In a typical year, we would be furiously swiping through the pages of Vogue to see what’s new at Chanel, Dior and Valentino. We’d be drooling over the looks we saw at fashion week. We’d be figuring out which trending styles we’d be wearing at next week’s cocktail party.
But, as we all know, 2020 was anything but ordinary. And in a year where we spent more time at home than out and about, we have to admit — our fashion obsession took a back seat to more pressing issues (like finding TP and hand sanitizer).
Yet there were some pretty good trends this year — and they deserve some recognition. Since we didn’t get to rock them to their full potential in 2020, we think everyone can still pull many of these off in 2021!
Here’s a recap of our favorite fashion trends from 2020.
With so many people working from home in 2020, it’s easy to see how loungewear became the most significant trend of the spring… and summer… and fall. And while we typically wouldn’t consider an entire category of clothing as a trend, we can’t ignore the fact that loungewear was THE trend of 2020 (even if we didn’t want it to be).
From t-shirts and leggings to matching street-style sweatsuits, pretty much everyone we know got in on the loungewear trend. After all, when you’re under quarantine, putting on jeans or pants with a zipper and button just doesn’t seem all that important.
Tie-dye certainly wasn’t new for 2020, but it was a significant trend (and one that we absolutely loved!) Those colorful swirls and twisted patterns were everywhere in just about every color and silhouette you could imagine. From loungewear to evening, if you wanted to wear tie-dye in 2020, it was easy to find.
Tie-dye is understandable and familiar (something that 2020 wasn’t), and it could be found in everything from midi skirts and maxi skirts to super affordable pajama sets at Amazon and other national retailers.
From Givenchy to Valentino and even Forever 21, we never got bored with tie-dye, no matter how many iterations we saw.
Like all of our brunch plans, vacations and date nights, there were some fashion trends in 2020 that were cancelled before they even got a chance to happen. One of these was the use of fresh, fun, feminine pastels.
Lilac and yellow were our favorite colors that never quite happened, but if they had, you would have seen them in everything. From feminine dresses with ruffles to structured blazers for the office, we love a good pastel in every sleeve length, silhouette and neckline.
Puffy sleeve tops weren’t just pretty; they were perfect for all those Zoom meetings (even if you paired them with leggings beneath your dining room table/desk). Puffy sleeves, lantern sleeves, balloon sleeves or blouson sleeves... No matter what you call them, they were trendy and trending all year long.
This is one trend we embraced wholeheartedly. We wore them to just about every long-distance happy hour, virtual baby shower and Zoom meeting we attended throughout every 2020 season.
We love styles like this blouse from MIHOLL and this bow top from ROMWE — in part because they’re just so pretty but also because they pair effortlessly with any bottom. Worn with jeans or skirts or skinny pants, these blouses (and others like them) can go the distance.
Teddy Fur Coats
Somewhere around August/September, we realized that our fall and winter outings would probably be on the limited side. So many of us dug deep into our closets to pull out our favorite jackets from last year: the ones made from teddy fur.
Faux fur coats and layers, like this one from Banana Republic, just made sense. They’re soft, cozy, warm and comfortable — everything 2020 was not!
Let’s be honest — we’ve all been wearing leggings for years. They’re hardly a fashion trend at this point. Somehow, chopping off the length and rocking them as bike shorts did become a 2020 thing.
Bike shorts are practical — when the weather is too hot to wear full-length pants — they’re perfect! They’re also great for working out, easy to pair with tees, tanks and hoodies and can even be dressed up (with the right blazer and heels).
And while they certainly had their moment this year, we’re hoping this trend disappears as soon as we can all get back outside in real clothes again.
It’s almost ironic to call the cardigan a trend simply because it’s a classic, staple item that we all own and love. But this year, the cardigan became a layering essential that almost everyone was rocking, in one way or another.
There was the original Khaite cashmere cardigan and bralette set that we flipped for back in the fall of 2019. That “Cardigan” song that Taylor Swift released in July practically forced us to buy at least one chunky cardi for fall. And then, perhaps most famously, there was that crochet patchwork cardigan that Harry Styles wore (and practically broke the internet).
From cropped silhouettes to oversized styles, the cardigan just worked, no matter how you wore it. And if you stocked your closet with them, don’t worry — we expect this one’s going to stick around for a while.
The Face Mask
We simply cannot talk about 2020 fashion trends and not mention THE MASK.
The face mask was everywhere — and for a good reason. But, as you might expect, the geniuses at Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton and other fashion houses found a way to make it downright stylish.
Over the months, we saw face masks with allover prints, face masks with graphic sayings and face masks covered in designer logos. We saw face mask chains pop up, and we even saw brides and bridesmaids wearing lace and sequin ones to the few summer weddings that managed to carry on.
Face masks went pretty quickly from being a functional must-have to a fashionable accessory. And if any of the trends we’ve mentioned so far will stick around in 2021, this one is at the top of the list.
Telfar Shopping Bag
Dubbed the “Bushwick Birkin,” The Telfar shopping bag somehow became the bag of the year, at least for cool artsy types in Brooklyn and a smattering of celebs who can afford a real Birkin.
Designer Telfar Clemens has impressed us with his wearable collection of “fashion for everyone” for a while now. But this year, his shopping bag became a must-have.
Available in three sizes and a slew of colors, this vegan leather shopping tote boasts a clean, modern, and genderless design — perfect for anyone and everyone (even if you don’t live in Brooklyn).
The “Bushwick Birkin” name is one given lovingly by fans who will likely never be able to afford a bag from Hermes. But the irony is that, just like a Birkin, you pretty much have to have an in to get your mitts on one. Everywhere we look, they’re sold out.
Other 2020 Fashion Trends (That We’d Like to Put Behind Us)
When the 2020 trends started to emerge in 2019, there were a few that we weren’t really loving. But, as a wrap-up of 2020, we feel the need to at least give them an honorable mention.
It seems like fringe just won’t die. It’s still out there on everything from jackets to dresses to handbags. But we’re ready to put it in our rearview.
Outside of activewear and gym clothes, the neon movement is over (or at least we hope it is).
Animal prints are almost treated as a neutral color, but we’re pretty much over leopard and cheetah. Snakeskin feels a bit more modern, so if you need some animal in your life, let it be a snake. We’re tired of leopard print blouses, cheetah print skirts and animal print handbags.
Why anyone wanted the corset to come back is a mystery in itself. They’re not comfortable. They’re not very versatile. And on most body types, they’re not very flattering.
We were never into this trend, and probably never will be.
Which 2020 Fashion Trends Will Still be Cool in 2021?
At this point in the year, we’ve usually already stocked up on our favorite pieces from our favorite resort collections. We’ve already started getting excited about the red carpet award season. We’re waiting for fashion week, and we’re chomping at the bit to see what fashion trends our favorite retailers put in their windows for spring.
But with COVID-19 still looming large across the world, the streets of New York, Paris, Milan and the other fashion capitals of the world just don’t feel or look the same. And for now, it has to be that way.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t still be fashionable or that some of the 2020 trends we didn’t get to wear won’t still be trending in 2021. They just might stick around!
For 2021, we’re saying put away the loungewear and ditch the bike shorts (unless you’re heading to the gym). 2021, even if we spend the first half of it on Zoom, it needs to be fashionable, stylish and it must be fun!
You might also like: The 10 Worst Fashion Trends of the 2010s [For Men and Women]
Our 9 Favorite Fashion Trends from 2020:
- Fresh Pastels
- Puffy Sleeves
- Teddy Fur Coats
- Bike Shorts
- The Cardigan
- The Face Mask
- Telfar Shopping Bag