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Which 2021 Style Tribe Do You Belong To?

Dopamine dresser, high-octane glamazon, or arts-and-crafts aesthete….

By Annie Brown

It’s not often you get the chance to think about how you might like to reset your ‘look.’ 

But a global pandemic, throughout which you may well have worn varying iterations of saggy sweatpants, certainly provides impetus to return to fashion with fervour. 

It’s not just a realisation that fashion can be a source of joy and purpose – dressing up to go somewhere! – but also that clothes can say much about who we are, or how we’d like to move through the world. 

Perhaps in lockdown you realised you don’t want to only wear black anymore, or you can’t bear the idea of wearing yet another sensible midi skirt because life is fleeting and you might as well wear the mini. Hell, add some crystal-studded heels. 

This feels like the right time to experiment a little, play around with what you already have and really understand how you want to get dressed. 

Right now, fashion feels playful, individual and fun. What’s more, it’s for everyone. And as we remerge into the world – just in time for the summer party season (remember parties?!) there is a frisson to it all. Finding your style tribe is part of it. Here five fashion looks to know right now (and how to get the look). 

PHOTO: Getty

The dopamine dresser

Bright, colourful ‘dopamine-dressing’ is everywhere this summer. It can be spotted in the hot pink pieces at Jacquemus, the Fanta orange at Bondi Born’s resort show and the holiday-ready party pants at the likes of Emma Mulholland’s Holiday the Label and Lisa Says Gah.

In fact, the concept of ‘colour therapy’ – or dressing to improve your mood – has been around since the ancient Egyptians. (Definitely since your mum and her friends all had their ‘colours done’ by a rather bossy multi-level marketing associate in the living room.)

But right now, a hit of dopamine – i.e. the transmitters of ‘feel good’ chemicals in the body – makes a whole lot of sartorial sense as we shed our faded black leggings and feel for the light. 

(A sub-trend to look out for? The beachy ‘Coconut Girl’ aesthetic – all shell jewellery, frangipani prints and bucket hats as popularised by Tiktok – which will make you want to re-watch Blue Crush and maybe take up surfing.) 

It’s all undeniably happiness-inducing, no matter what your tolerance for highly saturated pigments and hibiscus print trousers. 

Labels to look for: Holiday the Label, Ganni, Lisa Says Gah, Coperni, Christopher John Rogers, Aje, Jacquemus

Who’s wearing it: Emili Sindlev, the Scandi fashion set – many people on Tiktok.

PHOTO: Getty

The new sexy

Sexiness, you might have noticed, is back. Call it a reaction to being stuck inside, or swaddled in oat coloured cashmere, but designers would like us to shed our layers and, frankly, get on down. The past few seasons have been awash with bodycon, cut-outs, ‘midriff flossing’ – that is, strands of fabric criss-crossed around the body – micro minis, corsets and the slinkiest little slips of dresses. 

If it all sounds a little reductive, do not fret! This time around there’s a whole lot of body confidence and agency involved. Sexiness isn’t just for one body type. But more than anything, the ‘new sexy’ tribe is all about capturing a feeling – sensuality, attitude and freedom. 

As Zoe Latta, one half of the New York brand Eckhaus Latta told Vogue of its diverse and joyfully sexy New York Fashion Week show, “It’s about feeling more free. Really feeling yourself, coming out of the past year-and-a-half and wanting to feel sexy and confident and free.”

In other words, the new sexy tribe is about giving it a red hot go, with confidence the most essential part of the look. 

Labels to look to: Nensi Dojaka, Matteau, Christopher Esber, Maximilian

Who’s wearing it: Camille Charriere, Zendaya

PHOTO: Getty

The arts and crafts lover

First there was Harry Styles’ rainbow JW Anderson knitted cardigan. Then there was the heartwarming sight of champion British diver Tom Daley knitting in the stands at the Tokyo Olympics. Not to mention the plethora of crochet, tassels, tie-dye, hand-knitted jumpers, quilting and fringing spied everywhere from Gabriella Hearst’s most recent collection for Chloe at Paris Fashion Week to Bottega Veneta.

