for your favorite sneakers? Don’t fret – Converse has the design just for you with their Chuck Taylor All Star Life Hi Sneaker.

10. Chunky Hair Clips and Barrettes

These are a must have accessory if you want to successfully pull off an effortlessly chic look. These hair clips and barrettes come in an array of designs – decorated with pearls or glitter, some even come with written statements like “Boss” or “Queen” if you are really feeling yourself. I bought some of these myself on Amazon, and I get nonstop compliments on them. They are also a really easy way to add some color and glam into your style and enhance some change if you are bored with your current hair routine.

11. Choker Neckline Dresses

Choker necklaces, which were all the rage in the 90’s, are making a comeback with a vengeance in the form of dresses. It’s the perfect embodiment of the 2-in-1 concept. What’s more is that the choker neckline dress is extremely versatile and comes in various designs: you can opt for a casual t-shirt dress, a rib-knit number with a belt, or dress it up with a tight velvet bodycon style for a night out. They come long, they come short - the options are endless and that’s exactly why it’s a must have for your fall wardrobe.

12. Leg harnesses

You may be skeptical at first when looking at the leg harness but don’t knock it till you try it. It’s more practical than you think. The harness is popular amongst K-Pop figures who use it mostly for aesthetic purposes, but can totally be used to make a bold fashion statement. It works especially well with mini skirts and dresses for a sexy night club look. If done tastefully, it can also be worn to work over a button down pantsuit or cool pair of jeans. Don’t be afraid to try this trend and push your fashion comfort zone. Case in point: remember when Timothée Chalamet broke the internet when he showed up to the Golden Globes red carpet with a harness?


Featured Photo by Alexandra Maria

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