Although we may have been in denial for a little too long; the soldering sun of summer days have finally faded and winter is truly upon us. While I'm not one to dwell on the past, last year's cold weather season didn't provide us with much opportunity to experiment – thanks, of course, to the loungewear pandemic. So, when the winter fashion trends of 2021 started to appear on sartorial trailblazers across the globe, you can rest assured I was taking note.
After months of eagerly watching the Instagram accounts of the fashion set and the runways of the industry's most prolific designers, I began shopping – or curating, as I like to put it. Like most years, there are some winter trends that will forever last the test of time; while other, new pieces are simply too good to ignore.
From the statement-making puffer jacket, to knitwear that does the absolute most, here are the winter fashion trends to look to in 2021.
Image credit: @leiasfez; CAMILLA AND MARC pant.
While leather has remained a key staple in our winter wardrobes over the last few decades, designer's have recently become much more creative in the way they use the material. Frankly, there's much more on offer now than a simple leather jacket. Another major drawcard for adopting this winter trend is the fashion industry's shift towards faux leather. Many of our favourite designer's are using alternative materials to achieve the luxurious, buttery sheen that has always exuded a sense of luxury. This season, I have my eyes firmly set on the perfect pair of faux leather pants, (my top pick, here), and an oversized button-down shirt to satisfy both my casual and extra style preferences.
Step back in time
Image credit: @gabrielahearst; @gucci.
It's fairly telling that much of the last year's biggest trends are a homage to the past. 70s fashion is retaining its place on the sartorial roster this season, reinforcing that what comes around always comes back around. There's something deeply comforting about the warm, deep and charming hues paired with the playfulness of argyle and paisley prints. Corduroy pants, particularly of the flared kind, are still front of mind as we head into the cooler months.
The humble sweater vest
Image credit: @stephaniebroek; @samanthaaelise
When sweater vests first came back onto the scene, you would be forgiven for thinking they were just a passing trend. But almost a year on from their return, the sweater vest staying power is strong in the way of winter fashion trends for 2021. The beauty of this knitwear saviour is that you find variations of the trend that range from subtle, muted tones to vibrant knits that remind us of our beloved Harry Styles. My favourite way to wear this trend is layered – so find your crispest white shirt and favourite trench and get to styling.
Larger-than-life puffer jackets
Image credit: @prada; @pernilleteisbaek
It's no question that the hero of hype-worthy outerwear this winter season is the statement puffer jacket. Once an item of clothing that served only our practical warmth needs, the runway has given this piece a sartorial makeover – and I am entirely on board. Championed by brands from Dior to Prada, each iteration has its own unique touch; from cropped to full length silhouettes, hood vs no-hood and even unconventional zipper placement. Essential for both grocery store runs and mulled wine-filled Saturday night escapades.
Image credit: @stephaniebroek; @alyssainthecity.
In the interest of remaining weather appropriate, trade your winter mini skirts for a full-length variant this season. Elevate your staple knitwear with an elegant silk or velvet elongated silhouette. Paired with a sturdy pair of statement boots and a tonal coat to beat the winter chill; full-length skirts offer the perfect solution to office-to-date-night occasions.
Image credit: @catarinamira; @camillaandmarc
Collared knitwear might remind you of the preppy winter fashion trends of the early 2000s, but there's a reason why this staple has jumped back on our radar. Collared knitwear is the perfect solution for those moments where you want to wear a sweater or hoodie but can't. The fold-over lapel-like detail adds a level of sophistication that can elevate even the simplest of looks. We're particularly loving variations that feature ribbed or cable-knit detailing, for that extra notch of texture.
Classic is best loafers
Image credit: @josefinehj; MARA & MINE slippers.
While I certainly encourage being more adventurous with your winter footwear choices, (particularly, where a cowboy boot is concerned), this year, I'm returning to an old favourite. You simply can never go wrong with a timeless loafer. Leather, suede; enclosed, exposed. Whether you want to keep things practical with a rain-friendly flat, or are itching to take your loafer game to new heights with an understated heel. Personally, I say take one of each; as time has proven, the classic loafer never goes out of style.
Image credit: @zara; @camillaandmarc
It's true that Australian winter can be extremely unpredictable and there will be some days where the weather is a little too warm for a full coat. That's where the shacket comes into play. Sure, the name is definitely a little Gen Z heavy, but this useful wardrobe item is literally a fusion of a jacket and shirt; so it's the perfect option for those in-between days. You can find the shacket in plaid and checkered varieties for more casual days and even leather-look finishes for a more polished look. The easiest way to style this trend is over a crisp white t-shirt and an excellent pair of blue jeans.
Image credit: @newbottega; @newbottega.
Traditionally, we turn to darker hues as soon as the temperature drops. The winter fashion trends of 2021, however, suggest otherwise. While I won't be rushing to discard my hefty collection of black basics anytime soon, I'm certainly not opposed to injecting some small doses of colour into my sartorial roster. Sticking to primary colours is always a safe place to begin – proven by the success of the Bottega Veneta rainbow.
Image credit: @lucyboynton1; @ysl.
Winter fashion is all about the tactile experience – and velvet gives me all the feels. Romantic and luxurious, the popularity of this textile speaks directly to the resurgence of retro fashion.
Failsafe cowboy boots
Image credit: @khaite; @india_stibilj
If the winter commute has you slumped for a boot that is both stylish and warm, might we suggest a cowboy boot? No matter how many years go by, this silhouette returns time and time again. Sure, in different iterations, but there's a reason why it's a failsafe in my closet. For those days that are too wet for a loafer, slip these on with a trouser, jean or even a skirt (especially on date nights), and you'll immediately elevate your winter footwear game.
Knit tops with something more
Image credit: @danielleguizio; @rosie_assoulin.
A no brainer, but great knitwear is the basis of a well-rooted winter wardrobe. While it's still worth building a trusty collection of staple turtlenecks, the winter fashion trends of 2021 are steering us in a slightly more creative direction. Playing on the covetable 'cardigan and tank' combination, I'm lusting over what I can only describe as the 'complicated knit trend.' Tops intertwined with shrugs or matching cardigans are a busy girls dream. You barely have to think twice when getting ready.
Sheer is best stockings
Image credit: @christietyler; @christietyler
Previously, opting for a stocking in winter almost felt like a sign of defeat. Particularly, because the options on hand were far from chic. But as our need for practical dressing grows; it seems like many of our favourite designers and hosiery mavens are following suit. Personally, there's nothing that screams class more than a timeless black mini-skirt, sheer black pantyhose and an excellent leather pump. If you're someone who still likes to show a bit of skin in winter but wants to avoid frostbite; it's time to start embracing this winter fashion trend.
Fall to the floor coats
Image credit: @pernilleteisbaek; @mvb.
Although the puffer jacket is certainly gaining popularity, there is still ample room in our closets for traditional coating. Ride on the coattails of the fashion set as this season's coat preference is floor length. I'm the first to embrace a touch of drama, particularly when it doubles in functionality.
Image credits: @pernilleteisbaek; @monikh
There's nothing that gives me more of a pick-me-up than a fresh white outfit during the wintertime, and it seems like this trend is having a major moment this year. If you're dreaming of an escape to the Hamptons, try dressing in winter whites instead. The trick to making this colourway transeasonal is selecting the right textures. Switch your linen pants for fleecy, woollen trousers and your dad sandals for a white leather boot.