The most current fashion trends are those that feel easy to wear but still look like you made just enough effort to do whatever it is you do during these strange, strange days and nights. Whether that’s daily Zoom meetings and a few essential errands; the occasional (safe!) outdoor dinner; weekend park outings; or in-person work, we all could use clothing that makes us feel a distinct sense of ease and comfort.
While forecasting fashion trends that originate on the runway isn’t a total exercise in futility—it will always hold influence—it seems designers and retailers are more frequently looking to social media, youth culture, nostalgia, the street, and celebrities for inspiration about what’s cool and what’s current.
As we start to wrap up a year that’s been less-than ideal for every single one of us, take solace in the fact that the current fashion trends you might have bought into in 2020 will only be more prevalent in 2021. Small victories!
Sweet Cropped Cardigans
This vintage-inspired trend was kicked off among higher-end brands like Alessandra Rich and LoveShackFancy and it’s inevitably trickled down to the Zaras and Forever 21s of the world. Don’t be fooled by the way the women above styled theirs—this trend looks just as cute with lounge-y sweatpants as it does with jeans or a midi skirt. Plus, whether buttoned up on its own or with a matching cami underneath, it’ll impress over Zoom even if you pair it with the flannel PJ bottoms you wore to bed.
Seemingly every designer and retailer from Balenciaga to Zara are taking cues from the humble tractor boot, which had a massive surge in fall 2020 and will only become more widespread next year. Characterized by an almost comically rounded toe and a thick, rugged sole, it’s among the current fashion trends that look as at home under a long dress or with super-short skirt as it does paired with slouchy sweatpants or leggings.
Few items can replace your favorite pair of worn-in heather gray sweats, but this year—one that was defined by couch clothing—the demand for sweatpants in a variety of colors, including dreamy pastels and juicy bolds was strong. Blame it on the idea that, once we felt comfortable to go outside again, our commitment to comfort didn’t waver but we still wanted to shop for and wear pieces that felt a little more fun than what typically-colored sweatpants telegraph.
Brushed plaid “shackets”—a hybrid of shirt and jacket—are among the current fashion trends that can be worn anywhere, anytime. Heavier than a flannel shirt but not quite as bulky as a full-on coat if you need to run out, they also look great with most things you’re already wearing, from sweatpants to turtlenecks.
Among current fashion trends, this one is made to be noticed and therefore might have been a little more fun when you were actually going out and living life, but it’s also one that looks fresh on a grocery store run, the occasional (again, safe!) outdoor dinner or, yes, over Zoom.
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. Pro tip: layer a turtleneck underneath to make it extra seasonal.
Swap the baseball cap for a very 2020 bucket hat, which one of many current fashion trends beloved by some of the most stylish women on planet earth including Rihanna and Bella Hadid.
That bag shape we all had in the early 2000s
You know the one: short strap; kind of like a half-circle. Perfect for carrying only what you need, which never felt more relevant. Fendi coined the shape as the “baguette” and it’s had a massive resurgence, while Prada recently reissued its iconic 2000 and 2005 nylon version. You don’t have to have a designer budget, though: almost every affordable retailer has its own version right now, but if you really want to take it back to the early aughts, go for the ones made from shiny hard pleather.
Consider this update on last year’s pervasive leopard print. This year, it’s 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.
Hoodies Under Blazers
Layer the “cozy” quarantine piece we’re all sick a little of wearing under a blazer and you’ve got a legitimately perfect, just-polished-enough outside—or inside—look. Whether you favor boxy oversized blazers or more tailored styles, you can’t mess up this trend.