In a season that was more about spectacle than clothes, our big questions about how the pandemic changed the way we dress were answered on the street, not the runway. Those of us who love style—not just fashion—might have picked up on the haphazard, thrown-together sensibility outside the shows in Milan and Paris; the embrace of odd layering and dresses-over-pants in London and New York; and, in every city, a marked evolution in “gender fluid” style, to the point where it’s no longer novel to see people of every identity in skirts or heels. It’s all just clothes!
The shift to more creative, authentic style was in motion throughout the pandemic, but as Fashion Week snapped back to the chaos of the Before Times, it was fair to assume the street style scene would resume its excesses, too. There were still plenty of branded looks and over-curated ensembles, but it was the eclectic, highly personal outfits that felt relevant to our times.
To this viewer, the big themes—clashing prints, vivid color-blocking, strange layers, tailored vests—reflected our year at home, surrounded by our stuff and a desire to get more use out of it all. Why accumulate more clothes when you can find new ways to mix up your favorite things and revisit the items you’d forgotten about? (In case you weren’t aware of the link between overconsumption and climate change, Extinction Rebellion staged a protest to spell it out: overconsumption = extinction).