The Fall 2021 Shopping Guide: Where to Buy the Biggest Trends of the Season

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Ready or not, fall 2021 is right around the corner. While we are fully prepared to mourn the end of summer, the trends this fall are making us excited for the sartorial changes ahead. Just recently, we finally got to see designers incorporate the joy of dressing back into their collections. There was a more-is-more mentality across the board, and if you, like many of us, lived in sweatpants and leggings over the past couple of years, this aesthetic probably feels very refreshing. From the return of the early 2000s to severely saturated shades, we can assure you there is no shortage of forward, conversational trends this season, and we’re beyond excited to share them with you. 

After studying all of the looks on the F/W 21 runways, we’ve narrowed it down to nine trends that will define the season ahead. We’ve also landed on the hero buys that are destined to be the most coveted pieces of the season, from major statement coats and layered suiting to matching knit sets and barely there dresses. Here, dive into the biggest trends for fall 2021 and every important fashion item to add to your cart.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Peter Do; Courtesy of The Row; Courtesy of Etro; Courtesy of By Malene Birger; Courtesy of Lemaire)

Every season, designers seem to have a fresh take on suiting, and it’s no different for fall 2021. This time around, the focus is on the many tailored pieces to layer together into a look. The suit remains the focal point, as always, but there are new players in the world of tailoring to wear with it. At brands such as The Row, Peter Do, and Lemaire, you’ll notice all of those layers at play with varying takes on how to style a blazer, a waistcoat, trousers, and a coat together. Oh, and another key takeaway? The emphasis on tonal tailoring with an interplay of pieces from one dominant color family.

(Image credit: Mango Double Breasted Denim Trench ($100) and Buttons Suit Waistcoat ($60); The Frankie Shop Isla Blazer ($300) and Isla Pants ($230))

So which pieces should you add to your closet to tap into this season’s fresh take on tailoring? As we mentioned, it’s all about the layers. Looser silhouettes are dominating, so that is one major consideration to note. As far as the specific pieces go, though, we’re putting our money on the vest, the relaxed suit, and the menswear-inspired coat. They’re really a mix-and-match set as far as we’re concerned, so you’ll be smart to stick to similar tones so you’re able to reinvent them with some subtle styling updates each time you wear them.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Salvatore Ferragamo; Courtesy of Coperni; Courtesy of Jacquemus; Courtesy of Thebe Magugu; Courtesy of Bottega Veneta)

Neutrals and minimalistic dressing have dominated fashion for some time now. While that isn’t exactly over, all of the saturated colors on the runways have left no question about the collective sense of optimism in the air about where fashion is headed and what we’ll be wearing. According to designers such as Jacquemus, Bottega Veneta, and Salvatore Ferragamo, that means really leaning into vibrant colors like fuchsia, grass green, and tangerine, to name a few. It’s really less about the specific color and more about committing to seriously saturated shades. 

(Image credit: Gia Borghini Heels ($377); Jacquemus La Robe Cerro ($1105); Zara Poplin Shirt ($36))

No matter what your comfort level is with saturated colors, we’re confident that you can add them into your wardrobe this fall. If you’re easing your way into brighter hues, statement shoes are an easy way to inject a fun pop of color into a look. The next level up? A bold poplin shirt, which we’d recommend wearing in this season’s oversize proportions, or a dress that takes on a rainbow of bold colors from violet to electric blue. If you’re really ready to commit, wear them head to toe for maximum impact as we saw on the runways.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Altuzarra; Courtesy of Gabriela Hearst; Courtesy of Rebecca Taylor; Courtesy of Khaite; Courtesy of Jonathan Simkhai)

Is it even fall if you don’t have a healthy assortment of new knitwear stuffed in your closet? Our answer to that question is no. While knitwear of all kinds is always welcomed and encouraged during fall and winter, this year, it is all about cable-knit pieces. We saw Altuzarra, Khaite, and Rebecca Minkoff douse models in layers and layers of cable-knits of all kinds, from matching sets to oversize sweaters. Altuzarra chose the more editorial route by pairing a cardigan, pants, and beanie together for the ultimate big-knit-energy look, while Gabriela Hearst wowed us with a stunning dress version of the knitwear trend. The point we are trying to make here is that cable-knit is trending, and it’s trending hard. All you have to do now is pick your poison. 

It’s time to talk shop. The world is your oyster as far as this cable-knit trend is concerned, but there are three items, in particular, that we are expecting to be big wins this fall—the oversize sweater, the matching set, and, of course, the sweater-vest. The oversize sweater is the most classic of the bunch and has proven year after year to be a wardrobe staple. The knit matching set comes in many forms, from matching skirts and cardigans to pants and bra tops. The sky has recently become the limit as far as these knit couples are concerned. Lastly, we have the sweater-vest, which peaked last year and has proven its shelf life is indeed quite long. So if you thought you missed your chance, you did not, because this season is about to be chock-full of the piece. 

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Gucci; Courtesy of Coperni; Courtesy of Christian Cowan; Courtesy of The Attico; Courtesy of Nensi Dojaka)

For F/W 21, many designers envisioned the "going out” renaissance we’ve all been craving and exactly what to wear for it. The looks revolve around bare skin, high heels, short hemlines, and a fresh new vision for how to get dressed up at night. Christian Cowan, Nensi Dojaka, and The Attico dressed models in everything from pieces with cutout details to crystal-adorned heels, and it’s just the inspiration we’ve been looking for to get dressed up for a fun night out.

(Image credit: Louisa Ballou Heatwave Sleeveless Minidress ($405); Khaite Roza Sweater ($1780); By Far Carlotta Sandals ($504))

While we’re not ones to limit what a going-out wardrobe looks like, we’ve zeroed in on some core items to snap up for your fashion-forward outings—including the see-through dress, the embellished shoes, and the cutouts. The "naked” dress has been in circulation for a while, but the next iteration includes statement underwear as seen at Coperni, a styling movement that fashion insiders are already adopting. Fun cutout pieces can take the form of anything from the OG "going out” top to dresses with strategically placed holes. The final piece—the embellished heels—belongs in any closet, no matter where you’re headed.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Chloé; Courtesy of Ottolinger by Shotti NYC; Courtesy of Louis Vuitton; Courtesy of Loewe; Conner Ives via ImaxTree)

This season, the joy of dressing finally returned, and one of the strongest ways we saw it reemerge was in artistic and crafty prints. From screen prints to geometric patterns to what looks like paintings atop the fabrics, this season, participating in this trend will make you look like a moving museum. Designers to note include Ottolinger for its continuation of conversation-worthy mesh printed pieces, Loewe’s sculptural silhouettes and 3D adornments, and Louis Vuitton’s assortment of mural-like prints. The past year and a half brought about a lot of dullness in terms of our wardrobes, and it’s time to shake things up. We can’t think of a better way to do that than via this artsy and loud trend. 

(Image credit: Inamorata Lilou Long Sleeve ($57); With Jéan Lovers Dress ($279); AZ Factory Pijama The Kiss Printed Silk-Twill Wide-Leg Pants ($280))

This trend may seem wild at first glance, but it’s surprisingly easy to achieve. Ease your way into it with a mesh printed top. Pair this with jeans, trousers, or a simple skirt. With little to no effort, this top will have you looking on-trend and in-the-know. If you want something a little more intense, a screen-printed dress is where it’s at. With Jéan is taking the lead in this space, but we’re seeing more and more brands churn out equally eye-catching styles. Last, we recommend printed pants. Style yours, no matter the pattern, with a white tank, big sweater, or tailored blazer. We can guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how easy your new pants are to style—trust us.

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