Fashion trends dictate what will be in every retailer come that season, but it’s solely up to you, the consumer, to choose which trends you want to participate in. Maybe you’re eyeing that one-shoulder top all your favorite influencers are wearing or you’re saying ‘no thanks’ to adopting the string cutout look. With so many options out there, where does one start? To help you get a sense of what Summer 2021 trends people are actually shopping for, TZR spoke with Rent the Runway's Chief Merchant Officer Sarah Tam for some insights.
Rent the Runway, which launched in 2009, has changed the style e-commerce space by allowing fashion lovers to rent clothes and accessories from over 700 different brands. In the golden age of sustainable shopping, RTR has never sounded sweeter, especially if you want to test-drive a trendy item without actually purchasing it. For this season, Tam revealed that Rent the Runway customers are searching for bright, colorful pieces — a look that speaks to the overall mood of re-emergence dressing — and renting items like big sleeve tops (that make the gowns on Bridgerton look tame). For further information on what people are renting, so you can get an idea of what to wear and buy as well, read on.
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Rent the Runway Summer 2021 Trends: Shorter Hemlines
Crop tops, as well as skirts and dresses with short hemlines, have long been staples of summer fashion, and that isn’t set to change this season. Tam reveals the request for crop tops has risen expeditiously, with four times the demand for the style compared to their numbers from 2019. "We're seeing shorter hemlines emerge as a trend, way accelerated from any other season we've seen in the past," Tam tells TZR. "Midi lengths have always reigned supreme in the past few years, but now we see mini emerge as a trend. As hemlines are shortening, our tops coordinate."
Rent the Runway Summer 2021 Trends: Maximalism
After the monochromatic groufits of WFH past, it should come as no surprise that shoppers are looking for pieces that make the ultimate statement. Here enters maximalism. The trend is known for bold colors and mixing different dramatic prints together. "I think the punchier, the better," explains Tam on how to choose the best maximalist look. "Maximus, it's like so different. It's not dainty or anything like that. It's really in your face, [so think animal patterns and retro ‘70s florals]. Also, look for bigger shoulders and more volume [in pieces]."
Rent the Runway Summer 2021 Trends: Shoulder Action
The puff-sleeve trend popped up in spring 2018 and since then, the design has remained a consistent detail in tops and dresses. The look is having a revival at the moment, perhaps thanks to Netflix's regency drama Bridgerton. “This is something that we're definitely seeing kind of crop up now, and is playing in a bigger way,” says Tam. Whether it's a one-shoulder shirt that’s accentuating your top half or a puffy-sleeve dress you want to wear on date night, RTR has plenty of options available below.
Rent the Runway Summer 2021 Trends: Modern Bohemian
Unlike previous bohemian trends (think gladiator sandals and turquoise jewelry galore), modern bohemian offers a slightly different take. Tam best describes this approach as “less Birkenstock vibes and more sexier amped-up bohemian.” Look for plunging neckline details, bright patterns, cutouts, and one-shoulder styles.
Rent the Runway Summer 2021 Trends: Dainty Wedding Guest Dresses
As more vaccines roll out nationally and some coronavirus regulations are lifted, the odds of attending a summer wedding seems more likely, and renters are taking note. When choosing a dress or jumpsuit to wear to a friend or family's nuptials, RTR’s customers are seeking out citrus hues, florals patterns, and one-shoulder designs. "This is different than prior years because prior years were a little more serious," explains Tam. "[The wedding guest pieces] had darker grounds and the colors just weren't this colorful so early on.”