Arts and Entertainment

STUYLE CORNER: Top Trends of 2021

From the runway to the podium, here are the top trends of 2021.

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By Emily Chen

Two months into 2021, we're already seeing new trends pop up on our Instagram feeds and in the latest editorials. Typically, the month-long fashion week runways set the trends for the upcoming spring and summer seasons. This year, however, brands have gotten creative, debuting their collections through digital performances, films, and socially-distanced catwalks. In addition to the more traditional runway shows, figureheads in the media––such as social media influencers and politicians––are also impacting what we wear. From the runway to the podium, here are the top trends of 2021.


The year started off strong with President Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20th. Though there was no red carpet, political icons didn’t fail to showcase the new look in fashion through bold matching outfits. Vice President Kamala Harris, Former First Lady Michelle Obama, and First Lady Jill Biden, among many others, showed up wearing coats, dresses, belts, gloves, and masks, all in a uniform color. From Michelle Obama’s deep crimson pantsuit to Jill Biden’s pearly pale blue tweed ensemble, these powerful women embody the appeal of monochrome: elegant and effortlessly chic. These outfits made more than just a colorful statement; as role models in the public eye, these politicians’ outfits spotlighted garments made by female, immigrant, and black independent designers who are historically underrepresented in the fashion community. The true beauty of this trend also lies in its versatility: from formal wear to street style to work-from-home loungewear, monochrome can be adopted in a variety of aesthetics. To best achieve this look, shop for all of the items in your outfit from one brand, since brands usually stick to specific color palettes and hues.

The Shoulder Bag

If there’s one item to add to your closet this season, it’s a 2000s style shoulder bag. These small, short-strap bags are the next big trend following the recent revival of ’90s and ’00s aesthetics. Celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Sofia Richie have sported Prada’s rerelease of the iconic shoulder bag (the 2000 Re-edition), which was originally worn by Y2K idols like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. Dupes of the bag are available at Steve Madden and ASOS, and you can find more unique styles at Urban Outfitters. These bags are a charming addition to any outfit, whether you want to dive into the 2000s aesthetic by pairing it with a cropped puffer jacket and a mini skirt, or opt for a more modern route with cargo pants and oversized sneakers.


Bralettes are the perfect combination of leisure-wear and lingerie: comfortable and flattering, sexy yet casual. It’s no surprise that they’re all over the SS21 collections. This style of top––a crop top fitted like a bra––is the perfect item to usher in warm weather. One popular way to style tiny bralettes is to pair them with a cardigan or an unbuttoned suit jacket. Combine bralettes with the monochrome trend by matching the color and texture of the bralette with your outerwear like Katie Holmes’s viral beige cashmere look, then add a pair of casual jeans, ankle boots, and a boxy tote to complete the outfit.

Wide-Leg Pants

Working (and learning) from home has given us a new appreciation for comfort in our everyday wardrobes. Gone are the days of tight skinny jeans and constricting straight-leg trousers; now, the fashion world is welcoming wide-leg pants made of denim, cotton, and even jersey. These pants typically come in two silhouettes. For the first, the pant is fitted throughout the waist and hips with a wide, boot-cut opening, creating a somewhat triangular A-line shape. This style is reminiscent of the ’70s aesthetic that is currently trending on TikTok and Instagram. The second is baggy throughout with a fitted waist and tight elastic ankle to make the shape more dynamic. Balloon jeans, cozy harem pants, and oversized cargo pants are great examples of this style. Pair such wide-legged pants with a small fitted top––like the bralette––for a dramatic silhouette.


Patchwork clothing is nothing new for our favorite stores, but it is expected to become more popular this year. The trend originated in 2020 and gained momentum after Harry Styles famously wore a patchwork cardigan by JW Anderson that prompted TikTokers around the world to create their own knitted and crocheted versions. Patchwork fits well into the large-scale trend of sustainability in the fashion industry, as many designers upcycle old garments and fabrics to create new pieces in this style, notably Dolce & Gabbana’s SS21 ready-to-wear collection and Natasha Zinko’s famous bandana patchwork dress. Then there are brands like Frankie Collective that collect vintage clothing and rework them into colorblocked hoodies, sweatpants, shorts, skirts, and corset tops. You can even do this trend yourself by cutting up a few old tops and learning simple sewing techniques to piece them together. Patchwork is by far one of the most unique and easy-to-adopt trends of the season.

After a year in isolation, people are bored of sweatpants and leggings, and are craving more fashionable pieces to wear while working from home. What’s interesting is that most of these trends work for both an indoor and outdoor wardrobe: bralettes and wide-leg pants are comfortable yet stylish enough to be worn inside or out, and patchwork and monochrome can easily be integrated into matching loungewear sets or business casual attire. Similarly, a shoulder bag can be worn for a socially-distanced day out with friends or a quick run to the grocery store. Clearly, the overarching trend this season is versatility: the ability for garments to be worn for a variety of different purposes. No matter the occasion, these styles make it easy to stay fashionable in 2021.