Not all fashion is novel. The matching set trend is one of those looks that bends and adapts to its time. If you think about almost any period in fashion, there was a two-piece set that mirrored the era's mood in the mix. For the '60s and '70s, it was all about vibrant-print tops with matching bottoms or hotpants below. Or look at the 1990s when minimalist matching tunics and slip skirts were everywhere (hello, Gwyneth Paltrow in green for Great Expectations). There is the cult classic Dionne’s plaid set in Clueless, and more practical pantsuits à la Hilary Clinton. And right now, with the world anxiously waiting to end quarantine and safely soirée, a matching set that feels party-ready and a bit sexy is the mood du jour.
Designers across the board were also feeling festive when crafting their Spring/Summer 2021 collections, it seems, embracing bold colors and creative cutouts when reimagining the classic two-piece set. For 2021, there are two ways to embrace the coordinated look: celebratory skirt and top combo, and non-fussy sweater sets. Clever cutouts, as spotted at Jacquemus, have already been marked as a top trend for the season. But, there was also no shortage of vibrant color, notably Proenza Schouler’s mint green ribbed knit matching set with the buttons left undone just enough to give it the party stamp of approval. Judging by the ruched skirts with matching bralettes at PRISCAVera and the slime green corsets and miniskirts at LaQuan Smith, one motif really rang true after viewing the season's assortment: if you need a new going-out look, make it a matching set.
Ahead, see how the Instagram crowd is styling the matching set trend right now and shop your favorite pieces to prep for the celebrations in the (hopefully) near future.
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Matching Set Trend: Mixed Textures
As if Christopher Esber’s enticing matching knit sets couldn’t be more exhilarating, a long-sleeve sheer top comes into play and poof — instant inspiration for a new layered look this season.
Matching Set Trend: Hot Pants
No longer reserved for WFH, a matching knit set featuring short shorts (AKA hot pants) is extremely fun when worn with tall boots and a swipe of lipstick. Plus, it’s like partying in pajamas.
Matching Set Trend: Pop of Purple
The fashion world’s love for lavender runs deep and what better way to express these sentiments than with a tie-front top with matching pants? Wear the look with strappy sandals and a beaded bag.
Matching Set Trend: Outside-Bound
Even if you can’t travel to an exotic location just yet, a matching set that speaks to a humid, warm environment (preferably near a body of water) feels especially right. Go for sets with splashy prints and colors and bold proportions.
Matching Set Trend: Crop n’ Cardi
A matching cardigan and crop top is the MVP of any wardrobe. It makes any outfit instantly more interesting, it’s equal parts sweet and sexy, and you can wear it with everything from blue jeans and trousers to cutoffs and skirts.
Matching Set Trend: Bold Is Better
Consider this the two-piece version of your favorite printed dress. Wear statement earrings and chunky heels to make the look feel especially celebratory.
Matching Set Trend: Pared-Down Party
You’re not left out of this trend, minimalists. Go for a sleek, simple set in a solid hue to achieve the look.
Matching Set Trend: Soft Color, Striking Silhouette
A powdery blue color is made more enticing with a tie-front cardigan detail and matching bralette, thanks to Jenny Walton’s Ply Knits collection. There are so many ways to wear this one, but left slightly undone and teamed with leather trousers, as seen above, feels especially right.