It’s safe to say there’s really nothing about 2020 that we’re not over at this point, and that includes basically everything we wore
Fashion will never be the defining aspect of this year, but the trends that were definitely capture the zeitgeist of lockdown, an unprecedented period in history that we’re all ready to move on from. In that sense, this moment finds brands and shoppers alike at a crossroads: When we finally emerge from the pandemic, will we return to our seasonal, trend-based shopping habits? Or are we collectively move on to pieces that offer practical longevity and spiritual fulfilment?
While we dream of safely having places to go and people to see, here’s a look at the trends we wore this year and what we hope to wear in 2021. May we never be confined to our sweatpants for weeks on end again.
2020 trend to leave behind: Sweatpants
The sweatpant was without a doubt the fashion hero of 2020: a comfy-cozy sensation evangelized in an August New York Times story called “Sweatpants Forever.” And with most social interaction relegated to Zoom this year, was there any reason to pull it together from the waist down? Try taking baby steps back to real pants with some loose-fit jeans.
2021 trend to try instead: Loose jeans
2020 trend to leave behind: Leggings
Consider leggings the bar top to sweatpants’ baggy tee. Figure-flattering while still being comfortable, the athleisure staple was more popular than ever, as evidenced by legging purveyor Lululemon’s share price hitting an all-time high in June. Next year, we’re hoping to leave our leggings where they belong: in our gym bags.
2021 trend to try instead: Khakis
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2020 trend to leave behind: Tie dye
Now that we’re firmly settled into the second wave, there’s a certain nostalgia for the early days of the pandemic, a time when we found comfort in innocent DIY pursuits like baking loaves of sourdough and tie-dyeing our old T-shirts. Tie dye is an enduring classic that’ll never go out of style—and for good reason—but we need a breather from anything that triggers the fear we were all going through this spring.
2021 trend to try instead: DIY knitting
2020 trend to leave behind: Cottagecore
We’ve been longing for the simple life since well before the pandemic, a fantasy some took IRL with “cottagecore,” an aesthetic that romanticizes western notions of rural living. It’s not just about milking goats—looking the part is critical, and no cottager is worth her (pink Himalayan) salt without a prairie dress, an apron and a pair of clogs.
2021 trend to try instead: A city slicker trench coat
2020 trend to leave behind: Nap dresses
For the newly minted WFH workforce, the freedom to nap between meetings was a gift many took advantage of. Enter: the nap dress. More structured than a nightgown but less formal than a house dress, these frocks were meant for lounging in style. Personally, we think it’s genius—so for next year we’re keeping the trend going but with an updated length for the warmer months.
2021 trend to try instead: A cocktail nap dress
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2020 trend to leave behind: Crop tops
During that brief window of time when we were let (relatively) loose this summer, the crop top came back with a vengeance. Perhaps it was after so many months spent cooped up alone at home, but we were there to bare. This coming year, consider a pendulum swing to the opposite yet equally alluring end of the spectrum with an oversize shirt.
2021 trend to try instead: An oversize button-down
2020 trend to leave behind: Bucket hats
This ’90s throwback reached its peak this year, and we couldn’t be happier, TBH. Hats are always welcome in our fashion repertoire, given their innate ability to chicly shield us from bad hair days and the sun alike. And what better way to hide the fact that you haven’t been to the salon in months? So, instead of ditching this trend, we’re expanding to include winterized versions!
2021 trend to try instead: Winter-ready fuzzy bucket hats
2020 trend to leave behind: Victorian sleeves
When you’re home doing literally nothing, there’s no need to worry about your giant sleeves getting in the way of things. These billowing beauties were made for Instagram and are a fanciful escape from reality, indeed. But when you finally have something (anything!) on your calendar, you may want to hang these up and get your hands dirty.
2021 trend to try instead: A bold shoulder
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2020 trend to leave behind: Square-toe heels
The bounty of fashion inspo to be found in the 1990s is the gift that keeps on giving. One of the more recent styles to be hauled out of this treasure trove is the square-toed shoe, which gave footwear a quirky, retro feel that made us feel like we were at Romy and Michelle’s high-school reunion. Now it’s time to make way for a decidedly more comfy open-toe option.
2021 trend to try instead: High-fashion house slippers
2020 trend to leave behind: Pleather pants
It seems unlikely that a fabric known for being uncomfortable would go viral at a time when we’re all staying home, but let’s just continue to embrace the chaos of 2020. Pleather pants and their leather counterparts gave us a sartorial lift right when we needed it. In 2021, take it to the next level with a head-to-toe lewk.
2021 trend to try instead: A pleather dress
2020 trend to leave behind: Pyjamas for day
It’s easy to spend a lot of time in your pyjamas when there’s no reason to get dressed. While we encourage you to invest in sleepwear that makes you feel amazing and admit that there’s a time and a place for wearing your PJs all day (and this year was certainly it), it’s something that should be reserved for emergency use only.
2021 trend to try instead:
Your favourite, most fabulous ensemble!