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Bestie, I don’t want to be the one to tell you this, but it’s time to retire that neutral aesthetic you’ve been rocking since 2019. And toss that matching sweatsuit in the trash, too, while you’re at it. According to the top runway fashion trends of the season, going bold and bright is pretty much the only option—and TBH, I’m all for it.
Here’s a little pro tip from me to you: If you want to be a step ahead of the top trends, always look to next season’s biggest identifiers. No, that doesn’t mean you should be wearing wool trousers or heavy coats in spring and summer, but it does mean you can mimic next season’s top colors, patterns and silhouettes. This way, you’ll already be wearing what’s cool before your friends even realize they have to have it, too. For all they know, you’re the one that started the damn trend in the first place!
That said, I’m all about giving credit where credit is due, so let’s look to the designers actually starting this year’s top trends. After pouring over looks from Fashion Month and pulling the finest from New York, London, Paris and Milan, I’ve identified three must-try trends absolutely everyone should be rocking this season.
First up, channel your inner Monet watercolor painting and lean into pastel hues, the femme color palette fully replacing boring neutrals and too-harsh neons. If you like things a little harsh, though, don’t fret—maximalist, head-to-toe prints are all the rage, so use them as your excuse to do the most. We love being a bit extra! Last but not least, suiting is still in, but skip the basic tan or black leather blazer and add a little spice instead.
Ready to try these looks out? Read on for more info on the 2021’s top fashion trends fresh off the runway—and shop them for yourself, too.
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When neons are too bright to bear and neutrals feel too boring, pastels are the perfect creamy, dreamy hues to complement your wardrobe. Go all out in seafoam green and channel your inner Mark Fast mermaid, or take a cue from Ellery and Ninamounah and accent your pastel look with pops of darker colors like chocolate brown and cherry red.
Capella Dress in Ambrosia Garden
LoveShackFancy is all about a shabby-chic pastel aesthetic, and their best-selling Capella dress is a great way to play up multiple pastel hues instead of picking just one.
Glow-in-the-Dark Crossbody Bag in Butter
Evoke a sunny disposition courtesy of this sunshine yellow handbag by Charles & Keith, which features both a shoulder strap and shorter chain strap option.
Edina Pointelle Short Sleeve Cardigan
Green is especially in this season, so this pastel green cardi with dainty pearl buttons is the perfect pick for wearing as a top or unbuttoned over sweet sundresses.
Plenty of designers made a case for more tailored apparel in 2021, but the top looks of the season sported funky patterns, fresh materials and exciting silhouettes that give an old staple new life. Victor Li’s postcard-inspired set, Annakiki’s turquoise snakeskin explosion and C+plus’s watermelon sugar high moment are all great examples, motivating you to skip the neutral suit and go bold.
Plaid Cropped Jacket + Mini Skirt
Bennytt Blazer + Harlow Pant
If patterned suiting scares you, go for a darker colorway with a monochrome pattern, like this ultramarine leopard suit from L*Space. Pair with pastel heels and a matching bag to give the colorway a warm-weather punch.
Bubblegum Pink Double Breasted Blazer + Cropped Trouser
If you are going to wear a plain suit, do yourself a favor and go for a bold color. Hot pink has never, ever made a look anything buy good. Channel your inner Elle Woods and pop off with this longline blazer and matching cropped trousers.
Oh, you thought you could get away with one checkerboard-printed crop top? Think again. Head-to-toe maximalism is 2021’s onus now that we’re saying adieu to last year’s boring wardrobe staples, so lean in to patterns galore and a “the more, the merrier” outlook. Vivienne Westwood’s artsy corset and denim combo is the perfect inspo, as is this Claudia Li multicolored gingham suit and everything about this strappy velvet butterfly moment from Kim Shui.
Counting Sheep Set
Lisa Says Gah has become a fan-favorite online retailer for Gen Z-approved prints, and the Billie Set is a pajama pick you can just as easily style for real-life wear as you can for a slumber party with your friends.
Smell The Roses Printed Blazer + Straight Leg Trouser
This one also works for the suiting trend—we love two trends for the price of one! Plus ladies absolutely need to snatch up this patterned blazer and matching trouser set for spring and summer styling.
Orange Tie Dye Structured Corset Top + Ruched Sidi Midi Skirt
We’ve all agreed to be a bit more sparing with tie-dye this year, but a great set like this can’t be ignored. Pair this bustier-style top with the matching ruched skirt for the right contrast of fit and movement.
A version of this article appeared in September 2019.