WORDS BY ASHLEIGH GRIBBON
As fashion moves into a contemplative post-lockdown state, we consider what dressing looks like in 2021 and beyond. What relevance do seasonal trends have in defining our closets in the wake of the pandemic? And will the working-from-home staples that have shaped our closets for the past year remain pertinent? (Spoiler: you may not want to lose the sweatpants just yet.)
'It’s been a real pleasure to see people beginning to embrace their freedom and expressing a new-found happiness in the way they dress,’ says Ida Petersson, buying director at London boutique Browns Fashion. ‘We’re seeing more colors and a bit of dressing up, but with a nod in many cases to comfort.’ Here, Petersson and other industry experts — Vogue’s senior fashion and trends editor, Julia Hobbs, and FARFETCH’s senior womenswear editor, Celenie Seidel — share their take on the trends shaping post-lockdown fashion, and reveal what they’re most excited to wear now.
Comfortable silhouettes, joyfully reworked
Celebrating the joy of dressing up once more is a key footnote throughout the fall/winter 2021 collections, as designers embrace fabulousness and escapism in all its forms. ‘I’m reveling in feeling inspired again, and watching people’s personalities come out in their way of dressing day-to-day,’ says Ida Petersson. ‘We’re seeing lots of color and dressing up, with an underlying nod to comfort — both in choice of footwear and in the materials and shapes that people are wearing. Women are embracing boxy short suits and men are looking to loose satin shirts in wild prints,’ she adds.
It’s a sentiment that Vogue’s senior fashion and trends editor, Julia Hobbs, is seeing come through too: ‘I’ve seen a lot of versions of the sweatpants silhouette come in a more refined fabric. It’s keeping that comfort [shape] but working in more refined fabrics,’ she explains. ‘I think we’re going to see a lot of soft dressing — so suiting, shirting, amazing tailoring, but in a slightly softer cut. I think the idea that we’re going to want to be in something that feels incredibly restrictive at 9am is just not the one.’
A new hybrid aesthetic: anytime party pieces
'In the wake of the pandemic, pieces and finishes we've typically associated with evening or partywear have worked their way into looks that can be worn any time,’ explains FARFETCH’s senior womenswear editor, Celenie Seidel. ‘This has resulted in a new hybrid aesthetic that sees the boundaries between day and night dressing blurred — a crystal embellished top worn with denim, a puffer jacket over a slinky sequin dress.’ Hobbs agrees: ‘I’m looking forward to wearing something that’s totally inappropriate, and embracing that feeling of nothing being too much.’
'I think the result of constraints on the production side has meant that designers have had to take things back to basics, and produce collections that showcase the best version of themselves and their art,’ adds Petersson. ‘There is a nod to comfort, this is true, but we’re also seeing fun fashion. The sort of collections — whether it be a jacket, shoe, or full-blown gown — that stand the test of time, whilst evoking a feeling of fun, hope and positivity, which is exactly what we’re in need of today.’
How to wear denim now
What do we know about 2021’s denim trends? In short: fashion’s most versatile cloth is smartening up post-pandemic. Indigo is back, 90s influences prevail and cuts take their cues from classic tailoring. ‘The new season sees denim cleaning up,’ explains Seidel. ‘We’re seeing considered shapes and crisper details — think rich indigo washes, finished hems and tailored shapes — throughout many of the fall/winter 2021 collections as denim starts to transition into a new, practical daywear suit when jackets and jeans are worn as a duo.’
Future thinking: 2022 fashion trends
'Looking ahead, I think people will push their own limits where fashion choices are concerned by trying things they've never previously considered, becoming a bit more chameleonic in their approach to dressing,’ says Seidel. ‘There’s also an increasing interest in pre-owned which is set to continue, with individuals finding their own way of mixing pre-loved pieces with new styles. This idea ties into a strong focus on personal style that will transcend trends — it will be a time of celebrating individuality, where nothing is off limits,’ she adds.
'I hope that collectively we just really enjoy what’s coming next,’ adds Hobbs. ‘Ultimately, clothes are our chosen skin and we communicate so much through [what we wear] — it’s an expression of the joy that we bring other people. It’s a shared identity and character in that way. There’s always this idea that what came before was more hedonistic, more fun, more flamboyant, and suddenly now we have this kind of clean slate — when we sink our teeth into what could be the roaring 20s. It could be amazing!’