The trends to see + be seen in this season
Writer: Leila Petersen | Images: Stylestalker and Getty Images
Oh hello, new season.
While it’s been a quieter year for the world of fashion, we're finally ready to turn up the volume as Spring/Summer 2021 trends are officially on our radar. With the temperature rising and the days becoming progressively longer, it's safe to say that it's time to play again.
Plus, after a year of changing from pyjamas into loungewear and then back into PJs every day, we bet you are more than ready to look ahead and see what the warmer months have in store in the style department.
And as you will soon discover, the trends that were unveiled will definitely renew your excitement for getting dressed each morning.
From cool-crafty threads - think crochet, linen, basket, natural textures, and colours - to the most hyped-up prints (artful abstracts, gingham, polka dots, and animal prints ), joy is oozing from every stitch and every seam.
Even stripes and florals - those two trusty pillars of any summer wardrobe - are back with more bite, more verve, and more tempting iterations to make you think again and look twice.
Keep reading to see our edit of the six leading Spring/Summer 2021 trends that will shape your wardrobe into a very happy place.
Part fashion, part mindfulness; dopamine dressing stems from the idea that the clothing you choose can positively impact the way you feel, bring you joy and elevate both your appearance and mood.
And after what the world has gone through, it seems perfectly natural that we are craving more exciting and optimistic fashions, bright colours, and playful prints. And this is certainly what we have seen designers embrace on the SS21 runways. From the skittles-bright gowns at Valentino to Molly Goddard’s exquisitely crafted collections, designers created collections that have allowed us all to indulge in the joy of dressing up.
Dopamine dressing also supports the colour theory - the idea that different hues and patterns can affect human behaviour. For example, cool hues are used to enhance concentration, or pale green to enhance quietness.
Even Pantone proved the power of colour when they selected not one but two independent colours to highlight how different elements come together to express a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting.
While dopamine dressing is different for everyone, yellow might not be everyone’s happy colour. There are a few sub-trends that fall under this umbrella. Think bold brights, mood-boosting prints, exaggerated silhouettes, and cute details. All these elements can lift our spirits, boost our confidence, and make us look good in an instant.
Of course, feelings about fashion are subjective. For some, wearing a darker hue could actually instill a more grounded feeling than wearing brights. And this is simply influenced by an individual's personal associations with that particular shade.
Ultimately, dopamine dressing is whatever makes you feel good. The most important thing is to have fun with it. Think of it as your sartorial rainbow after the storm.
Accessories are a great way to add interest and texture to an outfit without breaking the bank. Fun earrings, printed belts, or colourful bags. Shoes are also great place to start.
While tracksuit bottoms may have been the default for 2020, many of us are ready to dress up a bit more and relook our bottom half. And the latest trouser shape - the wide-leg - is the perfect option.
Similar to the resurgence of flared pants, designers have been favouring the wide fit, both slung low at the hips for a relaxed look and high-waisted and tailored for a more formal option.
Seen on all the major Spring/Summer 2021 runways - think Chloè, Max Mara, Gucci, Chanel and Hermès - this must-have offers an effortlessly elegant trouser shape that still feels relaxed and comfortable. From sophisticated suits with extra-wide trousers to retro-inspired wide-leg denim, this forgiving silhouette is replacing the reign of skinny jeans and other skin-tight pants.
Team with a charming blouse for an ultra-femme aesthetic or go for a more relaxed feel and pair your bottoms with a boxy option; a casual tee, crop top, or sweatshirt.
The perfect antidote to last year's less-than-exciting patterns is 2021’s “the more, the merrier” outlook on motifs.
Seen on floating maxi dresses, structured minis, and accessories, designers such as Tom Ford, Elie Saab, Valentino, Marni, and Versace did not hold back as they matched, clashed + styled the most dominating prints of the Spring '21 season.
Rainbow-bright stripes, larger-than-life blooms, swirling, psychedelic prints, checks, and gingham are just some of the major patterns that will not only guarantee all eyes on you but make for a vibrant happy wardrobe bursting with optimism.
On dresses, they take much of the guesswork out of styling. Just add a minimal pair of sandals and you have a full look. On separates, they add vibrancy to an outfit when paired with neutral pieces, and make a profound statement as matching sets and suits.
Make the look work for you by balancing large and small prints within the same outfit while paring down the accessories. Allow your outfit to do the talking.
From cancelled weddings to socially distanced dates, the pandemic might have put a new spin on how we create romantic settings. But for designers, it ignited even more passion for the dreamy, the enchanting, and the whimsical.
Turning to ruffles, frills, and sheer layers – the spring catwalks read like a romantic love story and many designers such as Zimmerman, Richard Quinn, and Cecile Bahnsen proved there is plenty of power in the pretty.
Allow feminine frills to finish off the border of your sleeves, hem, or collar, and if you are looking for extra drama opt for floor-sweeping frocks with cascading tiers.
To avoid looking too saccharine, pair your frills with tailored separates.
Another trend that dominated in the Spring/Summer presentations was cut-outs. More often spotted at the hips, at the neckline, or across the stomach, cut-outs worked their way into dresses, bodysuits, and cropped tops. This drives home the fact there are more alternative ways to flash your flesh for those growing tired of the traditional cleavage-or-legs limitation.
The beauty about this look is that it can be as subtle or as sexy as you like.
The runway collections for Spring 2021 demonstrate this with delicate slashes in dresses over at Christopher Esber or teardrop holes in tops at Chloé. Both Alexander McQueen and Chanel have their own versions of this look via halternecks or simple layering to achieve a peekaboo effect.
Meanwhile, Gabriela Hearst, Victoria Beckham, Maximilian were just some designers incorporating keyhole details into their collections, but in a chic, wearable way. Think jewel-embellished cut-outs at the waist and dramatic back decolletages.
On the (w)hole though, it's about the suggestion of skin and showing just a little bit.
Stick to neutral tones and simple fabrics, and let these eccentric cut-outs do the talking.
As the conversation around sustainability and authenticity in clothing production continues to become ever more pressing, it’s not surprising that fashion has been influenced by all things artisanal and that handmade-looking pieces have a new allure.
Paying homage to the yesteryear eras when slow living and grandma-approved techniques weren’t just seasonal trends but actual ways of life, folksy techniques like knitting, crochet, patchwork, appliqué, tie-dye and beading were seen at Chloé, Valentino,Bottega Veneta, Marni, Fendi, Christian Dior, and Alberta Ferretti.
Handpainted, handcrafted, or custom-made, the season’s collections celebrate a growing interest in upcycling and natural fibres and challenge the imagination. It's time to think of clothing as more than throwaway pleasures but quality pieces that will last, enable you to express your inner self, and that you feel you will wear again and again.
Start with one statement piece and build your outfit around it – clashing patterns can work if they share a similar palette, but a different sense of scale.