Put Your Best Fashion Foot Forward in 2021

Grace Morrison, Staff Reporter

2021 is here, and it seems that the fashion industry can agree that this year, fashion is a form of expression: whether that be political, creative, or practical. “Fashion to me is just a creative outlet,” says Lyle Knudsen ‘21 wearing white vans and colorful socks, a white crew neck with a blue flannel layered on top. “It’s a way to explore who you really are, and I feel like it resonates a lot with what our speaker [Brendon Jobs, Haverford teacher] said yesterday during the MLK meeting [How to be an Upstander: A Workshop for Helping Kids Speak Up When It Counts.] He said ‘It’s not about fitting in, but more about belonging.’ And I think fashion resonates with that message, because it’s not really about fitting in with style or fashion for me. I think it’s about expressing what you like, the colors that you like to wear, any styles you like to wear, and as long as it’s not offensive to anyone, group, or community, I think it should be accepted and seen as beautiful, even if it’s different or unique.” 

Many looks coming from stylish, artsy cities such as New York, London, and Paris seem to be inspired by decades. The 70s looks combine corduroy, flared pants, floral patterns, and bright colors, while 90s trends include chunky boots and casual white sneakers. These textures and patterns lead to a tendency of pattern mixing. Other trendy colors seemed to be shades of green, orange, and various shades of pink, including a fluorescent highlighter tone. As brighter colored looks increase, the basic black is on its way out in 2021. With COVID-19 causing a change in perspective, why wear black when you can have fun experimenting with colors and patterns? These colors could be seen as statement pieces or as a full monochromatic look. Colors are fun to experiment with, and trend forecasters predict lots of bright colored looks or bright color paired with earth tones to draw attention to the bold colored piece of clothing. Taiasha Elmore, who is a reliable trend predictor, commented, “Big clothes! No more skinny fitting, tight things. Everybody is going to love stuff that is bigger and comfortable. What else?” She adds, “We’re going to be back to the 90’s a little bit. We’re going to go back to bright colors, bigger clothes, the chunky shoes.” 

With patterns comes patterns on patterns, whether that be a statement jacket with bold pants or patterned accessories with a complimentary top. Must have patterned pieces include pants, statement coats, and checkerboard print. Speaking of coats, shacket are in! A shacket is a type of outerwear that is a step above a jean jacket, but not quite a heavy coat. These include flannels, corduroy, cardigans, and blazers. As for footwear, heels are out! As stated before, comfort over style, therefore people are drawn to chunky boots, such as Doc Martens (inspired by the 90s), casual white sneakers (brands including Converse, Golden Goose, and P448), a dressy loafer, or retro Jordans for those looking for street style. 

Another trend carrying over from 2020 into 2021 is wearing what you want to wear. Everyone has lived through the pandemic, so why care about what others think of your clothes, when there are more important issues. With this theory in mind, comfort will dominate over style in 2021, and inspire trends such as athleisure and elevated sweatsuits. Not just personally, but from a business standpoint, quarantine put into perspective where the future of the fashion industry was heading. Once business picked up and designers were able to create again, brands focused on activism and their impact on the environment. Many brands realized that the majority of people vote with their money, so to tailor to the demands, companies are focusing on quality and waste management. As a whole, people realize that money is a type of power transaction. 

During quarantine, many people picked up new hobbies such as knitting and crocheting. While these home projects may be rough looking, designers showed off knit pieces on the runway, possibly inspired by the increase of knitters during the pandemic. This includes sweater vests, a trend from the end of 2020. Time to take that skill and put it to good use! When asked for style tips, Maddie Osbourn ‘22 replied, “I think following the trends is a good place to start. I think once you start doing that you can kinda personalize it from there with just finding your own likes and what you think you look good in. Just have fun with it! Always stay looking for fun stuff to wear.” Style is a form of art and another way for one to express themselves. Fashion is meant to be fun, creative, and experimental. In an interview for Vogue, Anna Wintour combatted the idea that the fashion industry is declining by stating,“We all need fashion. We all need clothes to put on our backs and to express ourselves.” As the year progresses, keep an eye out to see if these trends make their way into street style and maybe even students’ style at WFS.