Somebody stop me! When it comes to hunting down trends, it's the little, quiet ones bubbling up underneath the surface that really pique my interest, and once I start looking, I find it hard to move onto the next task.
The big trends are plain to see right now (puffer coats, all beige, and knitted vests are strong), and they'll undoubtedly rumble on throughout 2021. Maybe they'll even go further because that's how slowly these things develop nowadays. Gone are the times when season upon season required an all-change klaxon and for closets to be pillaged and restocked lest you risk looking outdated. It's undeniably good and important that our wardrobes are not a revolving door of newness and are more a beautifully tended garden that only gets better over time. But that doesn't mean we're entirely impervious to fresh ideas. We are only human.
So with many of our minds set to already reboot for spring, it's, perhaps, no surprise that the collective fashion set is also dipping into the new year with styling ideas and combinations we've not seen before. I've also pinpointed a few recurring themes, some of which really lend themselves to buying second-hand or vintage. Reset your mind against "must-haves" and just absorb some inspiration; take an opportunity to be ahead of the looks that I think will take off in a few months' time. Keep scrolling for my edit of 2021's microtrends…
1. FLOPPY FABRIC HATS
With the idea of sunny picnic days and maybe even a holiday on the horizon, it would appear that many of us are stocking up on really optimistic pieces. The leader of the positive pack? It has to be floppy, patterned fabric hats—the amped-up younger sister to bucket hats.
2. FISHERMAN SANDALS
I've been searching for months for a pair of fisherman sandals. My love began earlier this year when I saw a pair from The Row take off, a pair which, alas, I will never be able to afford. However, they're a fairly classic style (particularly for men), and I'm really hopeful that more iterations—more affordable iterations—will be coming soon.
3. SECOND-SKIN TOPS
I noticed the inception of this trend about two years ago when I saw that Jean Paul Gaultier's original mesh tops were suddenly all over the coolest vintage retailers' online stores and expensively priced, too, so you know there's demand. Since then, this '90s look has infiltrated shops across the spectrum. You'll find affordable ones at Weekday, or you could pick up something fancy from Ganni.
4. THE "I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU'RE GOING OUT IN THAT DRESS" DRESS
Okay, okay, we're barely even leaving the house these days, but it's actually quite easy to understand the psychology behind this barely-there dress trend. After months of being cooped up in trackies, we're certain that a portion of women and men are just going to want to go all out for something 100% extra. This did the job for Liz Hurley back in 1994, and we're sure it's going to be just as attention grabbing in 2021, too.
Ricrac is the name of the wiggly embroidered trim you'll see snaking its way around Instagram thanks to these big-collared shirts from La Veste. They're easy to DIY should you be feeling crafty, but I expect that we'll see more of this detailing to come during next summer.
6. '00s CORSETS
The noughties called, and it wants it's corset tops back! I'm not sure I'm ready for this one, but Instagram does not lie: Everywhere I scroll, I see bustiers, boning, satin, and square necklines. There are more modern takes, too—for example, a knitted top that's fitted to look like a corset but with all of the comfort and stretch of a regular jumper.
7. YIN & YANG
This throwback trend just reminds us of one of the most important fashion lessons a journalist should learn by heart: Alexa Chung is always right. She's been wearing her yin/yang ring for years now, and suddenly, the motif is all over knits, shoes, and even trousers. It's not for everyone but is certainly photogenic.
8. LYCRA ALL-IN-ONES
From scuba-style long-sleeved and full-length bodysuits through to cycling short rompers, there's a movement towards a very sport-looking kind of bodycon right now. I'm not saying everyone will be down with this come summertime, but it's certainly taking our age-old leggings obsession forward a step or two.
This summer saw a veritable bouquet of '60s and '70s flowers come to life on dresses, hats, swimwear, and more. Now, the deep dive into nature has surfaced one of the cutest floral prints of all time: Daisies. They're suddenly everywhere I look. On knitwear, on shoes, plastered onto hats, jewellery… you get the idea. Well, nothing says spring quite like them!
9. SCARVES AS…
Carrie Bradshaw would be proud of this one. In addition to the low-maintenance hairstyles we've already clocked for 2021, this easy style-and-go headscarf idea is picking up steam. Yours doesn't have to be Dior, but it'd be nice, right?
But also, we're noticing scarves being repurposed as handkerchief tops again. It's a noughties trend we're actually on board with.