From Runway to Reality: The 7 Summer 2021 Accessory Trends to Know

Of all the fashion items there are to buy out there, accessories are what I'll always care about the most. I just love that you can wear a new bag or pair of earrings every day and probably won't get tired of it. Plus, an accessory can completely change an outfit, no matter how basic or simple it is. That might explain why the bulk of my shopping budget goes toward shoes, bags, jewelry, hats, and hair accessories. Especially for summer when you're trying to wear as few pieces as possible to handle the heat, accessories are necessary to add more personality to your look.

While designers sent many accessories down their S/S 2021 runways, there are always a few standout options that translate well into people's wardrobes. Sometimes, something may look right on a model or in a campaign but may not fit well for everyday attire, even if you do have "out-there" style. Below, I rounded up the trends that are worth giving attention to as summer continues.

Baseball Caps

Baseball caps are certainly not new, but I'm seeing them incorporated much more into stylishly curated ensembles rather than the usual athletic moment. Aside from being an excellent remedy to a bad hair day, they add personality and a casual, sporty touch to any look.

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Runway:
(Image credit: Courtesy of Celine)

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Reality:
(Image credit: @jordanrisa)

Practical Totes

While tiny bags are cute, oversize options are the epitome of summer to me. How else are you going to fit everything you need for a warm-weather adventure? And the versatility is quite impressive. There are few bags that you can feasibly take to the farmers market, to the beach, and to brunch. 

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Runway:
(Image credit: Courtesy of ACNE Studios)

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Reality:
(Image credit: @alyssainthecity)

Comfy Shoes

While slippers and slides were seen quite a bit on the runways, it seems like the fashion world took the comfy theme and decided to run with it. Brands like Crocs and Birkenstock are selling out, so it seems like people aren't ready to give up the comfort anytime soon.

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Runway:
(Image credit: Courtesy of Balenciaga)

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Reality:
(Image credit: @himichelleli)

Tinted Sunglasses

Seventies trends have been reigning all summer, and tinted sunglasses are continuing to rise in popularity. Maybe I'm biased, but they also seem to flatter every person I've seen wear them.

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Runway:
(Image credit: Courtesy of Miu Miu)

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Reality:
(Image credit: @claire_most)

Phone Accessories

When designers sent phone straps on their runways, it sent a message that even your device can be seen as an accessory. However, with the Y2K theme of the summer, it seems like the trend has shifted away from designer versions and toward DIY and beaded options.

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Runway:
(Image credit: Courtesy of Versace)

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Reality:
(Image credit: @devonleecarlson)

Over-the-Top Hats

I recently watched the episode of Friends where Rachel wears a gigantic hat Ross gifted her and, when everyone makes jokes, continues to say, "Hats are back." For summer 2021, that quote carries much relevancy.

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Runway:
(Image credit: Courtesy of Kenzo)

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Reality:
(Image credit: @lackofcoloraus)

Belly Chains

While belly chains have popped up in the collections of Chanel and Dior in the past, they were too controversial to translate to everyday wear. But this summer, I've spotted them plenty on the fashion set. 

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Runway:
(Image credit: Courtesy of Bevza)

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Reality:
(Image credit: @jen_wonders)

Next, 8 Accessory Trends You'll Want to Be Seen in Come Fall

Assistant Market Editor
Yusra Siddiqui is an editor who resides in New Jersey but bounces between the suburbs and NYC. (She's a Jersey girl at heart.) After interning at Who What Wear in 2019, she found her way to the team after graduating from LIM College in 2022 with a fashion media degree. She's also spent time writing and working for publications such as Fashionista, Coveteur, and Nylon, but she always knew that Who What Wear was where she was meant to be. When she's on the job, she's perusing runway shows, analyzing the latest thing fellow Gen Zers are up to on the internet, and sharing what she can about the modest-fashion market. You can also catch her dabbling in entertainment, talking about the costume choices of the latest Netflix series or diving deeper into how the plotline affects the viewers in a myriad of ways. Lastly, she likes to create content for Who What Wear's TikTok. Her personal time is spent doing similar but also different things—deep diving into almost every new TV show (Bridgerton, Gilmore Girls, and Stranger Things are favorites), planning her next local getaway (whenever that may be), and reading the latest Emily Henry or Sally Rooney novel in one sitting.