After spending the last year at home, most of us are looking for an excuse to get out of the house — and show off our wardrobes. Now that we're maneuvering our way out of daytime pajamas and into acceptable streetwear, we can't help but dive head-first into summer 2021's biggest trends.
True to the art of fashion, this year's most notable trends are influenced by life at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Comfort is still a priority, indicated by airy fabrics, baggy cuts and the beginning of the end of the bra. But there are also nods to the fashion of years past, as puffy sleeves and mini skirts have taken over Instagram — and yes, bucket hats are back in. Nostalgia, anyone?
However, perhaps one of the most remarkable changes in fashion we've seen this season is the adoption of upcycling. Designers have used their platforms to speak on hot-button issues for years — and this summer, upcycling is without a doubt the most influential trend of summer 2021. Between thrift stores and online boutiques, scoring vintage finds is all the rage.
All of these elements add up to one unapologetically playful, skin-baring, fashion-forward summer. From casual days lying on the beach to sidewalk brunches and nights in the city, this list of summer fashion trends will lead the way in creating the perfect look for wherever your summer adventures take you.
1. Minimalist Monochrome
In a world full of color and complexity, black and white monochromatic styles deliver structure and intrigue. The end of winter ushered in vibrant red and pink hues, which gradually transitioned into darker tones of brown and camel until we finally settled into the seemingly simplistic pairing of black and white.
Designers openly favor this classic but tenacious monochromatic theme. From the runways and virtual showings of Dolce & Gabbana, Saint Laurent and Maison Mariela came the crisp elegance that's always expected from black and white styles. However, the small details of the designs also hint at the relaxed lifestyle we can't — and don't want to — shake. No matter how you style them, black and white are here to stay.
2. Bralettes and Cropped Blouses
When summer arrives, it's time to tuck those bulky jackets, sweaters and coats in the closet in favor of tops and bottoms that keep us cool. In fact, tiny bralettes and cropped shirts are key fashion trends to keep an eye on. A nod to the women of pop who made them infamous the first time around — hello Madonna, Selena and J-Lo — it takes a woman of confidence and candor to step out without a blouse.
From Dior to Versace to Givenchy, you'll have your pick of the crop from every style and material imaginable. Whether you prefer a minimalistic balconette or flirty rhinestones, there's a crop and bralette for every occasion. This trend is easily elevated with a breathable blazer or puffy sleeves.
3. Maxi Dresses
The floor-sweeping, flowy silhouettes of the maxi dress are a romantic, feminine solution to blistering summer days. Taking form in sheer, silky and solid fabrics, this year's maxi dresses work well as a standalone piece. That said, they also pair well with other design elements and color trends of the summer.
With backless cutouts, midriff flossing and a gorgeous Javits summer hat, you'll make a statement whether you're sunbathing on a yacht or sipping cocktails on a patio.
4. Wide-Leg Trousers
The 80s have made a comeback in the form of cinched waist trousers and wide-leg pants. Paired with a vintage graphic t-shirt a la Louis Vuitton or a bralette via Chanel, the relaxed shape has an effortless range from grungy tomboy to poised femininity. For more styling inspiration, look no further than Stella McCartney or Bottega Veneta's trouser-blazer duo. While straight legs and skinny jeans will always have a place in our closets and hearts, this summer is for wide strides.
5. The Slip Dress
In true underwear-as-outerwear fashion, the bralette can't be named as the centerpiece for this year's summer trends. That title belongs to the beloved 90s design made famous by the likes of Dior in the form of Diana, the Princess of Wales, and Kate Moss in an iconic Liza Bruce.
It's dramatic. It's elegant. It's the slip dress.
The slip dress is recognizable for its spaghetti straps and application of sheer and lace elements. Its thin material and perm-trend standing solidify its status as a summer must-have. For depth and versatility, top your satin, chiffon or charmeuse slip dress with other current trends like netting or sheer layers.
6. Puffed Sleeves
Larger-than-life puffed and balloon sleeves have once again found their place on the runway. The spring/summer collections featured tops, dresses and coats with soft and voluminous statement-making shoulders. Whether you're flaunting bare legs in shorts from Jacquemus or catching eyes in high-waisted trousers by way of Isabel Marant, puffed sleeves don't just fit in — they create a moment.
