The 2021-2022 fall and winter fashion trends have already been launched into the stratosphere of popular culture, as they are every spring and fall. Fashion Week is the official start, and the styles showcased are for the following summer and winter.
As an image and personal branding stylist, I tell my clients that it’s helpful to know what’s on-trend. I say this not because you should rush out and buy whatever the fashion industry is pushing our way. Let’s face it: the styles we see walking down the runway at Fashion Week typically don’t include a single thing my clients and I would dare to wear!
But I think there is wisdom in paying attention to Fashion Week. A runway appearance signals that a more wearable and more affordable version of that…hmmm, interesting…dress will be in the stores pretty soon.
My clients, typically women (and men) over 40, don’t necessarily want to be trendy. Most of us are not interested in becoming fashionistas. But we do like to express an authentic style through our appearance. We are confident in many areas of life, but may have some aging, wardrobe, or body image issues. At the end of the day, all we really want is to feel that same confidence about how we look.
For work and business, most of us want timeless fashion that won’t change at the whim of the fashion industry. But, that said, we really don’t want to look dated.
That’s the point. That’s the reason to pay attention to annual fall and winter fashion trends.
Knowing the trends helps us people over forty integrate just enough change into our wardrobes to keep our style current and relevant. In the world of wardrobe, being current and relevant can be as simple as cleverly integrating contemporary elements with timeless styles.
The need to be perceived as current and relevant increases as we work our way up through the ranks at work. And seems to get more important as we age, especially for women — as we watch everyone around us in the workplace getting younger and younger. Currency and relevance are important for all leaders, and all people who are driven to excel at work.
Navigating this journey can benefit from knowing what’s trending in fashion and style — and what is not. This is the zone that confident people operate from.
Both at work and at play, we want to feel good in everything we wear! Wow! That may be a dream, for some — but it is not a pipedream. That, ladies, is eminently doable. You just have to learn how. Knowing the fall and winter fashion trends can help you.
Who Really Sets the Trends in Fashion?
Curious how the trends get set in the first place?
Elite fashion designers, the designers of “haute couture,” kick off the process by creating their vision for the season inspired by what’s happening in the world: socially, politically, culturally, economically. Then they create attention and a following by showcasing their designs on the celebrities we all fawn over and wish we looked like.
What we see on these celebrities — in social media, magazines, and on the runways — tells us what’s on-trend.
Fashion Week happens two times a year:
- Spring/Summer styles get released in January
- Fall/Winter styles hit the stores in August
This is great intel for those of you who are big planners or for the budget-conscious. If you are willing to buy your clothes at the end of the current season for the following year, you can save thousands of dollars.
Gambling that what you buy today will still be in style next year — because that is what you’re doing — is typically a good bet. The average consumer isn’t going to throw away an entire wardrobe and replace it the next year! So, you’ll be able to wear most of those items and appear stylish for any number of years.
On the other hand, it’s good to note that if a style you have been relying on for a while doesn’t hit the trend report, it’s likely on its way out. In this case, I recommend you save your money, for now.
Good examples are skinny jeans and leggings. Although you can still buy these items, you will no longer see them on the runway. They are clearly on their way out. Yet, too many of us have them in our closet, so you still have a few years before they are officially “out of date.” I wouldn’t invest in any more, though. Make sense?
The Fall and Winter Fashion Trends in 2021
So let’s take a look at 2021’s fall and winter fashion trends…
This year, you will see certain designs and styles applied everywhere, whether on a shoe, belt, bag, dress, skirt, jacket, or slacks.
- Black is practical, and it’s everywhere. We all have some black in our wardrobe. It can be mixed and matched with any other colors, and it is very slenderizing. My advice: get your colors done. Black isn’t for everyone. It can make some women look washed out and ashy. However, if you have black skin or hair you may likely look better in this color than your lighter complexioned friends.
- Vibrant Colors. If you love bold, saturated hues, you are in luck!
- Clashing Colors. If you’re brave and you think it’s a clash of colors – it’s in. If you consider yourself outlandish, super trendy, or dramatic, then go for it. The only problem with this look is your less hip friends and family might judge you. But, as always, if YOU love it, then who cares what the less cultured think?!
- Kermit-the-Frog Green. Seriously, this unflattering color is everywhere.
- Shades of Brown. This is a nice look for women with warm-toned skin, especially in the fall.
- Geometric prints, big and small. Prints can give you a fun, modern, creative look. If these are adjectives you would choose to describe yourself, then this look is for you. Just make sure these patterns’ brightness and boldness don’t pull attention away from your beautiful face. Try a blink test. Look in the mirror with your geometrics on. When you close and open your eyes, are you drawn to your face — or your clothes? Your face should be where the action is. In fashion, we always seek to draw attention to, not away from, your face.
- Florals. Another long-lasting trend. Floral prints are great for dramatic, classic, feminine, exotic, and creative styles. And don’t think they are just for spring and summer. You will see floral designs this fall and winter too.
- Mixed Prints. Similar to clashing colors, this look takes confidence.
- Cheetah/Leopard/Tiger/Zebra. The animal print trend has continued to gain momentum, with other patterns like zebra and tiger now taking on the spotlight.
- Anything Cozy. If it’s soft, oversized, and cuddle-worthy, it’s in. In my opinion, it’s a hard look to pull off and best left for the super tall and skinny. But, for the average woman, this look adds a lot of bulk and could look sloppy.
- Knits of all types are in style, including bags, pants, tops, dresses, and skirts.
