The Autumn 2021 Accessory Report: Every It Item There Is to Know


For fashion editors, few things are more exciting than new autumn accessories. After months of swimsuits, straw totes and floppy bucket hats, we’re craving outfit "completers" that are a little more polished. (Yes, we know polished is an overused word, but it’s highly accurate in this case.) Bring on the knee-high boots, cashmere scarves, and structured handbags. Now that you’re fully aware of the A/W 21 fashion trends, it’s time to get to the specific extras that you’ll want to wear over and over at this time of the year, any year.

There are plenty of reasons to continue to be cautious out there, and things aren’t back to normal by any means. However, it’s safe to say that there’s a renewed sense of excitement to do some shopping and dress for the outside world this fall. That said, there’s no time like the present to get to know the accessory trends that everyone will be wearing in a matter of weeks (and that some fashion people already are). That’s the beauty of accessory trends—you can start wearing most of them long before you’re in need of a jumper and coat. 

For this guide, we took to Instagram to figure out which trends that populated the fall runways are actually translating to the fashion set.


(Image credit: @emilisindlev@thatgirlyusra)

Nothing says autumn (and winter) like a dose of cosy shearling. If you agree, you’re likely to be very satisfied this season, as brands have been busy creating accessories made of full shearling or a trim at the very least. We predict a lot of Instagram love to come for Bottega Veneta’s Arco Shearling Tote. While we love a bag trend that can be worn year-round and shearling may be a bit seasonally specific, it’s worth it.

Runway Inspiration: Marina Moscone


(Image credit: Courtesy of Marina Moscone)

Shop Shearling Bags


Believe it or not, Western boots are already a thing again, so prepare to dust yours off or invest in a shiny new pair. If you are in the market, you’re in luck because there are more cool versions to choose from than ever before. If you have any doubt that this trend is about to be everywhere again, just take a quick scroll through Instagram or TikTok to see what we mean.

Runway Inspiration: Isabel Marant


(Image credit: Courtesy of Isabel Marant)

Shop Western Boots


After years of mini bags that are so small they can barely hold a bottle of hand sanitiser, let’s all revel in the joy of a bag trend that’s actually functional. Large tote bags make an equally sizable impact in an Instagram post, and they were all over the A/W 21 runways. There’s no doubt that they look right at home with a pair of knee-high boots and an oversize coat. We can’t say the same for a mini bag. 

Runway Inspiration: ACNE Studios


(Image credit: Courtesy of ACNE Studios)

Shop Big Totes


Some accessory trends don’t necessarily serve a specific function, and kerchiefs fall under that category (aside from partially masking a bad hair day). They simply look cool tied around your head and add interest to your outfit. They’ve been trending among fashion people and celebrities all summer and will continue to do so into autumn. To bring them into the new season, shop for iterations in fall-friendly colours and thicker materials.

Runway Inspiration: Versace


(Image credit: Courtesy of Versace)

Shop Kerchiefs


Clogs may have started as a microtrend last winter, but they’re fully mainstream this year. Primarily in the form of chunky flats or platforms, clogs have quickly taken over almost every retailer's new-arrivals section. They’re the ideal throw-it-on-and-go shoes when you don’t want to fuss with boots, and they’ll keep your outfits looking especially forward this season.

Runway Inspiration: Sandy Liang


(Image credit: Courtesy of Sandy Liang)

Shop Clogs


If it seems like earring trends come and go particularly quickly, you’re not wrong. But that’s also the fun of this accessory. It’s fairly easy to switch up your look just by wearing a pair of trend-forward earrings. This season, it’s oversized earrings. Whether in the form of a pair of massive hoops or sparkly shoulder dusters, the bigger, the better this season.

Runway Inspiration: Off-White


(Image credit: Kristy Sparow/Getty Images)

Shop Oversized Earrings


If you live in a rainy climate, this trend is likely to be of interest to you, in boot form at least. And if you don’t, you shouldn’t skip it for that reason. Rain or shine, rubber shoes—whether boots, mules or even heels—are coming in hot for autumn 2021. Take a look at Bottega Veneta’s current shoe line-up if you’re seeking further proof.

Runway Inspiration: Bottega Veneta


(Image credit: Courtesy of Bottega Veneta)

Shop Rubber Shoes


(Image credit: @champagnemani@maria_bernad)

Long gloves (aka opera gloves) add an undoubtable air of elegance to any look, but they’re a lot more wearable than you’d think. It’s a good idea to look to Instagram and the runways for styling ideas to bring them from the 1920s to the 2020s. You can opt for a functional, cosy pair like Prada’s or a fancy pair if you’re just in it for the drama.

Runway Inspiration: Prada


(Image credit: Courtesy of Prada)

Shop Long Gloves


(Image credit: @anaasaber@alwaysjudging)

Before you keep scrolling when you see the word harnesses, hear us out. They’re far more wearable than they once were. In fact, you might even say that some of the harnesses of 2021 resemble a belt—albeit one that makes a strong statement. If you’re still thinking about the harness Timothée Chalamet wore on the Golden Globes red carpet in 2019, maybe it’s a sign that you’re finally ready to try it yourself.

Runway Inspiration: Gucci


(Image credit: Courtesy of Gucci)

Shop Harnesses

Allyson Payer
Senior Editor

Allyson is a senior editor for Who What Wear. She joined the company in 2014 as co-founder Katherine Power's executive assistant and over the years has written hundreds of stories for Who What Wear. Prior to her career in fashion, Allyson worked in the entertainment industry at companies such as Sony Pictures Television. Allyson is now based in Raleigh, North Carolina, and is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She holds a BFA in theater. Her path to fashion may not have been linear, but based on the number of fashion magazines she collected as a child and young adult, it was meant to be.