7. White Dresses
The LBD has met its match with the LWD. There's no denying that white dresses are undeniable summer classics. This classic hue always looks refined and effortless, and no matter how high the temperatures get, white dresses keep you stylish and cool. For a dreamy whimsical look, you can't go wrong with a midi-length skirt with puffed peasant sleeves. If you dare to be different, an oversize midi shirt dress offers edge with ease.
Perhaps the best part of owning a simple white cotton dress is that it's easy to accessorize. A basic sandal, embellished straw beach bag or gondolier boater hat perfectly complements the simple aesthetic of a white cotton gown.
The world simply isn't ready to say goodbye to the comfort of sweatpants and t-shirts. The solution is athleisure fused with tailored blazers and denim to make for an unexpected yet fitting reflection of the current millennial and Gen Z cultures. Designers like Hedi Slimane at Celine combine luxury fashion with a casual wardrobe of baseball caps, baggy jeans and sports bras. Recreate the look with joggers and a leather jacket, a sports bra with jeans, a blazer, and of course, a baseball hat.
If summer fashion trends in 2021 had a theme, it'd be "exposed skin" — in any shape or form. Apart from the obvious summer staples of shorts and spaghetti straps, this year's trends take it a step further with off-the-shoulder blouses, upgraded tube tops and cutouts. Temperate looks transform into sultry styles with the delicate placement of cutouts, creating an eye-catching aesthetic.
Givenchy, Fendi, Roksanda and Salvatore Ferragamo are just a few of the designers that featured cutouts for this year's collections. Whether you prefer discreet peekaboo tears or sharp revealing cuts, there's no better way to beat the heat or create a simulating ensemble.
10. Boyfriend Jeans
Every woman deserves to own a pair of jeans that makes them feel confident and unstoppable. Unfortunately, the challenge of finding a pair that's comfortable and fits well in all the right places is universal. That's where boyfriend jeans come in. A throwback to the 90s grunge era brings today's women jeans that check all the boxes. Casual, baggy pants are what made the last year bearable — and they're here to stay going into the fall and winter.
11. Oversized Overshirt
Is it a jacket, a sweater or a shirt? It doesn't matter how you wear it, the oversized button-down overshirt is an underrated styling element. A large button-down is versatile in every way. Wear it untucked and loose, buttoned or layered with another shirt underneath to create a laid-back but put-together outfit. For a well-placed curtain reveal, skip the last few buttons and let the bottom hems flare out.
Pastels provide a refreshing, bright and calming palette for this year's fashion color trends. The sorbet tones of buttery yellow, mint green and lavender add a degree of playfulness and tranquility that emulates all the warm feelings that summer brings.
When combined with an off-the-shoulder blouse and mini skirt set, you achieve an elevated yet simple outfit — but don't be fooled. These easy-on-the-eye hues also work perfectly in a gorgeous floor-sweeping gown, shown by the likes of Fendi, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana.
Skinny straps always add allure regardless of the garment. One of the season's more noteworthy trends is midriff flossing. Although usually found in workout gear, slinky crisscrossing straps are a unique way to bare your flesh even in the most sophisticated settings. From swimwear to maxi dresses, flossing has emerged as the newest and unexpected fad to hit the industry. It's essentially wrapping two or more strings of fabric around your body so they cross over your midsection.
The embellishment has been seen on Zendaya, Bella Hadid, Kim Kardashian and dozens of models and Instagram influencers alike. It's hard to tell if this one is going to stick past the summer, but it's sure to be a seasonal highlight as long as Victoria Beckham, Acne and Versace have anything to say about it.
14. Sheer Fabrics
Sheer blouses are daring and modern any day of the week. Designers have taken your typical lace or see-through blouse and upgraded it to floor-sweeping, colorful, glamorous gowns — romantic and soft see-through silhouettes graced the Dior, Michael Kors and Valentino catwalks this year. Reminiscent of the 70s, Alberta Ferreti debuted an unforgettable yellow semi-sheer silk perfect for the beach.
