As we prepare to leave behind the coordinating sweatsuits and soft loungewear that dominated 2020, the fashion industry is in full swing predicting 2021’s hottest trends. 

Industry executives are expecting online retailers to experience a 20% growth in online sales this year, as consumers continue to favor contactless shopping options. Sustainability and versatility are the key concerns among consumers this year, with new ways of curating your wardrobe set to gain popularity. With American women spending an average of $960 on new trends annually, let’s take a look at which styles are set to dominate in the coming months. (1)

  • Straight-leg jeans

They came for our side parts, they came for our pastel packaged skincare and now, much to the dismay of millennials everywhere, Gen Z have come for skinny jeans. Formerly a staple in many women’s wardrobes, skinny jeans have been formally pronounced “over” by Gen Z; they are being replaced by looser silhouettes, with straight-leg jeans leading the charge. (2) (3)

This year’s consumers are coveting a mid-rise denim style with a more relaxed fit through the legs. Paired with a basic tee or a structured jacket, straight-leg jeans are your new go-to. 

  • Life-proof underwear

2021 is heralding a new era of women demanding form and function align to provide comfortable, practical undergarments. No longer willing to accept that practicality can only come at the expense of style, consumers want life-proof, leak-proof panties. 

A quarter of all women experience light bladder leaks, and many women require an additional layer of protection at various points in their cycles. Reputable designers such as knix are creating on-trend designs with superior moisture wicking capabilities, keeping you dry and protected throughout the day. (4)

Leak-free underwear can typically hold between one and eight teaspoons of liquid without letting odor or moisture escape; designed for total discretion, they’re even thin enough to be undetectable under workout leggings. (4)

  • Chunky jewelry 

Whereas the previous few years have favored delicate chains and subtle colors for jewelry, 2021 is all about bold statement pieces. Chunky gold necklaces are back in a big way; mix and match with silver or rose gold tones for an impactful look. From chokers to pendants, consider wearing different length statement pieces at once to really stand out from the pack. 

Don’t limit yourself to just necklaces; bold rings, bracelets and even body chains can take any outfit up a notch. Focus on two or three statement pieces per outfit to avoid looking too cluttered. 

  • Vegan leather

Leather pieces are timeless; a well fitted moto jacket will be in season year after year. 2021 is providing a new spin on this style by incorporating more vegan options.

Vegan leather can made from any number of materials including polyurethane, recycled plastic or even cactus. Being virtually indistinguishable from traditional animal hide leather, vegan leather can be used to create clothing and accessories for consumers who are looking for more sustainable options. The fashion industry is fast embracing animal friendly materials, with designers such as Stella McCartney being committed to featuring only vegan leather in their collections. (5)

If you’d like to embrace sustainability in other areas of your life, many high-end car manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedez-Benz, Lexus and Ferrari now offer vegan leather seating options, along with Tesla. (5)

  • Dual celebration outfits

As parts of the world emerge from the restrictive social regulations of 2020, industry insiders expect clothing choices to reflect our newly reclaimed freedom. This year, expect to see people choosing multiple outfits for major celebrations such as birthdays and holidays. Nowhere is this trend more apparent than the bridal industry.

The idea of wearing two wedding dresses has been steadily gathering momentum over the last few years, and is reaching a fever pitch in 2021. Many brides are choosing a more traditional gown for the wedding ceremony, and something a little more practical or fun for the reception. Bridal jumpsuits such as the one worn by Kaley Cuoco in her 2018 wedding are also a popular option, allowing brides more freedom of movement to enjoy the celebration. (6)

  • Color pop blazers

In an act of rebellion against the earthy tonal loungewear of 2020, this year’s fashion mavens are opting for structured blazers in bright colors to jazz up an outfit. Whether you’re wearing it to brunch or the office, a pop of color in a smart blazer can make you look and feel put together and powerful. 

Jewel tones such as emerald green, sapphire blue and rich amethyst purples are likely to dominate this year’s offerings; consider pairing with a contrasting clutch for some real wow factor. 

  • Updated loafers

Popularized as a classic men’s shoe in the 1950s, loafers are a timeless classic which have become increasingly adopted by women in recent years. Originating from Norway in 1930, the modern loafer is based on a shoe called the “Aurland moccasin” created by Nils Gregoriusson Tveranger; this was later updated by the Spaulding family in New Hampshire, becoming the shoe we recognize today. (7)

2021’s loafer style is playful, incorporating elements of patent leather, tassels and chunky soles. Metal accents and even embroidery may appear on new style women’s loafers, providing a low maintenance shoe to wear for any occasion. Consider wearing a chunky loafer with a bright sock for a normcore aesthetic. 

