Trends last fall focused on accessories as people created collections of masks. People traded suits and slacks for sweatpants and leggings. We caught up with local retailers to see how fashion has evolved this summer and what is in store this fall

 

What trends are you most excited about for fall of 2021?

“We are very excited about the amount of luxe fabrics and vibrant colors that are making an appearance for fall 2021,” said B. Prince owner Bezshan Dolatabadi. 

“Rich cashmere sweaters paired with full skirts. Lace up boots on clunkier soles round out the look and not only give it an edge but also are comfortable and perfect for our current lifestyle.”

Flip Flops and What Nots owner Kathleen Roberts has seen trends focus on, “all of the casual cool-weather clothes and fashion tennis shoes, as well as cute lug sole boots and cozy sweaters.”

Katherine McRee, co-owner of The Lili Pad and Gigi’s Tween, offers two perspectives. At the Lili Pad, children’s clothing for the fall is trending back to classic styles but with a comfortable and modern twist. Tween styles at Gigi’s feature, “anything velvet, straight leg mom jeans and smocked ruffle skirts,” she said.

“I always love fall,” said Gina Saab, owner of Second Hand Rose. “This fall, I’m excited about the colors: army green, merlots, blues. It’s a great color palette.”

“I’m most excited about the luxurious textures and rich colors,” said Laurel Bassett, owner of Town & Country. She notes that key features include “lush velvets and soft knits in brighter colors that are a little unexpected for fall.”

 

2020 was all about accessories, what pieces or products have been popular this summer? 

“This summer, the accessory that we have had most requests for are pearls,” Dolatabadi said. “Our in-house jewelry designer, Louise Abroms, has created all lengths and sizes that look great with just a T-shirt and jeans.”

“It seems like earrings are always an easy pick-me-up,” Roberts said. She’s loving pieces that feature sparkle, wood and beads.

The Lili Pad is stocking Southern style T-shirts, Aftco shorts and Properly Tied shorts for the boys.

For girls, it’s all about hair accessories.

“The top trend is water-proof hair bows,” McRee said.

At Gigi’s, McRee’s favorites for fall are smiley face trucker hats, beaded friendship bracelets, earrings and fuzzy pajama shorts.

This summer, Saab saw customers focus on hoop earrings and layered necklaces as accessories.

“Kimonos continue to be a strong category, since they fit every size and are easy to dress up or down,” Bassett said. “Fun earrings, necklaces and lightweight scarves are always a great way to add style, personality and a pop of color to any outfit.”

 

How has the pandemic shaped future fashion trends?

“We did believe that the pandemic would really put a casual influence on fashion going forward, but in speaking to the designers and companies that we represent, we find a current decline in requests for athleisure and sweats and an increase in desire for beautiful clothing with interesting design,” Dolatabadi said. “We are relieved!”

“With everyone working from home, it seems casual is the name of the game,” Roberts said. “That’s a good thing, because that’s what (Flip Flops and What Nots) does – comfort and casual shoes and clothes to make you feel good and look good.”

“Over the past few months, we have seen more and more people wanting to dress up,” McRee said. “People are finding their style through fashion statements. The evolution of fashion from 2020-21 is more dressy than casual and comfy.”

“Athleisure has always been a big seller for us, but we definitely have seen a bigger demand for it,” Saab said.

For Bassett, the attention designers have paid to comfort continues to thrive.

“All of our clothing lines are now offering more casual styles as part of their collection,” Bassett said. “Thankfully, there is a renewed focus on soft knits and fabrics that feel good to wear.”

 

Have you seen a significant change in the retail industry in comparison to 2020? 

“We have seen a change,” Dolatabadi said. “It did not occur until mid-April of this year, but business rebounded. I think that it was due to vaccinated customers feeling comfortable getting out and finally going places. Up to now, we are still being visited by people who are on their first shopping trip in over a year!”

“Our customers have been so great to come in and shop,” Roberts said. “There is nothing like shopping in person. I like to touch, feel and try on.”

In 2020, McRee saw major changes, with the retail market shrinking due to business closures and halts in production that disrupted the supply chain.

“The demand for products has skyrocketed since 2020 and people have a renewed appreciation and love for small, local businesses,” she said. “2021 has brought positive change in the retail world and we are all a little more patient, kind and understanding.”

“We, like everyone else, were greatly affected by the pandemic,” Saab said. “Once the country started opening up and people are getting to go places, we have gotten very busy.”

She added that the consignment store is packed with merchandise, with about half of the inventory being brand new pieces with tags still attached.

According to Bassett, shoppers are embracing change. “People are going places again, even if they may be in smaller groups,” she said. “Our customers are ready to have fresh looks to wear. Everyone is definitely sick of the clothes they wore in 2020 and ready for something fresh and new.”

—Emily Williams-Robertshaw