You can layer the de rigueur style over your bathing suit or silk dress, or as the final touch to mesh pants. When it comes to street fashion negligee, the sheer "naked dress" and a slip dress go hand-in-hand. For style inspiration, look to Lizzo, Dua Lipa, the Kardashian clan and H.E.R.
The shockingly short, barely-there mini skirt has had a major comeback. Made a wardrobe necessity by Mary Quant in the 60s and 70s, the abbreviated hemline shows more skin than a pair of daisy dukes. The last time these hemlines were seen was in the early 2000s, when they were often paired with knee-high boots, leather coin-link belts and even over a pair of trousers.
The sky-high skirt was revived by trendsetters like Miu Miu, Peter Do, LaQuan Smith, Attico, Giambattista Valli and others. While you most likely won't see the denim mini, there are plenty of diverse prints and fabrics to pair with your bralettes and puffed sleeves.
16. Glitter and Metallic
All that glitters first shines on the runway. Make your entrance into this summer unforgettable with glistening metallics. Sequins and sparkles haven't been on the industry's radar for years, so their appearances on runways from Paco Rabanne and Louis Vuitton was an unpredictable but diverting surprise. Even those who aren't fans of attention-grabbing disco fabrics will appreciate the relaxed brilliance designers have curated.
The application of shiny fabrics and materials was seen in such a variety that each designer somehow drew inspiration in a different way. Louis Vuitton showed out with a shimmering silver suit. Saint Laurent fused trends with sequins on minidresses and a dark brown, long-sleeved collared dress.
Whether you love statement jumpsuits, thigh-slit gowns or a simple gilded skirt and a t-shirt, there's a disco-inspired piece out there for everyone.
In a wave of self-acceptance and body pride, figure-hugging and skin-baring styles are the epitome of our current culture. Corsets are body-sculpting garments that instantly give any figure the ever-elusive hourglass shape.
It isn't clear whether designers were inspired by Netflix's binge-worthy show "Bridgerton"or if the revival of the attitude-packed bodice was already in the works. Whatever the case, corsets are the exact opposite of almost every other trend this summer.
In an undeniable call for the end of bras, the corset is a larger ancestor of the modern-day bra — and the corsets on display this summer are stunning. Most notably, Moschino's pink and tan corset, Christopher John Rogers' blue zip up and Alexander McQueen's dreamy pink dress are the ones to beat. Even if you've already exchanged your underwires for comfortable bralettes, you might want to take the plunge in buying this classic statement piece.
18. Matching Sets
If you prefer a style that's more coordinated than the average athleisure look, you'll love matching sets.
What's unique about this trend is social media took hold of it first. It's not always easy to tell who or what influences a trend before it becomes popular, but social media influencers have been posting pictures and links to matching sets since the beginning of the pandemic — and even before that. Regardless if you believe the resurgence was due to the masses or leading designers, one fact remains — matching sets are in.
Since their debut in the 70s, matching sets have had their fair share of the spotlight in fashion history. Some of the most iconic and unmistakable ensembles in cinema are Cher and Dionne's plaid sets from "Clueless." Matching sets reign in as the most effortless and polished outfits because they're already complete. This ease of wear means saving precious minutes getting ready in the morning while still looking like you just stepped off the catwalk.
19. Cherry Prints
Neutrals have gone out the window, at least for now. This summer is about bright colors and bold patterns. Whether the cherry print trend was started before or after the viral Lirika Matoshi strawberry dress is unknown. What's obvious is that whether you love it or could do without it, cherry prints and other whimsical maximalist patterns are part of this summer's fashion trends. However, it's not the first time fruit-inspired clothing has caught everyone's eyes.
In 2004, banana prints were an inspiration for a collection by Chloe. Dolce and Gabbana reflected Italy's colorful, small-town street markets in prints featuring zucchinis, tomatoes and eggplants. Most recently, 2017 was all about pineapples with Gucci leading the way. This year, cherries are the fruit of the season. Who knows what fruit will be trending in 2022? One thing's for sure — fruit prints are refreshing, quaint and remind you of picnicking in a luscious field on a summer day.
