These are the hottest clothing trends of 2021

The clothing trends you need in your wardrobe for a fresh, on-trend look

collage of three catwalk images showing models modelling 2021 clothing trends
(Image credit: Future/Getty)

When it comes to dressing, most of us like to try and keep up with clothing trends where we can. You don't have to be a stylist or fashion blogger to appreciate the current looks on both the catwalk and high street.

Clothing trends come and go, so if you're looking to keep up with the latest style essentials, then we've rounded up the biggest 2021 fashion trends here. And there's a bunch of looks to choose from if you want to keep your image fresh. While some of them you can layer over your best jeans, there are others that call for dressier occasions and even looks can you can make up from your capsule wardrobe.

And most of these will tick the box for fall 2021 fashion trends too, so you can stay stylish all through the rest of the year. Fall fashion trends are also great clothing choices for anyone who's heading back out to "normal life" and wants to make a statement.

1. Neutrals

Catwalk models wearing neutral beige outfits

(Image credit: Getty)

Music to the ears of the minimalists, neutral shades are here to stay. It’s a true beige buffet, with Pantone’s Colour Institute experts reporting that the dulcet tones of Buttercream, Desert Mist, and Willow were key at New York’s Spring/Summer 2021 Fashion Week.

"These natural shades reflect our back-to-nature approach and are also unsurprisingly simple to incorporate into your wardrobe," says w&h's deputy fashion editor Jess Beech. "Use these muted colors to temper bold brights and pastels, or mix and match different brown shades for a tonal look."

WHAT TO BUY:

Trench coats: One of the neutrals fashion trend's biggest benefits is that investing in simple pieces that won't induce any buyer's regret by next season. A beige trench is a perfect cover-up for in-between days, smartening up even the most casual outfits.

Sweaters: When layering up shades, wearing darker brown tones closer to your body will create the illusion of a slimmer frame. A sleek and simple jumper that has been crafted from high-quality lambswool would be perfect.

A-line skirts: Perfectly tip-toeing the line between classic and contemporary, a faux leather fabric will give an otherwise simple skirt an edge.

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2. Great outdoors

three catwalk images showing model modelling outdoors clothing trends

(Image credit: Getty)

When Gucci collaborated with The North Face at the start of this year, it was official—getting out and about in nature is the new going out-out. Bringing fashion and functionality together, the maximalist collection is brimming with practical puffers, hike-ready backpacks, and statement walking boots

"Recreate the look for less by snuggling into a duvet coat until the mercury rises, layered over a pretty midi dress," advises Jess. "Of course, when you’re adventuring, a flimsy sole won’t do, so embrace the fashion trend for heavy, stompy boots too. They’re the perfect antidote to spring’s traditionally fussy florals and frills."

WHAT TO BUY:

Puffer coat: When an actual duvet day isn't an option, heading out in a coat akin to a sleeping bag is the next best thing. If they sport a slightly oversized fit, there's plenty of room for layering knits underneath and a water repellent outer is always a plus for keeping water out. 

Fleeces: Fleece garments have garnered an unfair reputation over the years, but nothing quite beats them for coziness. Go for a fun shade and shaped hemline to give it a modern feel and you can team with everything from your best workout leggings to dresses.

Boots: Nothing says outdoor like a pair of chunky boots. Get hold of a pair that has a good grip and possibly a waterproof feature too so that there's no need to splurge on a separate pair of boots for forest walks and muddy days. 

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3. Pajama party

three catwalk images showing model modelling pajama clothing trends

(Image credit: Getty)

After a long time spent mainly at home for many of us, the waters of what counts as indoor and outdoor clothing are well and truly muddied. And thanks to brands like Desmond & Dempsey and Sleeper, our obsession with loungewear and luxe pajamas is showing no signs of going to bed.

The good news is, there’s no reason why you can’t take your best jammies and nighties out with you when life returns to normal.

"The silky, fluid fabrics are perfectly suited to evening wear, especially when worn with heels and a blow-dry," says Jess.

An outfit you don’t need to change out of when you get home? Sign us up.

WHAT TO BUY:

Glamorous embellishment: Any decorations or embellishments will take a pajama look to the next level. Think gems, pearl buttons, foil prints and fur or feather trims.

Satin fabrics: Create a slinky silhouette with silk or satin fabrics that—when worn as a nightie— will give the appearance of a vintage nightgown. Deep shades, spaghetti straps, and even lace or soft embroidery can up the glamor of this look. Wear a slinky nightdress for an evening with a tailored blazer and heels, or for a day over a black roll-neck or long-sleeve Breton top.

Vibrant two-pieces: Make a two-piece pajama set public appropriate with bold colors and stylish prints that can give them a dressed-up look. Wear with strappy heels and your sleeves rolled up or a trench coat and some flat sandals. Just beware of closed-toe shoes otherwise you might end up with a just-rolled-out-of-bed look.