- Leather is in, from pants to boots. If you don’t like the real thing, vegan leather is everywhere!
- Faux Fur. A kinder, more affordable fur look is in this season.
- Patchwork. Patchwork has been gracing everything from denim to dresses, and it seems as popular for fall and winter as it was in spring and summer.
- Cables. This texture, especially in knits, can be found in almost any item you are looking for.
- Sheer Layers. Layers of tulle make for a very romantic look this fall.
- Daytime Sparkle. If you are feminine and romantic and love things that shine, you will find this look everywhere. My advice-a little goes a long way. Buy lots of sparkles and wear them day or night; but consider just one or two sparkling accents per outfit.
- Sequins. You can wear sequins day or evening. If you love bling, you can wear this fun, flashy style anywhere this season.
- Cutouts are still on the runway, so know that they will be here for a while. I think these are pretty blingy!
- Logomania. If you like to show off your favorite brands, now’s the time.
- Chains. A long-lasting jewelry trend suitable for every personal style is back.
New Takes on Classic Looks
- Peasant. This easy-to-wear style is everywhere, especially in tops, dresses, and skirts. This is another throwback look for the romantic among us.
- Monochromatic Suiting. This is not new this season, but it’s still on the runways. It is a great, sophisticated look for professionals. A monochromatic look is always elongating–perfect for anyone who wants to look leaner and taller.
- Tall Boots with Mini Skirts. A very hip and modern style. Best for women who are young (or at least young at heart).
- Crisp White Shirts. A wonderful variation to a classic look, button-downs in all shapes and sizes can be found anywhere you shop this season.
- Bubble Shapes. Another fun and flirty look.
- Square Necklines. This is a feminine style and especially nice for women with square or angular-shaped faces.
- Puffed-Sleeves. This look has had a longer shelf life than many of us expected. We first saw this trend in 2018, and here we are in 2021and the supersize sleeve is still just as popular as ever.
- Cinched Waistlines. If you have a waist, belt it. It’s a great way to show off your slenderness and curves. So, if this is you, you will find it especially easy to show your waist this fall.
- Broad Shoulders. This look will take many forms — from puffy shoulders to shoulder pads in jackets. It is an especially good look for ladies with larger hips as it helps to create symmetry and balance in the silhouette. In application, this look can be either very edgy or subtly feminine.
- Fringe. Another trend that has had a long shelf life. If you like fringe, you’ll be happy that it’s still around. This is especially good for you ‘bohemian’ ladies.
- Ruffles are definitely a thing for fall. A great choice for anyone who wants a feminine, romantic personal style.
- Slow Fashion. I am a huge fan of “slow fashion” — that is to say sustainable fashion, built-to-last. I fervently hope this is more than a trend and is here to stay! Sustainable – or “slow” – fashion is now being re-adopted by many of the major players in the fashion industry. Interested in learning more? Check out this article from The New York Times.
- Outdoorsy. If you like the casual, comfortable look, you’re in luck this fall. Think hiking in the mountains, and you’ve got it nailed.
In addition to the general trends there are specific trends too:
- Dresses: The mini, midi, and maxi are all in style. You’ll find these styles in knits, slip-like dresses, and tiered or layered dresses.
- Pants: What’s especially noteworthy is the lack of skinnies and leggings on the runway. These are being replaced with the very flattering flared pants, boyfriend jeans, low and high rise waistlines, wide-legged pants, cropped pants, joggers, and the oh-so-sexy catsuit.
- Tops: Vests are popular, as is the “apres-ski” look, cropped tops, oversized cardigans, shawls, and extra-long sleeves.
- Jackets & Coats: The puffer jacket, cropped jackets, suit coats, capes, ponchos, coats in bright colors, and – again – extra long sleeves.
- Bags: The specific bag styles you’ll find among the fall and winter fashion trends this season: the hobo, half-moon shape, bags with a top handle, the slouchy clutch, and the phone bag. You’ll also get to explore bags in leather, python, or leopard prints, made of faux fur or shearling and with a yin yang symbol.
- Boots and Shoes: Here’s what trending: Boots over the knee–a very sassy look, knee-high boots worn with skirts and dresses, slouchy boots and leather chunky boots, lug-sole loafers, padded sandals, furry slippers, and shearling ankle boots.
- Glasses: There are trends for eyewear too, specifically these frames styles: clear, double brow, metal, flat top, and goggles.
- Jewelry: The specific jewelry styles are: heavy metals, pearls mixed with diamonds, bold chokers, unusual hoops, items that blur gender lines, chandelier earrings, single earrings, long chain necklaces, and statement earrings.
- Other Accessories: Also trending right now “statement” tights, face mask chains, long leather gloves, bear claw hair clips, and tie on scarves.
Tracking the Trends
Whew, that’s a lot to keep track of!
So, that’s exactly why I made an infographic to help you remember all these fall and winter fashion trends. The graphic also includes this season’s colors. You can download it here .
Knowing which fall and winter fashion trends are right for you has everything to do with you, your lifestyle, and how you choose to express yourself through your appearance. I am a fan of timeless fashion that communicates who we are and compliments our features.
So, choose wisely from among this year’s trending fashions. Picking the styles you love and that you feel look great on you is doing exactly that. You don’t have to be a slave to the fashion industry. There are always enough choices and variety to allow you to feel comfortable in what you wear and confident in how you look.
Feel free to comment below if you have any thoughts or questions about the fall/winter trends.