20. Elevated Hats and Accessories
Finally, we've arrived at the special ingredient that brings an outfit together — the accessories.
In this list of fashion accessory trends, there are several noteworthy styles proven to be seasonal staples.
The Bucket Hat
Bucket hats were so common on this season's runways that they solidified their status as "The Hat" to wear. The surge of signature 90s looks made the bucket hat's comeback inevitable, and what transforms this accessory from a relic to a modern statement piece is the quality of materials and fashionable colors and prints.
This plaid bucket rain hat combines subdued classic colors in a water-repellent, light-weight design. Plus, it's unequivocally durable, so you can wear it on the busy streets of New York City and store it in your suitcase for your Caribbean vacation. Do you love to stand out? You'll draw attention via the striking colors of the Mariana bucket hat, made with partially recycled plastic so you can contribute to sustainable fashion.
The Beach Hat
It comes in many forms, but the beach hat is always identifiable by its wide brim and round crown. The challenge comes in choosing between the endless sizes and patterns. A striped beach hat is a classic and sophisticated waterside accessory, as the giant but graceful brim evokes a smile by the wearer and passersby.
If you see yourself as a trendsetter, you'll instantly recognize what makes a giant shell beach hat a must-have statement piece. Inspired by the natural elements of a genuine seashell, the meticulously placed undulating weaving will be unlike any other look you see this season.
The Boater Hat
Inspired by the gondoliers of Italy, the boater hat is a romantic summer classic to add to any summer wardrobe. Pairing the straight wide-brim cap with light colors, striped shirts and breezy dresses will have you ready for a stress-free summer in the Hamptons.
The Baseball Cap
No athleisure ensemble is complete without a baseball hat. It doesn't just tie the look together — it shades your face from the sun, flatters every face shape and is the perfect accessory to complete that casual, laid-back look. Dark neutral tones, like navy, black and otter brown, guarantee you can wear your cap with any leisure outfit and look effortlessly amazing.
Opting for the Squishee straw cap instead of the conventional polyester material used for baseball caps helps elevate your casual outfit to polished and put together, even if you rushed to get dressed at the last minute. The baseball hat is a year-round staple that will look just as good long after summer has ended.
Whether you're spending your days wandering through cobblestone streets, making your mark on the city or enjoying a relaxing summer at home, there's a seasonal bag for any and every occasion. For those who dare to be different, the Lil' Mambo is a colorful and functional straw handbag. Whimsical beachgoers will love this detailed starfish Copacabana bag, ornate with Swarovski crystals.
No beach day is complete without a stylish, waterproof beach bag. How else are you supposed to carry your towels, blankets, waterside read and sunscreen? Instead of a standard straw bag, opt for styles with standout features, like the giant bow on the Antoinette straw bag or the color-blocking seen on the Sinclair tote.
Straw beach bags are a summer staple, just like linen cover-ups and sandals — and like any other summer classic, they remain timelessly stylish year after year.
The Brunch Bag
When you're sipping mimosas and enjoying eggs benedict with the girls, a subtle but undeniably gorgeous brunch bag is a must-have accessory. A straw bag with metal accents, like the Lil Dagger, instantly draws the eyes without taking too much attention away from your casually chic outfit.
Planning to hit the shops after brunch? Large totes like the My Way will keep your credit card accessible while keeping your newest purchase secure. The extra compartments are the perfect size for your wallet, phone or water bottle, so your most important items are always within reach while remaining out of sight.
Stay On-Trend With Eric Javits
In a span of three decades, Eric Javits has made revolutionary enhancements in the women's headwear market time and time again. Using the most superior materials and exceptional designs, Eric Javits hats and bags are the only accessories to feature the patented Squishee material that has proven durability and style.
Eric Javits designs are made with you in mind — your skin's protection against the sun's rays and the integrity of your ensemble. Even in the most cramped spaces, Eric Javits hats can be folded and bent while still maintaining their structure when unraveled, making it simple to travel in style. Guaranteed to hold its shape for years to come with zero fraying or breaking, an Eric Javits hat is truly unlike any other.