  • Luxe sportswear

In welcome news for anyone unwilling to give up the comfort of 2020’s athleisure obsession, sportwear is here to stay. New updates you can expect to see in this year’s designs include luxe fabrics, and silhouettes more suitable for everyday wear. Flared leggings are having a moment, as are slim joggers in leather look materials; the new sportswear trends are versatile enough to be worn from the yoga mat to the boardroom. (12)

Consider pairing your workout leggings with a statement trench coat and leather ankle boots for a go-anywhere style option. 

  • No-buy wardrobes

A growing awareness of fashion related waste has led to some prominent fashionistas boycotting new clothing purchases in favor of more sustainable options; this is becoming known as the “no-buy wardrobe” movement. 

The average US adult disposes of approximately 81 pounds of clothing annually, with 85% of this ending up in landfills across the nation. Jackie King, executive director of the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles international trade association (SMART) believes that many Americans do not realize that textiles can be recycled, even if they are broken in some way. SMART represents various for-profit textile recycling firms who are attempting to reduce consumer textile waste, which increased 40% from 1999 to 2009. (10)

Sam Reed, editor at InStyle magazine publicly declared 2021 as the year of no shopping, committing to fully utilize her existing wardrobe pieces and stock up on new pieces only via sustainable sourcing, such as borrowing or recycling items. (11)

Followers of this trend aim to reduce their contributions to fashion related landfill waste by ensuring they wear every item in their wardrobe, and replace things only when they’re unable to be repaired. If you feel your wardrobe could use some new pieces but you’d like to remain sustainable, consider repurposing existing items you own, or organize a clothing swap with friends. (11)

  • Capsule wardrobes

As sustainability becomes more important to the average consumer, the concept of a capsule wardrobe is increasing in popularity. The term “capsule wardrobe” was coined by boutique owner Susie Faux in the 1970s, and started to gain traction in the 1980s thanks to designer Donna Karan. (8)

Supporters of the concept promote having a limited number of clothing items which all match each other, allowing the wearer to create many outfits with a few versatile selections. It’s recommended you have no more than 55 pieces in your capsule collection including clothes, shoes, accessories, handbags and swimwear. Rotating one or two trend-based items each season is a great way to update your look while being mindful of spending. (8)

In addition to promoting sustainable shopping habits, capsule wardrobes can have a positive effect on your soul. In a recent study where participants were asked to adhere to a strict clothing item limit for three weeks, the majority of subjects reported feeling less stressed as they chose their daily outfits. They also indicated that they felt more creative when putting clothing combinations together, and had an increased appreciation for the quality and materials of their clothing. (9)

If you’d like to start your own capsule wardrobe, here are some key versatile pieces you should consider including:

  • Straight-leg jeans
  • Black tailored pants
  • Maxi skirt
  • White t-shirt
  • White button up shirt
  • Cashmere sweater
  • Structured blazer
  • Ankle boots
  • Loafers
  • White sneakers
  • Wide brimmed hat
  • Beanie
  • Colorful scarf
  • Clutch bag
  • Work tote bag

Your capsule wardrobe should reflect your personal style. If you favor bright colors and patterns, include more of these in your selections; keep in mind that the goal is to easily mix and match separates, so complementary colors work best. 

Final thoughts

2021 is expected to be a year of fun, versatile fashion trends with a focus on sustainability. You can expect to see structured pieces in hig-quality fabrics, with playful elements such as metal accents and updated necklines. 

Whatever your personal style, consider road testing these up-and-coming trends; you may just find a new signature look.


  1. “28 Trendy Fashion Industry Statistics For A Luxurious 2021,” Source.
  2. “Skinny Jeans Are Out. According To Gen Z And Tik Tok,” Source.
  3. “These Will Be The 4 Best Jean Trends Of Spring 2021,” Source.
  4. “Period Underwear – Buy Leakproof Period Panties Online – Knix,” Source.
  5. “Vegan Leather: What Is It And Why It Belongs In Your Closet | PETA,” Source.
  6. “Kaley Cuoco Wore A Jumpsuit To Get Married To Karl Cook,” Source.
  7. “History Of The Loafer,” Source.
  8. “Capsule Wardrobe Concept-What? Why? How?” Source.
  9. “Finding Yourself In Your Wardrobe: An Exploratory Study Of Lived Experiences With A Capsule Wardrobe,” Source.
  10. “Ready-To-Waste: America’s Clothing Crisis,” Source.
  11. “Why An InStyle Editor Is Giving Up Shopping,” Source.
  12. “5 Fashion Trends To Know For 2021,” Source.