The 17 most popular fashion items of 2021

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What did we buy and wear in 2021, and what does that say about the next step in fashion? Twelve months ago, our breakdown of the most wanted items of 2020 was centered around the themes of comfort and community, starting from the Hoodies of Entireworld (TEAR) to Telfar’s bags. We were still in pre-vaccination, still #WFH, still unsure when this pandemic would “end” (in fact, that last part is still true). We could justify a cozy hoodie or some VOTE! produced before the election, but in reality we had no reason to buy anything new. In uncertain times, why shop?

How things change in a year. The best question now might be: in uncertain times, why not go shopping? We still have no idea what the future holds (not like we ever have), and everyone is adopting a YOLO attitude. Where 2020 has been marked by a sense of restraint and caution, 2021 has been hedonistic in comparison. As Google’s data year confirms, trends are everywhere, from cottage-core to ’90s grunge to raver platforms, and the same person may be looking for all three. Gen Zers try out a range of aesthetics regardless of their actual hobbies or musical tastes, all in the name of experimentation and expression.

The 17 must-have items this year are just as disparate. Sexy cardigans, utility boots, Barbie pumps, foam slippers, sheer dresses, crochet tote bags, how do you analyze it all? Maybe we shouldn’t. When the world is meaningless, dressing freely and impulsively can actually create a sense of control, if only for a moment. Scroll through the year’s most curious and wanted clothes and accessories below, and shop for the ones you haven’t bought yet.

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