It’s Not Too Late to Jump on These 2020 Fashion Trends in 2021
By Julia Wohlers, Brand of People Magazine
With fewer social occasions to dress up for this year – and limited opportunity to be seen beyond social media and virtual meetups – 2020 stands out as a quieter period than normal for the fashion world. But street style stops for no woman, and Fashion Weeks across the globe showcased the latest work of many designers, albeit with pared down spectacles and reimagined runway show formats. Although the year has already drawn to a close, these 2020 fashion trends are still going strong, carrying over into 2021 style statements as well.
Trending Colors and Patterns
Typically restricted to springtime ensembles, this year has seen pastel tones – especially soft purples, lavenders and lilacs – enduring across the seasons. Feminine and flattering on most skin tones, look for sorbet hues in trench coats, tailored pants, cardigans, jumpsuits and blazers. Mix and match these subdued colors in suits and separates for a chic, eye-catching effect that expands this fashion trend.
Neutral Monochromatic Outfit Sets
2020 has certainly been the year of the monochromatic coordinated set, and this trend shows no sign of diminishing in the coming months. (Look no further than the much-celebrated Jacquemus S/S 2021 runway show in a wheat field outside of Paris, which not only epitomized the neutral ensemble but demonstrated just how romantic it can be.) From structured suits and total looks across the spectrum of nude shades to cozy loungewear in pale neutrals (butter stands out as a particularly best-selling color choice), this look is primed to carry over well into next year.
Plaid in Macro Dimensions
Punky plaids are here in less preppy, more laid-back macro prints. From tailored plaid pants to sweater dresses, the trick here is to keep the overall look casual by avoiding head-to-toe matching. Pair a macro-plaid jacket with jeans and a white top; or layer a boxy knit over plaid trousers or a skirt.
If you thought patchwork denim had disappeared in the first decade of the 2000s, guess again. The trend is back, seen on the likes of Kendall Jenner and in the storefronts from Saks Fifth Avenue to Michael Kors, Levi’s and The Gap. Keep it current with modern jean silhouettes and raw edges, paired with sneakers or ankle boots. For the DIY-inclined, you can even set out to repurpose old pairs of jeans with new patches.
These chic pants are characterized by tailoring at the waist and around the hips that then loosens into roomy, flowy legs. While in past years the palazzo pant has trended in extremely wide legs and avant-garde motifs, 2020/2021 fashion renderings focus on more structured fabrics and solid colors or geometric prints. Pair it with a matching color belt and chunky heels.
Spotted in lace, leather, sheer organza, cotton and everything in between, the puff-sleeved shirt brings an architectural statement to your look. While available in many variations, from subtle puffs to ballooning, larger-than-life sleeves, it’s a strong piece that should be allowed to speak louder than the rest of the outfit, so pair it with jeans or basic elements on your lower half. For an elevated holiday aesthetic, seek out a structured off-the-shoulder top with exaggerated puffs worn on the upper half of the arms. Puff-sleeved dresses can make the transition from summer shifts to winter wear with the addition of thick tights and high boots.
From cardigans and polos to pullovers and sweaters, it’s all about the chunky knits. Pay attention to proportions when wearing this fashion trend. A voluminous sweater top does your figure more favors when tucked into pants to highlight your waist, layered on top of skirts that accentuate your legs, or paired with visually simple garments.
Borrowing its silhouette from traditional menswear, the shearling-trimmed jacket has only grown in popularity since arriving on the fashion scene a couple of years ago. For brand-name references, look to labels like Chloé that have mastered transforming smart collars and flap pockets into elegant women’s outerwear for 2020/2021 fashion. To wear simpler shearling applications, opt for denim jackets with removable faux shearling collars.
This look has been steadily filtering down from the most elevated luxury brands like Giorgio Armani to bring us the winter coat of our dreams in plush textures and faux fur. The key here is prioritizing a soft feel, thanks to polyester, acrylic and modal blends, and emphasizing total warmth. Some teddy coats are cropped to the hip, while others extend to the knees. There’s no wrong way to wear the softest coat of your dreams! Neutrals and warm browns are popular shades for this fashion trend, as are effects that mimic the look and hues of real fur.
Brown Faux-Leather Trenches
Nothing is chicer this season than a long brown PU (polyurethane) faux-leather trench coat with wide lapels and a relaxed, longline silhouette. Classic and understated, it can be fastened with buttons, tied at the waist for added definition or left open over slimline trousers in dark shades.
Oversized Boyfriend Blazers
This boxy 80s-inspired rendition of the blazer may not be everyone’s cup of tea (especially if you don’t miss shoulder pads), but it offers a fun opportunity to play with shapes and raid your closest male’s wardrobe. To make the look work, pair your oversized blazer with straight-leg trousers or ankle-cut jeans and throw on some gold jewelry and a pink lip.
Get tough with a pair of thickly treaded combat boots, truly one of the longest-lasting fashion trends in footwear. They’ve been a mainstay of the counterculture and punk movement since the 80s (think Dr. Martens) and are still deemed super-cool by tastemaker fashion houses like Prada and Dior (and are available at much more accessible price points). Now leveled up, you can sport them in matte or shiny patent leather with feminine touches like platforms, heels and softer colors. Madonna would be proud.
Chunky White Sneakers
At last: permission for ultimate podiatrist-approved comfort without sacrificing trendiness. The white sneaker, rendered especially “chunkier” with bulky tread, is fit to wear with skirts, dresses and trousers, either semi-formal or casual, in an ideal blend of luxury and leisure.
If you’ve ever struggled to find tall boots that don’t strangle your ankles, rejoice in discovering that straight-leg boots are very much “in” according to 2020 fashion. Clean lines extend upward from the heel to the knee in classic black, snakeskin and white (which has turned out to be the MVP color for leather boots right now).
Wave goodbye to the rounded toe. Now seen on strappy sandals, ankle boots as well as knee-highs, the square toe has graduated to become the season’s flagship footwear. Anchored in the minimalist trend, square toes are best suited with high heels in classic, timeless colors. Wear them with skirts, dresses and tailored pants.
Pointed-toe kitten heels, especially mules in bright colors and satin finishes, make for a cutesy yet comfy footwear choice with longer-length bottoms like cigarette pants and knit maxi skirts. This is a great place to play with color and let your shoes make the statement.
Vibrant hues instantly cheer up any aesthetic, and handbags make for a great way to bring a dose of color to your ensemble without dominating the look. Opt for a bright clutch to spice up neutral attire, or – if you’re feeling bold – pair a playful purse with an equally colorful outfit.
Fringe and Tassel Bags
Tassels are no longer restricted to throwback 60s fashion. Fringing on purses and handbags can feel current, available in an array of textures like leather, shearling, beading and colorful cotton threads. For a more classic and streamlined look, choose dark hues like black and brown, or combine a pared-down outfit with colorfully tasseled Bohemian sophistication to render a retro look fit for 2020/2021 fashion trends.
Minimalist and Layered Jewelry
Delicate jewelry in gold finishes are the definition of simple elegance, and are well-suited for layering necklaces in various lengths, from above the collarbone down to the sternum. Small, understated earrings like gold hoops or shiny studs featuring natural elements such as blossoms and tiny honeybees in multicolored gemstones bring versatility and polish to any outfit.
Leave it to fashionistas to take a mandatory article and make it chic. Black cloth masks are sure to match everything, won’t show dirt (or lipstick) and serve their purpose in a New Yorker’s color of choice.
Enjoy exploring all these fun, fascinating and fabulous fashion trends.