The biggest fashion trends for 2021 – The Independent


hen coronavirus shook the world last year our lives were changed almost overnight.

Instead of commuting to the office, dining out with friends and enjoying drinks at the pub, we were suddenly wfh and learning how to bake banana bread – and with that our fashion choices changed too.

2020 was mostly spent in Zoom-appropriate casual clothes or – as more people joined the at-home workout gang – sportswear, which was reflected in the way we shopped.

During lockdown Asos sold 188,000 pairs of its 4505 Icon leggings as well as 760,000 pairs of tracksuits, while Google data suggests that after the second lockdown sales for women’s pyjamas rose by 110 per cent.

But as the world looks towards the vaccine returning us to normality, how will fashion be affected?

According to Vogue, wearable fashion may be here to stay.

“Many designers reined in their usual experimentation and extravagance while showcasing their 2021 creations on the runway, instead opting to prioritise practicality,” they said.

Models at Seoul Fashion Week

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“For the first time in a long time, these looked like clothes that are meant to be worn.”

While Daisy Jordan, stylist and editor of Wear Next, predicts our new-found fondness of comfortable yet stylish clothes will get a fun makeover.

Speaking to The Independent, she says: “We’ve fallen in love with a more relaxed working wardrobe, but 2021 is about having a little more fun.

“I expect to see exaggerated sleeves, colour-pop dresses and loud accessories. These mood-boosting additions reflect more excitement and hope for the year ahead, without sacrificing comfort.”

Puff sleeves

Exaggerated puff sleeves will be bigger and bolder in 2021, as shown at last year’s Loewe, Altuzarra and Isabel Marant fashion shows – and style queen Katie Holmes is a fan.

Jordan adds: “This is an easy trend to incorporate into your wardrobe, so even the conservative dresser will be able to take part.”

Puff sleeves made a big appearance on 2020’s runways

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Pretty pastels

From purple nails to candy floss-coloured dresses, pastels aren’t going anywhere next summer.

“These sorbet-inspired colours are the perfect option for summer and they suit a wide variety of skin tones,” noted The Trend Spotter.

Pastel suits are a great way to brighten up summer wardrobes

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“Choose from a boiler suit in cool mint green or an oversized trench coat in soft lavender – better yet, try them both simultaneously. Suits and separates in the soft and buttery hues elevate your overall aesthetic and will remain one of the chicest styles for seasons to come.”

Baseball caps

The baseball cap is set to be the must-have accessory for 2021.

Every look in Celine designer Hedi Slimane’s summer 2021 collection incorporated a hat, and Kaia Gerber, Meghan Markle and Gigi Hadid have all recently been spotted rocking the retro accessory. 

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Naughty netting

One of the bolder trends for this year, netting made multiple appearances on the spring and summer runways, including Givenchy, Burberry and Prada.

Jordan says: “It will be interesting to see how the high street tackles this slightly more daring trend, but I expect mesh dresses, tops and even skirts.”

Mellow yellows

Yellow was named one of Pantone’s colours of the year for 2021 for it’s “illuminating positivity.”

Expect to see a lot more of this delightful hue as summer hits – think dandelion dresses and block-colour handbags.

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“Yellow is a colour that has popped up throughout the years, so this trend can be easily found on second-hand sites such as eBay, Depop and Vinted,” adds Jordan.


Taking inspiration from the fifties and the sixties, this sleek fashion accessory is coming back in a big way.

Headscarves are the perfect way to add a chic finishing touch to any outfit without overdoing it and are a classic go-to item – which means your local charity shop could be stocking a few hidden gems.

Choose from a silky design with floral motifs or intricate patterns, or keep it simple with bold colors and block letters. 

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Slouchy denim

Skinny jeans are out and slouchy denim is in, with loose-fitting jeans and jumpsuits set to be big this year.

Jordan says: “We’ve spent a lot of 2020 in sweatpants, but slouchy denim gives a more stylish edge without losing any comfort.”

Flower Power

We know florals bloom into fashion every spring, but this year when it comes to flower prints, the bolder, the better.

Bold florals are in

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Gone are the cute, feminine prints of the last few years, with powerful flowers that make an impact taking the edge.

Bonus points if you mix your florals or wear them from head-to-toe.

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