Getting your fashion crystal ball out for fall


COVID-19 and the move toward WFH (working from home) for most workers will be driving fashion trends heading forward in 2021.

Baroque-Renaissance touches along with exaggerated shoulders, as seen in this dress from Claudia Li’s fall-winter 2021 collection is on trend for the cooler weather.

Amirya Perkins, the director of Mindset at WGSN, which follows trends for the fashion industry, offered her take of what’s trending heading into the autumn/ winter 2021 season.

In a webinar directed at retailers, Perkins noted, that 2020 was a “tumultuous year… It led to tremendous uncertainty.”

In response, Perkins said, consumers are looking for something that will “brighten their day.”

Perkins dubbed the approach to fashion in the fall, “Unmasked Expression.”

“We have been masked and behind screens,” said Perkins. Thus, there has not been much desire to get dressed every day.

But as the pandemic lingers, Perkins noted women miss the opportunity to use fashion as a means of self-expression. That will help drive sales as women look for styles that are appealing “above the keyboard.” Women will be looking for fashions that are creative and unique, said Perkins.

For women’s autumn and winter styles, Perkins said, “We’re looking at a balance of sweet and street.” More importantly, clothing will offer women “new outlets of self-expression” as they work with their colleagues via Zoom.

Women will be looking for clothing that offers a vintage touch, such as this dress from Cinq A Sept’s fall winter 2021 collection.

Perkins mapped out some of the big ideas that will drive women’s fashion in 2021.

“Vintage futurism” is one key idea for the fall and winter, noted by Perkins. It is partially a nod to sustainable fashion and the resale economy, said Perkins. Customers also are looking to add elements of a thrift shops or a vintage shop to their closet.

Vintage futurism means the clothing will reshape vintage looks by incorporating exaggerated details, collars and shoulders, said Perkins.

Perkins said these women are seeking to look good “above the keyboard.”

Another key idea driving fashion later this year was dubbed “New Traditionalist” by Perkins.

Even though these women are working from home, Perkins said, “They want to put effort into what they wear.”

The New Traditionalist might not wear something as stiff as a tailored suit while she works from home, Perkins said. But these women still are looking for garments with a “refined palette.” They are stepping away from pull on trousers with elastics.

With everyone working from home, looking good above the keyboard will be a key trend. This dress from Snow-Xue-Gao offers interesting details on the top for those Zoom meetings.

Perkins also noted women are becoming “Knit-timate leisurists” in 2021. She said these women are looking for more knit-inspired pieces that are comfortable and easy to pull-on.

As more and more people take to the great outdoors where they feel safe from COVID-19, Perkins said the “Tech-Utilitarian” look also is proving to be popular. Garments under this umbrella typically offer a protective element, such as weather proofing.

The “Neo-Classical Romantic” is another approach that is taking hold during the pandemic, said Perkins. Garments here will offer baroque and Renaissance touches that will look good above the keyboard. These items often offer exaggerated details.

Another key idea cited by Perkins is the “Imperfect Crafter.” These garments offer a DIY feel, featuring embroidery with more artisanal and unique details.

Key pieces to add to your wardrobe for the fall, said Perkins, are a quilted coat, a draped dress, a nu-historic dress, an exaggerated collar blouse, knitted vest, tailored pull-on trousers, gathered soft top bag, wide shaft boots, streamlined Chelsea boot and an outdoor active sneaker.

Key trends for retailers, and trends that consumers should be aware of, said Perkins, are: comfort will drive emotion; above keyboard dressing is necessary; women will be pursuing the connection between creativity and lifestyle; and high-low styling (mixing an expensive piece with a more affordable piece) is a versatile approach to fashion.