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9 Breakout Trends From the New York Fashion Week Fall 2021 Runways

There's hope for a dressed-up future.
Looks from the Prabal Gurung Fall 2021 collection. 

Looks from the Prabal Gurung Fall 2021 collection. 

February's collection debuts have a habit of sneaking up on us, sometimes disrupting whatever quiet, cozy winter scene we've created for ourselves. This was definitely the case when New York Fashion Week officially kicked off Sunday evening, the aggressive winter weather hitting so much of the country making it harder than usual to focus on the Fall 2021 offerings from American designers, most of which were shown digitally.

But the week was not forgettable: The brands that chose to present Fall 2021 collections on a calendar that makes no sense, during a global pandemic that has threatened their businesses, showed up. They proved chaos breeds creativity and that there's hope for a dressed-up future: Gone were the luxe pajama sets that dominated the Spring 2021 virtual runways and in their place were proper, tailored trousers, elegant coats and elevated knits. The trends that emerged are optimistic, hinting at a time of togetherness.  

Ahead, see the top trends from New York Fashion Week Fall 2021, and stay tuned for what will come out of the other fashion capitals over the next few weeks.


A pragmatic hue identified by the Pantone Color Institute, "Adobe" — a warm, sun-dried clay — emerged as the dominating neutral tone for Fall 2021. The go-with-most earthy color was a popular choice for outerwear and knitwear, especially. 


While clogs have often been grouped with the "ugly" footwear clan, let it be known that the slip-ons are trending, playing starring roles in the Fall 2021 collections of Sandy Liang, Simon Miller and PH5, to name a few. 

Crushed Velvet

Something about crushed velvet feels a bit "Twitches"-circa-2005, but in 2021, it's taking on a less sequined shrug-era persona and now elevates slouchy silhouettes, helping them go from casual loungewear to dressed-up formalwear. 

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Modern Grunge

Our sartorial gaze has been slowly turning to grunge for a while now, but designers officially cosigned its comeback with heavy use of punky plaids and edgy layering. 

Pink Color-Blocking 

How can we create order amidst all this chaos? Designers at NYFW offered color-blocking — done mostly using pink — as a solution. The streamlined outfit hack is equal parts joyful and efficient. 

Psychedelic Green

American labels gave us the literal green light on trippy patterns: Hallucinatory prints in a grassy shade were spotted at Anna Sui, Collina Strada and Kim Shui

Statement Hosiery 

A carryover from Pre-Fall 2021, conversation-starting legwear cropped up in several collections. There were taxi yellow-striped leggings at Victor Glemaud, polka-dot tights at Prabal Gurung and psychedelic floral leggings at Collina Strada

Sweater Vests 

From sweet floral embroidery to eye-catching geometric patterns, designers punctuated their cold-weather collections with several playful sweater vests. Some showed the layer-able knit solo, while others teamed it with turtlenecks and billowy blouses for a winning winter combo. 


We've grown accustomed to seeing elevated Western on the runway, but this season, the beloved All-American aesthetic actually felt pretty down to earth. We have Anna Sui's fuzzy cow-print jacket, Jonathan Simkhai's cozy fringe poncho knit and Victor Li's boots to thank for taking the cowgirl home to Houston's rodeo after a prolonged stay on Rodeo Drive. 

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