Fall Trends for 2021

Compiling a list of fall trends is quite an undertaking. But one I totally love! As a “fashion forecaster” and proud fashion nerd, I joyfully and intensely spend hours (maybe even days) surveying what designers, fashion editors, and store buyers are focusing on for the season ahead. I do big-time research each season – viewing the fall runway shows, reading all the old school, print fashion mags (Vogue, Marie Claire, In Style, Glamor, Cosmo, WWD, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle). And all of the digital publications as well (PopSugar, Who What Wear, Style Caster, The Zoe Report, and Pinterest, of course).

Then I create lists, upon lists, upon lists. Asking myself questions and categorizing…What did I see repeated? Did it resonate? Is it feeling new and fresh? And most importantly: what was wearable? Because while fashion is most definitely an art, styling people for everyday endeavors is the marriage of artful inspiration and real-life practicality. Both are integrally important in making one’s wardrobe feel fabulous.

If a wardrobe is purely practical, it can be boring, and conversely, if it is only artful whimsy, it’s super hard to wear. So what’s the sweet spot? The intersection of fresh seasonal inspiration and the way to actually wear it and feel great. Focusing on what key pieces to add that make the old feel new.

Fall Trends AKA, Trend 2.0

All of this being said, writing a round-up of fall trends has been more challenging this year than most. Typically there are multiple shiny new trends that jump out and differentiate themselves and still build upon the previous years’ trends. But, as with everything else, 2020 really messed things up. Probably because we didn’t get a chance to really wear our clothes last fall. 

I’m finding many trends that have been around for a while but are now really gaining momentum. Or trends that were here in one way, but are pivoting to take on a newer iteration this season. And then there are trends that are holdovers, not necessarily new, but still going strong. 

The Lifecycle of a Trend

Also, keep in mind the lifecycle of a trend. I’ve written about it in pieces and parts here and there. And I dig a little deeper on it when I do speaking engagements. However, in a nutshell, it’s this… trends work on a 7-10 year cycle. Ideally, for most everyday folks that care about fashion but are not major trendsetters, buying into a trend in years 2-3 is best. The trend is still new enough that you’ll have time to wear and enjoy it. As well as get the return on your investment. And, by waiting until the second season, you’ll know it’s one that is going to stick around for a while. Think of it as TREND 2.0. In the same way, you’d wait a bit for new technology, like the iPhone to work out its kinks. So too with new fashion trends

The 5 Pieces to Add or Keep Your Radar – Fall Trends 2021

Vests

Both knit and waistcoat style vests started showing up last fall, and they’re gaining a ton of traction this season – which means to me, it is a trend worth exploring seriously.

Vests are great for a few reasons:

  • They offer an added layer (aka the third piece) with not as much bulk or warmth as a full-sleeved sweater or jacket.
  • A vest can take on any vibe you like – preppy, edgy, boho
  • A vest can offer the seriousness and structure of a suit while also providing a modern feel. And in a sexy way too, if it’s worn on its own (with no shirt underneath)

Color – but make it saturated

We’ve been seeing a lot of color post-pandemic (wait, can I call it post-pandemic while we are still in the midst of the delta variant??) And for fall 2021, it’s about color, but on steroids. Bright colors that are deeply saturated. Not highlighter green but a deeply pigmented, solid kelly or emerald green. And in all the colors of the rainbow too. It’s gorgeous, fun, and quite flattering. 

The best part is that you can add one piece for a subtle approach. Or, go head to toe in the same color the way they showed it on the runway.

Knits

Knits are nothing new for fall. However, for fall 2021 there’s more knit happening than usual. Knit sets, whether it’s a matching top and bottom set or a matching camisole and cardigan set – or better yet, a three-piece matching set that can be worn together or broken apart – knits are it!

I’m also seeing extra chunky knit cardigans, with extra design details everywhere, and at all price points too. By design details, I mean pattered, with fringe, belted – sort of like a more is more scenario.

Denim Everything

Denim also is not new for fall. But denim used in untraditional ways feels fresh. Denim trim on a sweater, quilted denim bags, denim-looking boots, patchwork denim – it’s literally as if denim is being used in any and every way. I’m also noticing much more denim-on-denim mixing. Just as with any monochrome look, it can be tricky. But when it is done right it’s spectacular.

Silk Scarves

As a person that has a collection of silk scarves and has actually not stopped wearing them, I’m thrilled to see them coming back in style. However, now there is a whole slew of new ways to wear them. And some really inventive ways they’re being incorporated into the actual clothes. Both Saint Laurent and Veronica Beard designed silk scarves into necklines and waistbands of their fall collections. And one of my favorite fall purchases is a handbag made from upcycled vintage scarves that also uses a vintage scarf as the handle – it’s soooo good!

Another way I’ve been seeing scarves worn (more by the twenty-somethings) is to wear a silk scarf as a bandeau top. Basically, it’s taking a large silk square, folding it in a triangle, and tying the wide part straight over your chest. Then tie a knot in the back. The point of the triangle covers the belly and leaves most of the back exposed. I don’t think it’s a way I’m going to partake in the trend as a 51 year old, but I did think it was worth mentioning. Smaller silk scarves are being shown as a neckerchief or tied in the hair. The moral of the story is that it’s time to break out your silk scarves again and tie one on!

2021 Fall Trends, In Summary

To sum it all up, the trends for fall 2021 are not completely new. Rather, they’re trends that have been around for a bit but are now have been refined and improved. And are therefore really gaining momentum. That’s the reason I’m calling them 2.0. The 5 fall fashion trends that I recommend adding to your wardrobe include vests, saturated color, knits, denim everything, and silk scarves. Will you be adding these trends to your wardrobe? What other pieces are you excited about for this fall?

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PS – Since this Tuesday is the first day of Rosh Hashana – but this blog always goes out on Tuesday mornings…  it was completed before the holiday (yay me for beating a deadline) and automated to send out. If you’re reading it on Rosh Hashanah and celebrate this holiday, Shana Tova (Happy New Year).FYI,  I’ll probably be quiet on Instagram + Facebook Tuesday and Wednesday as we celebrate. But I’ll be back at it Thursday!

Author

Cleveland-based personal stylist and fashion blogger.

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