When the spring/summer collections for 2021 debuted last September, few of us were optimistic about having much of a chance to wear them out. At that time, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were still being felt all across the country. Many cities were under strict lockdowns, and some states imposed stay-at-home orders. Seven months later, though, 40 percent of all adults in the United States have received their first vaccine doses, lending hope to the idea that things will be taking a turn for the better very, very soon.
Leaning into this season’s spring/summer trends is a great way to embody that hope and sense of excitement. This year, the stars of the runway shows include bold patterns, enthusiastic colors, and whimsical silhouettes that perfectly reflect ideas of renewal, rejuvenation, and free-spiritedness that most of us associate with these seasons. With that in mind, here are the trends you need to be wearing this spring/summer, and how:
Oversized Boyfriend Jackets
The ‘80s continue to be an inspiration for many designers, who pushed oversized matched sets, jackets, and blazers from the era on runways for both menswear and womenswear this year. They’re a great way to play with shapes and silhouettes, and they can be extremely flattering on almost any body type with the right styling.
At most fashion shows, oversized boyfriend jackets—complete with shoulder pads and all—were used to create long line silhouettes, cinched waists, and longer legs. You can go the catwalk route and pair them with similarly loose trousers that fall all the way down to the floor, or pair your leggings with them for a more balanced look.
Bralettes or Bra Tops
It’s been a while since we last saw the trend of underwear being used as outerwear, but it is definitely back in full force. This late ‘90s staple has been reinvented for the modern era in both minimalist and flamboyant styles, made with eye-catching fabrics like satin.
To keep from looking as though you really are just stepping out in your underwear, though, choose a design that’s meant to be shown off. Keep the lace details at home and lean into solid colors, clean lines, or bold patterns. Wear them with your favorite pair of good sweatpants or go full ‘80s with an oversized blazer and trousers. Keeping cool this summer has never looked so hot.
The ‘50s and ‘60s are also making a comeback this year, most notably in the form of the headscarves that your grandmother probably used to wear. They’re one of the season’s hottest accessories, and there are so many ways to incorporate them into your daily outfits.
For example, you can use a headscarf as intended by wrapping it around your head to protect your hair from the sun. You can also tie it under your chin with a loose knot a la Grace Kelly, or go with a more hippie vibe by tying it against the back of your head. You can also use headscarves to draw attention to parts of your outfit that you want to accentuate, such as letting it hang from a belt loop or a bag strap. If you want a seasonally-appropriate look, go with oversized scarves in bright colors or ones that are emblazoned with bold patterns.
While sheltering in place last year, a lot of people took to do-it-yourself pursuits to pass the time. In addition to baking and taking care of succulents, tie-dye saw a resurgence—and designers took notice. Applied to everything from breezy cotton caftans to denim dresses, the spring and summer seasons are bound to be more colorful than ever before.
This year, it’s virtually impossible to overdo anything, as most designers combined tie-dye pieces with bright colors and more structured patterns to create visual explosions of joyfulness. If that sounds like it’s a little too much, though, you can always balance out any tie-dye piece with another clothing item in a solid, monochromatic color.
Pastels have been a springtime mainstay for as long as anyone can remember, and they’ll always be relevant when the temperature starts to rise and the surroundings start to bloom anew. This year, though, the most trending shades are ones that evoke ice cream and snow cones, not flowers and greenery. Shades of soft lavender, mint green, and other colors that are cool to the eyes dominated the runways, giving off a fresh and breezy vibe.
The best way to adopt this trend is to combine it with an ‘80s look and go for matched pantsuits in these wearable tones. Add accent pieces in solid white, such as an undershirt or strappy heels, and you’re good to go.
This year’s spring/summer fashion trends are all about celebrating after one of the most challenging years that have ever come to pass in recent memory. So don’t overthink them; just have fun!