10 fashion trends you need to know in 2021

Styles on the cover of December’s Vogue. Source

After months of sitting inside wearing nothing but sweatpants and that dirty, comfy t-shirt, odds are you want to show out when you finally have a chance to be social again. 

But while the world might have stood still, fashion trends continued to march on and what was popular pre-quarantine might seem off now. Here are 10 trends, new and old, that you should know about for your next socially-distanced event.

Gender-neutral clothing

Harry Styles made waves with his December Vogue cover shot depicting the singer-songwriter in a light dress and blazer.

Twitter had a field day with many praising Styles for challenging social expectations surrounding gender-specific clothing.

In a Guardian interview, Styles laments the idea that fashion is somehow indicative of one’s sexuality or gender.

“I want things to look a certain way,” Styles said in the interview. “Not because it makes me look gay, or it makes me look straight, or it makes me look bisexual, but because I think it looks cool.”

“Gender-neutral” can be anything, but the trend is largely defined by its rejection of strongly masculine or feminine features, often opting for fits that are less fitted and more versatile.

Y2K Fashion

Fashion is famously cyclical and often nostalgic, so it makes sense for the fashion trends of the 90s to come back into play.

Staples like pleated skirts, denim-on-denim, cropped t-shirts and baggy sweaters can be seen in abundance on TikTok, Twitter, and DePop.

Beanies, slip dresses and the beloved bucket hat have also returned in popularity with time.

While college students now will largely not personally remember the 90s, many of us probably grew up wearing some hand-me-downs from older siblings that embodied Y2K style.

Check out your local thrift stores or raid your family’s closets and find some unique, retro pieces that bring you back to the time of CRT televisions and beanie babies.

Layers and Layers

The more layers, the better.

Typically, we have the urge to layer more in colder months, but layering in the summer should not be ignored.

Slip dresses over a skintight top are in, a look you could take further with a denim or corduroy jacket.

Scarves are also a great way to add layers, and lighter materials allow you to dress cooler without sacrificing style.

T-shirts under button-up tops also offer a light layering option, with the opportunity to comfortably add a coat on top.

Bright Colors

Bright colors help to catch the attention of those around you and make you stand out. While it might be intimidating to dress boldly, it can’t be denied that doing so correctly makes you feel incredibly confident.

Consider different shades of bright red, blue, yellow and green, whether it encompasses the full outfit or only pieces.

Brightly colored jackets and hats are also great, fun accessories to consider adding to your collection.





If you still haven’t grown tired of your quarantine attire, consider keeping it on since loungewear is understandably popular right now.

Fuzzy clothing and slippers, sweatpants and loose-fitting t-shirts and hoodies are great, casual options for when you want to look stylish and be comfortable.

You might consider adding some comfortable dad sneakers as well, such as FILAs or Air Force 1s.

Sustainable Clothing

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the impact of the fashion industry on developing countries and the environment. Many people opt to choose upcycled clothing or sustainable brands in order to feel better about their spending habits.

Patagonia, Fair Trade Winds and Able are three brands many have acknowledged as affordable and sustainable, but the options are limitless as companies discover the opportunity presented by sustainable design.

Websites like Etsy and DePop also allow easy access to hand-made or upcycled clothing. Also, search on social media for boutique shops and closet sales.


Tunics are comfortable, unique options for those who want to dress fashionably while standing out.

Tunics continue to drive and be driven by gender-neutral trends and when combined with bright colors and layering offer a strong look to both masculine and feminine figures.

Tunics come in endless styles and combinations, featuring buttons, lace, tassels and various lengths to suit whatever outfit you desire.

Nail art

If you have TikTok and paint your nails, you’ve surely seen some eye-catching and beautiful tutorials on your For You Page.

Nail art is a fun (and sometimes challenging) way to express yourself. Some people like to paint nails for holidays or themed parties, such as Christmas and Halloween inspired designs.

Nail art and painting have also begun to take hold in men’s fashion, again pointing to the increasing gender neutrality in style.

Long coats

Long coats have been a recurring theme in fashion for centuries in one form or another.

Trench coats, Chesterfields and wrap coats offer versatile and pragmatic style choices, allowing you to dress professionally or casually with the same coat.

Consider combining a long coat with a stylish hoodie or sweater for a casual, warm outfit, or a tank top and jeans for a good early spring option.


Patchwork goes hand-in-hand with upcycled clothing, with many wearers customizing their own clothing to fit the style.

Patchwork offers a friendly and fun option for casual clothing, featuring bright colors and designs that add character and catch the eye.

If you’re good with a sewing machine, you might consider creating your own custom clothing in this style. The “homemade” look will surely attract compliments.

Alternatively, check local boutique stores and online sellers for options you may love.

Michael J. Collins can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @mjcollinsnews.