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What's trending for 2021...

(For those who still enjoy trend lists after all the corona craziness!)

Let's face it - 2020 changed the rules. Faster than you could say 'quarantine', the prospect of dressing up and going out - anywhere - disappeared for many of us. With social lives, jobs, economies other prospects looking bleak, fashion trends were the least of our concerns.

'Lounge wear' was the biggest fashion winner in 2020. Something that could be worn from home, to work (at home), to play (at home) then to dinner (also at home). Zoom meetings were full of creative attempts to dress up t-shirts and oversized sweaters.

Image: popsugar.com

But for most of us, the human spirit is restless, and art in any form is an outlet. While on-demand video-streaming services and podcasts were popular, fashion also experienced a surge as people turned to social media and other platforms to get inspiration and start dreaming about what they could or would wear when restrictions lightened.

Fashion became more democratic. Many fashion weeks became virtual, with the general public able to see the shows at the same time as industry insiders. Fashion creatives found new ways to market directly to consumers, using social media and initiatives like capsule collections to create interest and continue business until a 'new normal' emerges.

[Paris fashion week in July went virtual, bringing the latest looks directly to the people]

Sustainable and ethical fashion received a big boost. With people being reminded of economic and environmental considerations, creatives looked at ways to minimise waste and reduce harm to our world, while still allowing people to be expressive and inspired.

[Sustainable fashion image via theindependent.co.uk]

And restrictions are now lifting (mostly). Even though outings may be modified, anticipation is building for the excitement of watching and experimenting with new fashion and artistic trends and influences.

So, for those people who still like to anticipate style trends, here's my predictions for some of the trends that will be strong in fashion in 2021.


Zero + Cornejo lounge suit

The big fashion winner in 2020, lounge wear is here to stay, but will include more 'dressy' versions for going out.

Tom Ford Lounge Suit

Silky pyjama-style suits will continue hitting the 'gram, as they also fit in with some of the other trends noted below. Upmarket active-wear is no longer a parody, but instead incorporates exercise wear with layered looks to take you from the gym to the shops to a zoom meeting. Yoga style pants continue to become more mainstream. And so on.

A.L.C. x Bandier Athleisure Kit to take you from the gym to the office

Yoga pants street-style at PFW 20-21, image via vogue.com


Baggy is the new black. Some say it's a trend. I say it could be a great excuse to hide Covid belly (also known as, all my clothes shrunk during Covid).

[Image via trendspotter.com]

Regardless of the reason, women wearing oversized looks based on traditional men's suits and shirting is big. (Although with Australia about to enter a searingly hot and very stormy summer, we may have to wait until autumn to be inundated with baggy suits).

[Image: Marie Claire]

Louis Vuitton

PRAIRIE COLLARS (and other variations)

At the end of 2019, it was all about the large, sharp, pointed collar.

But by 2020, even before the effects of Covid were being fully felt, collars were starting to take a softer (but not smaller) turn. Part of it was a retrospective nod to the fashions worn by Princess Diana in the 1980s - who wore many variations of the collars.

Princess Diana in collar variations in 1983

Now, thanks to covid, Prairie collars are popular for two reasons. Firstly, they tap into the 'nostalgia economy' created by Covid (and are also popular finds at vintage stores). Secondly, thanks to all those virtual meetings where people only saw you from the waist up, shirts with interesting details (like Prairie collars) have been one of the ways of expressing fashion nous virtually.

Ganni; Mui Mui; Monki; Ganni

Expect to see more variations on Prairie collars, on shirts and dresses, in 2021

(e.g. with or without bows; high collars or low v-necks; lace,embroidery or colour contrasts).

Rokh for Women


One of the 'it' dresses of the Australian Spring Season from Aje

Holes and cut-outs in all sorts of places are likely to continue to be popular in 2021. Some will be big - think big cut-out shapes at the backs of dresses. Some will be small and unexpected - such as holes on arms, sides, waists or legs.

Unexpected holes in the neck and arms - image via Marie Claire

Some will be done well and, probably, some won't. Here is where some cultures have the upper hand - for example, a beautifully cut saree/sari over a midi top, exposing a little of the waistline, can be elegant and respectful. A midriff hanging out from a crop top - maybe not.

Image via Netaporter.com

Victoria Beckham

Which leads to the next trend, and don't say you weren't warned - crop tops/bra tops are predicted to make a strong comeback. I'll personally leave that one for the gym, but for the brave, wearing a soft cardigan or clever layer over, to provide more of a 'peek-a-boo' look, may turn it from ewww to elegant.

Image from whowhatwear.com; Sandy Liang; A.L.C. x Bandier


There will still be lots of very strong and vibrant colours around, because fun and celebration are needed. But for those who just want to curl up in the comfort of soft colours and a palette that screams nostalgia, good news. Pastels and muted tones are likely to be very popular this summer and over the next 6 months or more.

Versace Resort 20-21

In tune with the prairie looks, pastels celebrate femininity, but with optimism. Popcorn pink, lime and other candy colours give vibes of local fairs - enough colour to beat the Covid gloom and celebrate an occasion, but soft enough to throw over a cardigan at the end of the day and curl up on the sofa.

MSGM Resort 20/21

For those who prefer more muted, nostalgic tones to retreat to in 2021, colours such as camel, caramel, soft purple, and blush pink all give hints of a comfortable but classy drawing room. These colours have also had a strong showing overseas, which suggests that there will be many competing colour palettes for you to choose from.

Nostalgic palette suggested by Sun Mei


Christian Siriano

Yes, big sleeves are still here. The trend that won't go away (just yet).

Roksanda 2021

However, as well as the big puffy sleeve that defined 2019, sleeves in 2021 will be about clever drapes, shapes, points and other interesting plays with material.

Images via netaporter.com

If you want to be experimental, this is where to show your style.

Rejina Pyo 2021


They're still rising.

2021 Catwalk fashions from womensweardaily.com

If you have the legs or the chutzpah, then go for it.


There are other trends of course. And world circumstances can change quickly, influencing the directions that fashion takes.

But these are some of the major trends we are starting to see, in various forms, as we farewell 2020 and look to 2021 with hope that we will have more to celebrate in the new year.

What are your thoughts about where fashion will go in 2021???

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