2020 was the year of the tracksuit and pyjamas. The year of the blouse and make-up for zoom meetings with fluffy leggings and slippers underneath the desk. The year of the greasy-hair don't care….you get it.
But with 2021 looming and vaccines on the way, will 2020 change how we dress permanently? ASOS saw the sale of over 180,000 pairs of leggings and over 760,000 tracksuits in 2020, much higher number than usual. With the office space slowly becoming obsolete and workers proving that the home office works, will there be a need for formal work wear anymore? As the world slowly tries to return to normal, will we all take the chance to dress up, or adopt the new policy of dressing down?
Designers seem to have mixed feeling about this in their 2021 spring and summer collections.
Chanel latest 'Cruise' collection portrays a semi-formal, beachy vibe, at odds with their usual tailored chic. With a seventiess flair to the silhouettes and styling, the vibrant pinks and peaches come to the fore of the colour palette, Chanel seems to be serving up a ready-to-wear collection of relaxed summery looks.
Dior calls their latest collection a 'celebration of the traditional arts of Puglia'. Designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri, her 'creations are an ode to nature and the radiant landscapes of southern Italy.' The whimsical prints, soft dappled colours and 'flamboyant motifs' take a different direction to Chanel's beachy feel and instead present slightly more peasant-style pieces, still relaxed, but with a little more structure to them. Corseted belts feature majorly, alongside densely pattered and textured clothing.
Gucci also opts for densely patterned prints, layering and clashing them in styled looks. In a nod to the seventies that just keeps coming back stronger and stronger, the colours are loud and intense, with Gucci also favouring a pink palette this season. Sling back heels and blazers are here to stay and large glasses are attempting to make their comeback as the iconic tiny glasses rocked by the likes of Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner finally take their last bow on the fashion stage.
Ted Baker, while keeping it cosy, also has vibrant, 70s style statement pieces scattered throughout it spring collection. A distinctly academic look has also begin to make its way onto the scene as we can see between this collection and Gucci's. The broad-shouldered blazers, high necked blouses and even boucle skirts are finding their way into many collections. Even Chanel's 'beachwear' looks featured their classic boucle skirt-suit.
It can be seen again in LK Bennet's line, putting a funky spin on the timeless classic, with a bright and refreshing green fabric. The twill slacks also make a comeback in line with the seventies trend and paired with a pussy bow blouse completes the look. L. K. Bennett's palette opts for pops of colour mostly, rather than the entirely bright palettes of some of the other brands, but it's clear that neutrals are on the way out.
Zara it seems, also received the memo on the skirt suit, contributing their take on it in a much more sombre colour than the other designers, but it creates a striking look all the same. The pussy bow blouse features here again, this time in a bold print in a comparatively neutral collection compared to some of the others we have seen. Zara seems to have opted for texture over a varied colour palette. The classic flared high waisted jean has been threatening its return for a year now, and perhaps 2021 will be the year it returns with its bootcut.
River Island's collection is a little more muted also, but this is probably because of the brand's street wear style. The monogram jacquard polo set is the more colourful end of things and is a striking and contemporary style, that is at odds with the seventies trend we have seen so far. This much more nineties feeling collection is heavily patterned in neutral colours and is full of leather, high-necks and puff sleeves.
Most high street brands seem to have accepted that, at least for spring 2021, lockdown chic is still in style. With soft lounge wear styles, H&M's collection is awash in soft creams, greys and muted greens. Cosy knits and matching sets come to the fore, the emphasis on comfort rather than structure. Some of their spring wear nods to the more academic style once again, featuring loafers, those high-waisted seventies slacks and sweater vests, a trend I'd hoped would stay in 2020.
Are there any trends here you can't wait to hop on? Do you see yourself dressing up or down in the future? 2021 holds a lot of uncertainty, but one thing I know for sure, is that I'll be taking every opportunity to dress up that I can!