As fashion adapts to a more casual and cautious world, the list of must-haves for spring 2021 are appropriately subtle. Here are our favourites for whatever the future holds.

FLIP SIDE

Few shoes divide fashion opinions as much as the thong sandal. The late-nineties favourite can often be mistaken for a glorified flip-flop but this spring’s versions are more refined, playing with height, like the platform styles by Jacquemus; or proportion, like the pillowy take at Stella McCartney. One of the most wearable examples is by ATP Atelier, which incorporate a thick white strap and contrasting black platform. When the cold weather (and local lockdown) subsides, slide them on and go – directly to the nearest nail salon for that fresh pedicure we’ve all been waiting for.

ATP Sandal, $420 at Gravity Pope (gravitypope.com).

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MAKE THE CUT

After a year in sweats, it’s hard to imagine showing any skin. Thankfully, designers are taking baby steps towards baring it all by adding sleek cutouts to otherwise modest silhouettes. The asymmetrical draping and twists of fabric on a Christopher Esber dress looks effortless while exposing a bit of midriff. Dion Lee’s creative use of fabric knotting and tying creates an artful peek-a-boo effect. A little slice at the shoulder of this little black dress by COS adds a subtle seductiveness to a forever piece.

Knitted wrap dress, $190 at COS (cosstores.com).

STAND BY ME

You have likely spotted a variation of the structured handbag at your local vintage store or in your grandmother’s closet. This season, there will also be endless options in architectural shapes and sizes everywhere else you shop. On the designer end, Prada’s new Cleo bag takes a less-is-more approach via a streamlined silhouette. Staud’s crescent moon and triangle-shaped bags are so sturdy they can stand up on their own. A Mango shoulder bag is so easy to mix-and-match that its cost per wear will likely be pennies by the end of summer.

Bag, $59.99 at Mango (mango.com).

HAMMER TIME

As far as accessory trends go, jewellery developments move slower than those of bags and shoes. This season’s tweak sees the metal hoops, bracelets and rings that have held our attention for so long receiving a textural treatment. Hammered metal appeared as oversized organic shapes at Acne, while at Chloé, silver cuffs looked like liquid sculptures. Michelle Ross’s hand-formed brass cuff is unquestionably current but will be a unique piece on your arm for years to come.

Michelle Ross brass cuff, $340 through mnross.com.

HIP TO BE SQUARE

Recreating a do-it-yourself look at a designer price is nothing new, but spring’s patchwork men’s wear is fresh take on getting crafty. Sustainability is a big part of this trend as designers work to find ways to repurpose archival textiles from past seasons. Etro embraced its bohemian attitude with a patchwork jacket accented with hand-stitched embroidery. Greg Lauren is no stranger to upcycling, using scraps of fabric to adorn one leg on a pair of army-style trousers. A Stussy piece is a muted interpretation of the pieced-together look that can sub in for your favourite jean jacket.

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Stussy patchwork cotton jacket, $216 through mrporter.com.

SUITING SIMPLIFIED

When a majority of the corporate world is working from home, how do you sell a man a suit? In the case of Miuccia Prada, you strip away anything frivolous and focus on a sharp, classic cut that makes it a long-term investment. Celine took a similar approach with a grey-and-black pinstripe number, while Jil Sander’s oversized blazers and tailored coats featured a longer silhouette and wider lapels that were striking in their simplicity.

Suit, price on request at Prada (prada.com).

RING IT UP

Interest in men’s jewelry is growing. A revival of 1970′s-inspired men’s wear is partly responsible, as are celebs such as Harry Styles and A$AP Rocky who have embraced covering themselves in baubles. For those who want to give the look at try, investing in a small collection of rings is a good place to start. David Yurman creates unique bands with braided details, matte finishes and geometric shapes that work well stacked together. Same goes for the clean lines at Mejuri, which look equally sharp alone as they do layered up.

Mejuri black onyx signet ring, $725 through mejuri.com.

JUST DESERT

The desert boot is a footwear classic that is being discovered by a new generation who realizes how easy it is to incorporate the versatile style into its wardrobe. There are lots of fancier versions, but Clarks Original is the undisputed standard for this silhouette. In addition to its classic chukkas, the label paired up with skate-inspired brand Palm Angels on a pair featuring “P” and “A” logos on the toes of each shoe. Tod’s keeps it classic with its thinner soles and sandy suede hues, while Camper’s models have a more functional feeling.

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Clarks Originals boots, $280 at Ssense (ssense.com).