Seven Fall/Winter 2021 Runway Trends


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As we approach a new season, while reaching a year and a half of quarantine life, it may be more challenging than ever to decode the latest fashion trends. Sweatpants design has come leaps and bounds in terms of flattering cuts and styles, but they still won’t be making appearances at the (out-of-home) office or nights out on the town. While life is hopefully returning to normal soon, it’s understandable to feel a little lost when dressing for “normal life” again. Here are seven fall/winter 2021 runway trends that can help you adapt in the coming months.

Colours (Lime Green, Lilac, and Acid Yellow)

By the time October usually rolls around in Canada, most people have packed away the more colourful items in their wardrobes and pulled out their greys, blacks, and earth tones. Something about the colder months makes us feel like dark colours are more appropriate. But colour also has a big impact on our moods, so why not smash this cliché once and for all? Thankfully, one of the newest trends is doing just that, by featuring lime green, lilac, and acid yellow. These gorgeous and surprising shades are expected to be found on everything.

Puffer Jackets

The puffer jacket trend always seems to make a comeback in the colder months, but this year, they are returning with a vengeance! Longer styles are pushing the boundaries of the “pouf”, and many consumers are zeroing in on sustainable and humane alternatives to down feathers (not to mention, ditching fur). Designers have produced a much-needed update on puffers with more interesting cuts, patterns, and colours. It may have been difficult to feel chic wearing one before. However, in 2021, staying warm has never been so cool.

Faux Leather

As real animal fur has fallen out of favour in the fashion world, impacted by the socio-political perspective, so too is genuine leather taking a downturn. Faux (or “vegan”) leather is taking its place—with more and more versions made from sustainable materials like pineapple, mushrooms, and apples! The textile has become increasingly realistic, good quality, and environmentally friendly. Meanwhile, the edgy “leather look” never really goes out of style or season. Accessible designs are always focused on equal parts function and fashion, after all.

Sparkle and Embellishments

Rather than the “old razzle dazzle” with which we have come to associate sequins and embellishments, these sparkly trends are returning in fall/winter in a sleeker, more sophisticated way. Even all-over sequin styles seem chicer than ever before. They are also appearing on less expected pieces, such as trousers, jackets, full body dresses, and turtlenecks. We may not immediately think “classy and timeless” when it comes to sequins and embellishments, but the amazing designer interpretations for 2021 will likely change their reputation moving forward, with even the most discerning fashionistas.

Matching Sets and Knitwear

Matching sets have become an enormous trend over the last year, simultaneously serving as a comfortable work-from-home option, while taking the guesswork out of pairing separates. This fan favourite will continue into the fall and winter, even if only as an elevated weekend look once, we start returning to brick-and-mortar offices. Knitwear in general has also skyrocketed in popularity as it combines cozy with luxurious. And who says this trend can’t carry over into blouses and sweaters? Designers are homing in more on what regular people like, and if a pandemic has taught us anything in fashion, it’s that regular people like comfort.

Sweater Vests

Move over, Chandler Bing! Although even one of our favourite Friends characters couldn’t make this clothing item chic, we have good faith that the 2021 fall/winter season will do so. It may be a little unexpected, but the sweater vest is returning in a cool way because it’s actually multi-seasonal (wear alone, over a T-shirt, or over a button-down) and versatile (i.e. it can pair well with everything—from skirts and dressers to trousers and denim). With a more tailored look, updated prints, and cozy knitwear, you might rethink the sweater vest altogether: it might just become the new layer of choice.

Acid Wash Denim

Jeans are simply part of our cultural lexicon, and they have, accordingly, evolved numerous times since their birth. In the last couple of decades especially, trendy looks have ranged from skinny to flared, from distressed to ultra-polished, and from super low-rise to ultra-high. Other influences on the classic blue jeans from the 1980s have resurfaced successfully in a more updated way, but acid wash is the next (surprising) reboot. Although that decade arguably had too much going on, designers are consistently nostalgic for a reason—taking all those fashion risks is fun! The best way to wear these styles is to simply dial it down a bit, focusing on one trend at a time.

Robyn Karmazyn | Contributing Writer

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