The arts and craft tribe is all about an appreciation of the hand-spun and the tactile, a sense that the pieces you wear have been touched by the hand and, ideally, made with a whole lot of love and care. 

In its mid-season trend report luxury online retailer Net-a-Porter dubbed the trend “Artisanal eclecticism.” It’s an ideal descriptor for this mishmash of texture and sort of woolly, nomadic elegance that’s part art teacher (a relevant PSA: clogs are back) and part Cher on holiday in the ‘70s. 

Crochet is, indeed, all over Instagram. And crochet vests are a major trend, worn alone, with tailoring or over the top of a button-down shirt, blouse or prairie dress. When it comes to this tribe, the joy is found in textures, clothes with a story behind them and, hopefully, a wide open road and heart. 

Who’s wearing it: Imani Randolph, Marianne Theodorsen

Labels to look to: Albus Lumen, Mango, Sea, Chloe, Bode, Free People









The minimalists (with a twist)

Minimalism has long reigned over the fashion set. Especially on Instagram where for a time you could barely scroll five seconds before hitting a swathe of neutral layers, and an almost overwhelming wave of beige. 

But minimalism right now is hitting a little differently. Perhaps because its boundaries have been pushed just that little bit further. Anyway, it’s certainly not boring. Look for example at the high priestesses of minimalism, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s luxury label The Row. The brand was started in pursuit of the perfect white T-shirt and now specialises in an almost monastic kind of pared back elegance that somehow manages to offer new ways of thinking about getting dressed each season with twists on tailoring or unexpected details. 

The new minimalist might choose to still dress tonally, wearing variations of one colour, but to mix fabrics such as leather with cotton. Or to play with the cut of a jacket, the length of a skirt or opt for a sharply tailored suit not in black or beige but a vibrant, saturated hue. The vibe? Sleek, unfussy and basically unstoppable.

Who’s wearing it: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (who should really offer a masterclass in clean yet interesting minimalism), Danish fashion stylist Pernille Taisbaek and Paris-based Leia Sfez

Labels to try: The Frankie Shop, Lou Lou Studio, Anna Quan, The Undone, Friends with Frank, P Johnson Femme

PHOTO: Getty

High-octane glamour

It might be that parties have been thin on the ground for many of us, so making up for all that lost shimmying feels really quite essential. But glamour, of the Truman Capote and his famous “Swans” kind, is back. 

It’s Adele in Dolce & Gabbana corsetry for her British Vogue cover story, fashion editor Anna Dello Russo in, well, anything, and the spectacle that was supermodel Naomi Campbell (et.al!) at Fendace (that is, the collaboration between Versace, gilded purveyors of good times, and Fendi at Milan Fashion Week). It’s Amina Muaddi’s cult crystal-studded shoes, guaranteed to make any one of us the Cinderella of the ball, and all of the slinky, sparkly dresses spotted throughout fashion month, from Khaite to what Anthony Vaccarello dubbed his “glamorous toughness” for Saint Laurent. 

Meanwhile, Old Hollywood glamour – a nod to a golden era of va va voom and definitely no Zoom – was the biggest fashion influence at this year’s Met Gala. Think Billie Eilish channelling Marilyn Monroe in Oscar de la Renta and model Kaia Gerber nodding to a Dior dress once worn by Bianca Jagger, the queen of New York’s famous Studio 54 set. 

Becoming part of this tribe means forgetting the adage of removing one item before leaving the house – the more of everything, the better. Even if you’re just popping to the shops, now is the time to make everything feel like an occasion.

Who’s wearing it: Anna Rosa Vitiello, Swarovski creative director Giovanna Engelbert and basically all the guests at the recent wedding of Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant, co-founders of French It-label Coperni.

Labels to try: Rixo, 16Arlington, Norma Kamali, Rotate Birger Christensen, Amina Muaddi, Self Portrait


BY Annie Brown

Annie is a fashion journalist who has worked for Vogue, The Sydney Morning Herald and more. She is a new minimalist with a full-blown glamour rising. She is also desperate to wear high heels again.

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