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Whenever a new year begins, a fresh crop of flash-in-the-pan trends makes their presence known on social media and it can be hard to determine which ones are worth investing in for the long haul. With April arriving, I think it’s safe to say that 2021’s top trends have been decided, so we can now splurge away. Gingham, checkerboard and more have solidified themselves as the top print trends of the year—and I have a good feeling they’re here to stay.
If I know anything for certain, it’s that minimalism is officially out of style. We want big, bright patterns and tons of color! Gone are the days when I would get by wearing a pair of neutral trousers, a basic t-shirt and a pair of white sneakers. If you’ve taken one scroll through TikTok in the past few weeks, you’d see that color (and lots of it) reigns supreme.
It’s all about prints in 2021—and I’ve got you covered when it comes to which ones you should be trying out right now, as well as the best ways to wear them. I’m talking everything from silky button-downs decked out in wild ’70s-inspired prints to a sweet-as-hell midi dress in shades of lime and black gingham.
And of course, I can’t forget the patchwork trend that makes everything in your closet look like you had a hand in DIYing it, nor the checkerboard trend that reminds me of that one summer when all I listened to was Blink-182. This year’s print trends have range, people! Options run the sartorial gamut, so I can promise that you’ll love at least one of these patterns—even if they’re all a little bit out of your comfort zone at first glance.
Read on to shop a few of the biggest pattern trends of 2021 (so far) and shop ’em all, too.
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The ’70s are back in a major way this year, proving that trends really do come around again every few decades I’m talking vibrant, graphic florals, marble-esque swirls and much more. Our tip? Lean into color for this look. You just may surprise yourself with how much you love it.
Fifi Silk Button Up Shirt
I need a silk short set in my life! This floral silk shirt and the equally-bright pair of matching shorts from Frankies Bikinis is pricey, yes, but they are both so worth it. I can’t wait to style this over a bathing suit come summer.
Flower Power iPhone Case
Give your phone a fresh look courtesy of this case from Wildflower. Not only can I guarantee that you will never lose it in your handbag again, but you’ll also look super cute while chatting on the phone, scrolling Instagram, etc.
If the last year has taught us anything about fashion, it’s that sometimes, DIY is the move. Legions of users on TikTok have taken to chopping up their closets and flipping their old items into a slew of new, fun pieces. If you lack that level of skill, don’t worry—you can still look like you’ve mastered the trend courtesy of these patchwork pieces.
Patchwork Tote Bag
This tote bag from Zara is the epitome of grandma chic. Grandmacore, if you will. Plus, the array of colors and patterns in the patches means it goes with just about everything.
Oh, so you want to look like you actually stitched your pants together by hand? I got you. These patchwork jeans from The Ragged Priest will make you look like a real sewing wiz—I won’t tell anyone you bought them this way.
Damn, The Queen’s Gambit looks really different here. Checkerboard prints are the new stripes—that’s how popular they’ve become. Trying wearing a basic black-and-white option or give something a little more colorful a try, like a neon cardigan. The options (and colorways) are nearly endless. And yes, even your old checkerboard Vans are cool again.
Checkerboard Plaid Crop Cardigan
In the market for something bold? Consider this neon check cardigan from BP. It comes in both straight sizes and extended sizing (and a graphic black-and-white version, too, if you aren’t feeling the green). We love options.
These cool sunnies from Warby Parker’s collab with Tyshawn Jones are giving me modern-day Warped Tour vibes in all the right ways. They’re totally unisex, so just about anyone snag them to add a dose of checkerboard into their wardrobe.
Get ready to dress like a ’90s-era toddler for all of 2021, because daisy-printed pieces are everywhere. Whether you like them big or small, you’ll have no trouble finding a version of this adorable little flower that you’ll want to wear day in and day out. Now you can officially channel Gen-Z’s style even if you’re a few years ahead of them age-wise.
Daisy Detail Cropped Cardigan
This year’s cardigan selection is so good, Taylor Swift literally wrote a song all about them. Case in point: this green and pink printed pick from BP. These daisies are a little larger, which gives the entire piece a playful energy.
Embroidered Icon Bucket Hat
Bucket hats are officially back this year, so why not pick one up that also comes in one of 2021’s trendiest patterns? This cream-colored pick from Urban Outfitters is covered in the sweetest little orange flowers.
You will look like the cutest picnic blanket ever in one of this spring’s gingham pieces—and I mean that in the best possible way! The sweet, retro print has been totally revolutionized for 2021 by way of a slew of fun silhouettes and bold color combinations. My rec? When in doubt, pastels are always the move.
The Tie Backflip Swimsuit
In need of a new suit this summer? Consider gingham! This one-piece from Summersalt is available in sizes up to a 22 and comes in two pastel colors, so you can choose your fave. This red and white colorway feels especially retro to me.
Gingham Midi Sundress
This green and black sundress from Collusion gives gingham a whole new life. Yes, the shape is classic, but the black and green combo is totally edgy. I would style this with a pair of combat boots to go all-out with the punk vibes.