All the Clothes and Accessories That Went Out of Style in 2021
- Insider spoke with stylists about the fashion trends they think went out of style last year.
- Some trends inspired by the 1990s, like bucket hats and checkerboard prints, are fading, they said.
- Other stylists said chunky sneakers are out, and slimmer shoes are back in.
Fashion works in cycles, and certain trends from the past few years have already started to wane.
Insider asked professional stylists which trendy items won’t be sticking around this year.
From basic black leggings to stiletto heels, here are the clothes and accessories you should think about getting rid of:
Plain leggings will be replaced by unitards
Lana Blanc, a personal stylist, told Insider that plain leggings would be eclipsed by more interesting stretchy garments this year.
“Plain leggings are on the decline,” she said. “If you’re headed to brunch rather than yoga, I recommend opting for a unitard or a split-seam legging instead.”
Rather than tossing your plain leggings, you may want to relegate them to your workout wardrobe or loungewear drawer.
People aren’t quite ready to return to wearing stilettos
With many people still spending more time at home, it should come as no surprise that towering high heels aren’t trending.
“After more than a year of wearing loungewear inside and outside the house, stilettos are still not ready to make a comeback in 2022,” Blanc told Insider.
She recommended Chelsea boots, platform boots, and block heels as stylish and comfortable alternatives to sky-high stilettos.
Full baggy outfits are waning in popularity
Tara Dupuis, a stylist and model, told Insider that the baggy outfits and oversized garments of 2021 would give way to more tailored silhouettes this year.
“As many of us start spending more time out of the house again, the trend for comfort-first baggy outfits will be replaced by more structured and fitted styles,” she said.
If you’re not quite ready to let go of your comfy clothes, pairing looser items with fitted ones (like wide-leg pants with a body-skimming sweater) can be balanced and chic.
Skinny jeans are out, and wider cuts are in
Blanc called out skinny jeans as the top item to nix from your 2021 wardrobe.
“Skinny jeans are definitely dead,” she said. “But on the bright side, there is now a wide range of looser, on-trend denim styles to choose from.”
If you’re looking to transition to a different cut, Blanc suggested trying a straight leg before diving into the wide-leg trend.
It’s probably time to swap your micro bag for a real purse
Micro bags — tiny purses that can only hold a cellphone or a set of keys — had a moment last year, but the trend is fading away.
“People are finally tired of these impractical bags, and I’m glad to see this trend die,” Blanc said. “Invest in an actual handbag that can hold your personal belongings.”
There’s a difference between a micro bag and a small purse — so you can still keep things minimal while opting for something that can hold all your essentials.
Cold-shoulder tops are already dated
Tops with shoulder cutouts are losing ground to fresher styles.
“While these are still a favorite for many women, this trend has been around awhile and is simply starting to feel a little bit tired,” Dupuis said.
She recommended selecting tops with other fun arm details, like puff sleeves or statement cuffs.
Replace uncomfortable shrug sweaters with easier layering pieces
Leigh Williams, a personal stylist, told Insider that people have realized shrug sweaters — cropped knit pieces that cover the arms and shoulders — are hard to wear.
“People are catching on that this style can be constricting and really limit the movement of your arms,” she said. “We’re now seeing more slouchy cardigans than shrug sweaters.”
For a light top layer, you can opt for a shawl or an oversized scarf.
Consider replacing your chunky sneakers with slimmer styles
Chunky platform sneakers were wildly popular on catwalks and on Instagram, but the “dad sneaker” trend may finally be on its way out.
“I was never wild about this footwear trend, so I’m glad that chunky sneakers are now being replaced with chic mules or sleeker leather sneakers in 2022,” Dupuis told Insider.
If you miss the support of the sneakers, try slipping an orthopedic insert into a slimmer set of shoes for the best of both worlds.
Bike shorts should move permanently to your workout wardrobe
Stretchy bike shorts will be considered gym clothes again.
“Now that we’re once again dressing for work, dinner, and events, the trend for sporting bike shorts as everyday wear is definitely on the decline,” Dupuis said.
She suggested finding an easy-to-wear dressier alternative like paper-bag shorts or pants.
Tie-dye clothing may be replaced by more grown-up patterns
One of the most popular DIY fashion trends last year was tie-dye. But this fad may fade in favor of more polished colorful items.
“The tie-dye trend was youthful and playful, but this style is already being phased out as we start going back to work and being in more formal settings again,” Dupuis told Insider.
But there’s no need to drain the color from your wardrobe: Opt for color-blocked or brightly patterned items to keep the fun going.
Retro bucket hats are on their way out again
Bucket hats, a staple of 1990s fashion, returned in the early 2020s. But this trend is fading into fashion history once more.
“The truth is that bucket hats can look overly casual or even kind of silly,” Williams said. “In 2022, you’re better off throwing on a classic baseball cap if you want to accessorize with hats.”
Knit beanies paired with oversized button-ups can give you a similar cold-weather casual look with retro vibes.
Skip the checkerboard prints in 2022
Bold checkerboard prints can be eye-catching, but Williams said she’s happy to leave this dizzying trend in 2021.
“Checkerboard prints are visually jarring and incredibly difficult to wear in real-life situations like work or dates,” she told Insider. “Now that we’re spending less time in the house, this print trend is on its way out.”
If you still love the look, try adding it to your outfits in small doses, like a checkerboard scarf or purse in muted hues.