There are plenty of ways to gather insight on the upcoming season’s trends. Simply scroll through celebrities like Bella Hadid or Dua Lipa’s Instagram pages, check out what your favorite influencers have been posting, or see what your fellow city dwellers are sporting. But, arguably the best way is to go straight to the sources who have all the behind-the-scenes information — aka, fashion insiders — which includes merchandisers, buyers, editors-in-chief, and brand founders. For fall 2021 trends, these experts gave TZR the low-down on what to expect.
According to Heather Gramston, Head of Womenswear at Browns Fashion, the Fall/Winter 2021 collections embody a real sense of excitement and newness that the world has been craving. “We were impressed by the level of creativity from designers, given the constraints of lockdown,” she tells TZR. “Despite the impact, this may have had on brands, especially next-generation designers, we were so encouraged and moved by their resoluteness.” To that point, Harriet Hawksworth, Editor-In-Chief of Farfetch, says, “necessity is the mother of invention, and whilst the season has at times felt discombobulated in the absence of runway, there have been some truly creative offerings from designers.”
Clear some room in your closet, because you’ll want to shop for these fall styles. Ahead, experts share the 13 trends you’ll spot everywhere over the next few months.
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One outerwear trend to keep your eyes peeled for this season is cropped jackets, according to Sherri McMullen, founder and CEO of McMullen boutique in Oakland. “Cropped jackets look great with high-waisted pants or skirts and add a nice balance to the look,” she tells TZR. For this up-and-coming coat style, think “strong shoulders, puffy styles, shearling, and leather in stand-out shapes and fabrications.” The fashion expert is currently enjoying puffy jackets from Jacquemus and Khaite, textured styles from Tibi, and shearling iterations from Petar Petrov.
Going Out In Glamour
According to Hawksworth, rave, nightlife, and street style were common sources of inspiration among brands. “Designers have been reminiscing about what we’ve missed in lockdown and reveling in the idea of getting back out there,” she explains. That being said, the EIC predicts chunky heels to make a comeback and with it, a resurgence and appetite for nightlife. “Whilst we’re on the subject, sparkles, lamé, glitter, micro miniskirts, going out tops and fabulously OTT [over the top] jewels will come in strong for the party season,” the expert adds.
Adding to that, Jana Hofheimer, a buyer at Moda Operandi notes, “with reasons to wear shoes and handbags again, accessories are being amped up with neon colors and high-shine crystal details.”
Workwear Inspired Denim
If you’re headed back into the office over the next few months, here’s some good news: Tori Freedman, Director of Merchandising and Product Development at Lisa Says Gah, is seeing an uptick in workwear-inspired denim. According to the expert, this includes “details like special pockets and pop stitch, [which] feel elevated and cool.” Who says jeans for work is a no-go?
McMullen’s clients are craving color in their fall wardrobes. “I’m seeing vibrant colors in stripes, suiting and ombre dresses, especially from our favorite Christopher John Rogers,” the founder explains. Go for something as bold as a full vivid ensemble, or add pops of color to your outfits via bold accessories.
Aya Kanai, Head of Content and Creator Partnerships at Pinterest, has a knack for finding the current trends on the internet (it is her job, after all). “Working at Pinterest, I've learned so much about new aesthetics that our more than 450 million monthly active users are searching and shopping for,” she tells TZR. What’s in store for fall, according to the expert? “Some cool trends we have been seeing Pinners shopping for are "cryptidcore fashion" which is up three times year over year — think elfin vests, earth tones, mushroom prints, cardigans, hats, and twiney accessories,” Kanai explains.
Ah, another season filled with quirky sweater vests. “We saw sweater vests emerge at the end of winter last year, but with the ‘prep college’ trends [like primary color palettes, pleated skirts, and large scale plaids] happening, I am excited to see sweater vests expand into new iterations, and also see all of the fun styling moments; over maxi dresses, styled solo with a mini skirt, or layered on top of a vintage tee,” Freedman explains.
Gramston ensures that the fashion world isn’t fully stepping away from the comfortable elements that have been embraced over the past 18 months. “Instead, these elevated cozy staples are being incorporated into our day-to-day wardrobes, with ponchos at Gabriela Hearst, shearling logo slides and padded après-ski boots from Prada, Lisa Yang’s timeless cashmere, and Isa Boulder’s daring take on cut-out knits,” she explains.
“The elevation and the update to the cut-out trend — ‘untangle me’ features super-fine straps strategically placed to flatter and accentuate,” Astrid Boutrot, Women’s Buying Director at The Webster, tells TZR. “This trend is aimed for the party girl who is looking for an additional edge to her sexier evening wear.”
“In a year where no one left the house, we stopped going out and turned to the TV for our fix of glamour,” Hawksworth says. Therefore, the EIC believes shows and films such as Bridgerton, Halston, The Queen’s Gambit, Nomadland, Pretend It’s A City, and Anne Boleyn have really impacted moods and tastes, adding that “this habit is going nowhere and the networks are catching on, hence the recent launch of Netflix Shop.”
Early 2000s Style
Some might cringe at the return of bodycon dresses, but, according to Tiffany Hsu, Mytheresa Buying Director, the revival is especially elevated. “For Fall/Winter 2021, bodycon dresses with cutouts are going strong,” she explains. “It’s sexy, yet sophisticated as colors are muted and silhouettes are minimal.”
On top of that, another early 2000s style making an unexpected comeback is crop tops worn beneath oversized jackets. “The Jacquemus cropped cardigan is currently blowing up on Instagram,” Hsu notes.
Return To Office Attire
“More formal tailoring and smart options are filtering through as we return to the office,” Hawksworth explains. “Just as last season we saw most designers offering loungewear and slippers, this season, designers are thinking about how their customers will be smartening up in the coming months.” As for particular work-approved pieces, the expert says the skirt suit will be huge, best worn in a matching tweed ensemble (bonus points if it’s pastel).
On top of that, she says, “we’ll have to rethink footwear options, but won’t be ready to give up on the sneakers, so I imagine seeing a lot of very smart women with a sock and sneaker combo on the way to work to quickly switch into a heel under the desk like the old days.” For this, Hawksworth says the perfect switch would be a New Balance 991 to a Manolo Blahnik kitten mule.
If you follow trends closely, this one shouldn’t come as a huge shock. "Farmgirl style is up four times on Pinterest which is, of course, an evolution on ‘cottagecore’ which was going strong for the past few seasons,” Kanai explains.
As the harsh winter months get closer, Gramston is anticipating a new and fresh take on puffer jackets. “They were featured in almost every collection in different guises, be this silhouette, texture, fabrication,” the expert explains. Some of her particular favorites include the full-length style at Rick Owens, leather options from Khaite, and sustainable offerings from Browns’ new brand, Holzweiler.