Trends come and go, but some are more impressive than others. As the year comes to a close, we’re having a big old reflection. What did we enjoy this year? Was our life wasted in lockdown? And most importantly, what were our best and worst fits?
2021 was a year of comebacks – we went back to the club, back outdoors and (unfortunately) back to the office. Outfits rose to each occasion, seeing an overall shift back towards maximalism and dressing up, to make up for lost time. From the runways to the streets, we saw bold patterns, skin-baring and voluminous silhouettes come to the forefront. Comfort was not completely forgotten though, with many brands and designers opting to work comfort into their fabric and design choices for this year’s collections.
In all, trends were largely embraced. But that’s not to say they were all great. Balancing out the welcome blending of comfort and maximalism, we also saw some trends that should have stayed on the drawing boards. As if we hadn’t had enough of mask-wearing, Kanye entered a new era of platform boots and latex masks, which apparently were not just for Halloween. Kidcore had a major moment too, but we quickly grew tired of the resin rings that are inevitably destined for landfill. We’re taking a look at some of the best and worst trends of this year – don’t come for us.
Dominating the catwalks of this year were cut outs – evolved past the cold-shoulder cuts from the 2010s to expose different areas of the body, all to differing effect. Supriya Lele showed us how this was done with her SS22 collection, in the form of crossover bandage tops, micro crops atop tailored trousers, and centred holes set within orange ruche. This striking preoccupation with structure may have emerged from Lele’s architectural background, the designer’s original profession before turning to fashion.
Far from the high-glamour of the fashion week catwalks, we also witnessed a cultural clog renaissance. Birkenstock’s Boston Clog design skyrocketed in popularity, ending up as one of the most sought-after products of the year according to Lyst. What’s more, Crocs were back and better than ever, released in new pastel colourways and even getting the shearling treatment for a winter line. We’re not mad at it.
COLLABS (THAT ACTUALLY WORKED)
Every year we’ve seen collaborations come in thick and fast, as brands strive to get more innovative to capture their audience’s attention. While some of these fell short and read as random (ahem, Supreme x Tiffany), others actually worked in their unusuality. An example of was Palace’s link up with Stella Artois, which not only birthed a collection, but also a whole pop-up pub in Soho, complete with co-branded tinnies.
RETURN OF THE UGG
Heading up the end of the year, there’s one trend that’s becoming increasingly more popular and we couldn’t be happier: the UGG is back. While we doubt they will reach the heights they once did in, say 2013, the mini UGG has been doing the rounds on social media and has been spotted on some of the it girls of the age. Don’t call it a comeback.
Rounding out our best trends of the year is Subversive Basics. This movement, originally coined by trend forecaster Agus Panzoni on TikTok, which saw minimal wardrobe staples such as tank tops, suit trousers, and blazers updated with asymmetric cuts, slashes of exposed skin, considered layering and cut outs. Birthing a whole subgroup of micro-trends, we saw subversive basics everywhere this year, much to our delight.
PETER PAN COLLARS
Peter Pan says “never say goodbye”, but when talking about the collars, we’d have to disagree. Respectfully. Another late entry, we wish the year could have passed without the reemergence of the oversized, dainty countrycore of the peter pan collar, which are now appearing as detachable pieces just in case you wanted the option to ruin multiple outfits by adding them on. Too harsh? Some things are best left in 2015. Or 2021.
Look, we know Kanye has had a rough year. But that’s really no excuse for the latex masks that seem to be constituting his latest fashion obsession. One around Halloween was fine, but apparently the musician has really gotten attached to them, and they appear to be here to stay. If we hadn’t been jilted by the mandatory (and essential) mask-wearing of the last couple of years, maybe we’d feel differently. But unfortunately, we have, so unfortunately, we don’t.
Looping back to collabs, and while we can appreciate a good logo, sometimes it all gets a bit too much. Although both Gucciaga and Fendace made our list of the most viral fashion moments of this year, their preoccupation with logos somewhat clouded what could’ve been a much more interesting crossover of the house’s signature design practices. Hypebeasts 1 – the rest of us 0.
Rising the ranks of Lyst’s biggest trends of the year was Kidcore, seen in A$AP Rocky x ERL’s Met Gala thrifted quilt as well as the abundance of child-like accessories on and off the catwalk this year. A milder option on the ‘worst’ list, it was a hark back to the internet’s obsession with oversized resin rings in Spring that landed this trend on the list, most of which are no doubt abandoned in drawers by now.
RETURN OF THE LOW WAIST
Rounding things off on a controversial one, we actually enjoyed the ongoing Y2K revival this year, for the most part. Blumarine, Miu Miu and Acne Studios all delivered healthy doses of dynamic nostalgia, but one element, the low-waist, was less than desirable. After the pandemic, a low-waist revival this soon just felt a bit like a shock to the system – give us a few more months yet, please.