WHERE TO SHOP:

4. Sustainably sourced

three catwalk images showing model modelling sustainably sourced clothing trends

(Image credit: Getty)

We know sustainability isn’t a clothing trend. It’s a much-needed movement. But it is something that needs flagging at every opportunity. Designers took leaps in the right direction for SS21, with Marni sending models down the catwalk in patchwork coats made from offerings of seasons in the past and Stella McCartney publishing an Eco-Impact report. Taking note and considering the impact and history of the clothes you’re wearing will help you make more informed choices. 

"Instead of falling for the lure of a bargain, think about how many times you’ll wear your new purchase before you buy," advises Jess. "If it’s less than seven, it’s not worth it. Another good test is to enforce a ‘cooling-off period.’ Leave your online shopping basket overnight, and if everything in it still feels like a sensible investment in the morning, go for it. But chances are you’ll be taking at least one thing out. Timeless pieces like a good pair of jeans, a trench coat, and a crisp white shirt will never date."

WHAT TO BUY:

Recycled and biodegradable materials: Buying recycled or biodegradable materials means that there is just a little bit less going into the world's landfills. With the planet's waste building up at an unsustainable level, any decision we can make—fashion-centric and otherwise—to use a multi-use rather than single-use material can make a big difference.

Locally-made pieces: Shopping anything locally-made is already making a more planet-wise decision from the off, as it means that the product doesn't have to travel far to get to you, so the carbon footprint of your purchase will be much lower than if you were to order something from the other side of the world. Pay attention to where the brand gets their materials from too, as if they have travel far that could add to the overall footprint of your purchase.

Ethically-supplied products: Thinking about a brand's supplier can help you to make kinder fashion choices when shopping any trends. Look into where a brand gets their clothes made and what the relationships are like with the brand's factory workers. There are even some female-owned factories if you want to support those too.

Small batch releases: Clothes that are released as part of small batches are a great option to go for if you're trying to be more sustainable, as by manufacturing in small batches, brands avoid overproduction meaning they are not creating unnecessary waste. And it even reduces the chance of you bumping into someone wearing the same outfit!

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5. Extra, extra!

catwalk models wearing vibrant colourful outfits

(Image credit: Getty)

Can't remember the last time you wore color? Us neither. Luckily, the fashion industry has chosen to ignore the nation's somber mood and whipped us up a frenzy of smile-inducing pieces.

"Expect cheery colors, cheeky logos, and a plethora of touch-me textures," says Jess. "Just what we need following months spent almost exclusively in monochrome jersey and spandex. Now, we’re not suggesting you don head-to-toe sparkles for a trip to the supermarket (although we wouldn’t judge you if you did) but instead, think about adding that little bit 'extra’ to every outfit. Think of a statement top with plain black trousers or a jazzy shoe with boyfriend jeans and a t-shirt."

WHAT TO BUY:

Sequins and embellishment: Nothing says extra like a dab of embellishment on your clothing. Think sparkles, gems, sequins and brooches for a touch of wow.

Bold colors: Opting for brighter colors can instantly transform any outfit. Go for bright tops, shoes or accessories to add a pop to a monochrome look or make a real statement with all-over color.

Shimmery fabrics: Replicate the looks of the catwalk with gold, silver or chrome-like outfits that will definitely turn heads in the very best way.

WHERE TO SHOP:

6. Suit up

Suit-wear has become much more of a fashion staple these days, rather than being solely reserved for office days and formal occasions, especially as there are so many different ways to wear this edgy look. 

"The modern suit has ditched any stuffy connotations and is now as chic as ever," says w&h's deputy fashion editor Charlie Bell. "The perfect power-dressing piece, the best thing about a suit is its versatility. Team with a pussybow blouse and loafers during the week and swap for a slogan tee and box-fresh trainers at the weekend. You can even dress it up with a silky cami and barely-there heels for your Friday night look. 

"Not only that, a suit works just as well separately as it does together. Throw the blazer over a dress or wear the tailored trousers solo with fine knit. A no-regrets investment piece, you're guaranteed to get plenty of wear out of this one."

WHAT TO BUY:

Structured blazers: Throw a structured blazer onto anything to give it an instant power-dressing uplift.

Smart trousers: Smart trousers can help you dress for any occasion, whether you're looking for what to wear to a christening and style them with a loose blouse, or wear them with a cosy knit for an easy day at the office.

Shift dresses: Go classic power dressing with a smart shift dress that you can wear with court shoes and a suit jacket or dress down with loafers and a leather jacket.

Structured jumpsuits: A must-have for quick but trendy evenings out, structured jumpsuits bring speed, ease and style to power dressing.

WHERE TO SHOP: