10 Fashion, Beauty and Style Changes to Expect in 2021

A woman tosses a piece of clothing while sorting through clothes in bedroom

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8. Living with less stuff

The consumer gallop has turned into a slow walk. What were we doing with all those beauty products, trendy clothes, designer knockoffs and high heels? During lockdown most of us did a closet cleanup. It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to try on, take stock, and reset and rethink our past, present and future. Anything that was too small, too flashy, too uncomfortable, too dated, too baggy, shapeless or boxy got tossed in the outgoing pile. We trashed old makeup, skin-care jars and tubes past their due date, leftover shampoos and perfumes from who knows when. And when we were done, we either breathed a congratulatory sigh of relief and resisted undoing the trash bags or felt cleansed by the purge and wondered why we had waited so long. We found out this year we can happily live with a lot less stuff.

9. Feeling the urge to not splurge 

Gucci! Louis Vuitton! Prada! We used to covet logos — the more the merrier. Designer clothes and flashy brands were status symbols that assured those around us (and maybe us, too) that we were knowing, successful and chic as hell. Well, not anymore. There’s a kind of reverse snobbism going on in 2021 with sports brands like Nike, Lululemon and Fabletics and low-cost no-name “finds” stealing the show. We’re all being a lot more thoughtful before hitting “add to cart.” The focus has shifted to paying rent or mortgages, cooking, home goods and accumulating our savings from high-price clothes and accessories. I think most women agree that buying $700 sneakers, $600 sunglasses and a $2,000 bag is pretty ridiculous. Fashion fans who still want big-label designer duds are better off buying them on a consignment resale site; you’ll be helping the planet and saving your AmEx bill.

10. Sporting comfort shoes for all

Let’s be realistic. Our dress shoes — the ones we wore for work, parties and evenings — have not been out of the closet for a year. Even our low- or chunky-heel pumps and boots and ballet flats with hard leather soles have been snoozing. Miss them? Our bunions, hammertoes, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis and corns sure don’t! 2020 was definitely a year for sneakers, clogs, chunky lug soles, shearling-lined booties and slippers, as comfy became the new cool. Now as we slowly creep toward a public lifestyle, don’t ever expect a surge back to high heels.  

My final word: While most industry experts are pretty cloudy about the future of fashion and beauty, one thing’s for sure. We’re the generation that has lived through much change, many trends and innovations. Who invented the whole boho thing — minis, tie-dye, midi skirts, embroidered tunics and frayed jeans? That was us. Luxury goods? Us, too. If we couldn’t buy the clothes, we bought the perfume and the scarf. Minimalism? Who do you think encouraged Donna and Calvin to give us subtle colors like taupe and gray? We made Lycra and spandex the real fashion success story of the century. Athleisure and sports, lingerie and jeans manufacturers — you can thank us any time. Now we’ve decided comfort and common sense are the way forward. Let’s stick to it.