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Fashion Link: Popular Fashion Trends in 2021

The popular fashion trends of 2021 show that, after a year like 2020, people are ready to experiment with fashion. While last year was largely dominated by loungewear and muted ‘90s-inspired looks, this year we’re seeing a shift toward bright, fresh, and playful designs. Wearability is still important in 2021, but fashion designers and style-setters are finding all kinds of ways to marry ease and style, such as by embracing baggier silhouettes on denim or sporting an all-pastel knit sweat set. 

Speaking of style-setters, you can’t talk about fashion trends in 2021 without mentioning the enormous influence TikTok has had on fashion this year. The app has become a go-to resource for fashion inspiration and styling tips. As an online space, TikTok naturally encourages more spontaneous and joyful content. In turn, this encourages fashion experimentation. And when you look at the current trends, it’s undeniable that the experimental looks seen on TikTok over the last year have impacted the fashion scene. TikTok has had an impact on which specific styles are trending, as well as on the overall fresh and playful vibe of 2021 fashion.

Ready to get inspired by the fresh, fun, youthful, and bold trending styles brought to us by fashion runways and TikTok For You pages? Here are the most popular fashion trends in 2021.


Exaggerated Shoulders

image of women wearing a pink shirt with shoulder pads

Image Courtesy of Revolve

Whether you’re into all-out romance or bold masculine silhouettes, 2021 fashion has an exaggerated shoulder for you. There are two trends defined by exaggerated shoulder silhouettes this year: puffy shoulders and oversized shoulder pads. Puffy shoulders add a fun, ultra-feminine look to dresses and tops, while the ‘80s-inspired shoulder pad trend adds a powerful look to this year’s trendy oversized blazers.


Color Blocked Pastels & Neons

image of women wearing orange dress

Image Courtesy of Lulus

Spring is shaping up to be a big season for color blocking. And, specifically, for color blocking pastels and neons. Mixing neons and pastels, seen at Fendi and Prada, is perfect for those who love to stand out, as is the all-neon color-block seen at Balmain and Balenciaga. If you want to try a softer take on the color-block trend, you can also go for the all-pastel option, which is currently the most popular take on the trend on TikTok.


Bra Tops

image of women wearing a blue bra with white jeans

Image Courtesy of Revolve

Bras and bralettes as tops are trending in a major way in 2021. The bra top was prominent on fashion week runways, taking center stage at Victoria Beckham, Celine, Jacquemus, and Paco Rabanne. On social media, we’re seeing lots of bra tops worn in matching sets, including knit and crochet sets that give the trend a cozy-chic vibe. Bras are also being worn as tops under a variety of open button-downs, like cashmere cardigans and flannels.

Another bra-as-top trend in 2021 is the bracket, a bra worn as a top under a jacket, which provides an edgy take on the trend. The bracket look is popular among influencers and celebrities, such as Emily Ratajkowski and Hailey Beiber.


Matching Sets

image of women wearing a tie dye matching set

Image Courtesy of Revolved

Matching sets are a carryover fashion trend from 2020, during which we saw the rise of matching sweatpant sets and knit loungewear sets. In 2021, these set styles continue to thrive, joined by new sets influenced by other trends of the year, such as pastel fabrics, bra tops, cashmere cardigans, sweatsuits, and funky prints. 


Oversized Pants 

image of blue jeans

Image Courtesy of R13

If you spend much time on TikTok, you may have heard the news from Gen Z: skinny jeans are over. Looking at this year’s runways, it appears that fashion designers are on the same page (at least for now), since tight pants of any variety were uncommon in Spring/Summer collections.

Of course, pants and jeans in general are not out for 2021-- we’re just seeing oversized styles take over in popularity. A wide variety of oversized pants are trending on runways and social media at the moment, offering a bevy of comfortable pant options for 2021. Some examples of the oversized pants styles that are currently trending include wide leg baggy jeans, loose slacks, and yoga pants (or, as some younger TikTok users call them, “flared leggings”).


Asymmetrical Shoulders & Necklines

image of women wearing light brown dress

Image Courtesy of fwrd

Looking for more ways to add visual interest to your Zoom outfits? Try the asymmetrical shoulder trend. Asymmetrical shoulder details are already big on TikTok, where form-fitting asymmetrical bodysuits and knit crop tops are popular. Asymmetrical shoulders are also trending on work-ready styles, like elegant long-sleeved tops in neutral tones. And for those who like the asymmetrical top look but want to keep both of their shoulders covered up, there’s also a sister trend you can try this season: asymmetrical necklines, which are popping up on everything from sweaters to wedding dresses.


Boho & Cottagecore Dresses

image of women wearing a white dress

Image Courtesy of LoveShackFancy

Boho-style dresses are very popular for 2021, and this is another trend that has been prominent on both runways and social media. More classic boho styles that feature fringe, white cotton, crochet, and funky prints are all trending. Then, we’re also seeing some interesting boho dress styles that have clearly drawn inspiration from cottagecore. This very-online aesthetic, born on Tumblr and popularized on TikTok, centers on an idealized take on living life in a cottage in the countryside. This year’s breezy boho dresses that feature pale colors and delicate prints are perfect for cottagecore-lovers who can’t get enough of the aesthetic’s quaint, idyllic vibes.


Sheer and Organza

image of a women wearing a sheer shirt with black bra

Image Courtesy of Topshop

Sheer clothing is a dominant 2021 fashion trend. We’ve seen it on celebrities, TikTok influencers, and all over Spring/Summer fashion runways. This trend has recently graced the runways at Chanel, Dior, Miu Miu, Givenchy, Gucci, Proenza Schouler, Tom Ford, Loewe, and Virginie Viard, just to name a few. Long sheer gowns and see-through skirts over mini dresses has been popular on the runways, while sheer sleeves and see-through tops over bralettes have been the celebrity and influencer go-to.


Funky Prints

image of women wearing a patterned dress

Image Courtesy of Prada

Need an intermission from the many monochrome styles of 2021? Try out the new year’s funky print trend. Bold prints (which are frequently vintage-inspired) are popping up on everything from folksy jackets to boho midi dresses, so there are plenty of styling options for print-lovers in 2021. If you need inspiration on how to style an eye-catching print, take a hint from the latest fashion week runways. The models at Valentino, Chloé, Louis Vuitton, Isabel Marant, Erdem, Dolce & Gabbana, and Versace all showcased chic ways to wear the trend.


Unique Denim

image of women wearing orange jeans

Image Courtesy of Alberta Ferretti

Another fashion trend that favors the bold is the unique denim trend, which was big on Spring/Summer 2021 runways. Take, for example, the pastel tie-dye denim at Alberta Ferretti, the vibrant pink denim slacks at Chanel, the denim-accented trench coats at Burberry, the futuristic denim cutouts at Balenciaga, and the color-blocked blue jeans at Victoria Beckham. Striking denim pieces are also trending on social media, where there are some more wearable takes on the trend, such as super ripped jeans and ultra baggy denim pants.


Conscious Shopping

Last but not least, let’s talk about a fashion trend that’s more about how you shop rather than what you wear: conscious shopping.

Conscious shopping is set to be one of the biggest fashion trends of 2021. This trend aligns with a long-term trend influenced by rising consumer awareness. As people have started to learn more about the impact their shopping has on others, they’ve cared more about things like sustainability and ethics in fashion. And while the idea of conscious shopping isn’t new, the rise in awareness we’ve seen over the last year (which can be partially attributed to TikTok) is certainly notable. This year, there’s a very clear trend toward trying to shop vintage and local, as well as at businesses owned by people you want to support, such as at black-owned businesses and women-owned businesses.




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