It has been a strange year for fashion, with work-from-home and quarantine obliterating much need for stylish clothing and trendsetting. But even in a pandemic, fashion trends find a way to flourish.

Here are the items that sneaked their way into quarantine closets and social media feeds – where they will likely stay even in the new year.

Cropped cardigans

Staying cosy and comfortable in the pandemic certainly brought forth a renaissance of the cardigan last year. But, instead of impractical chunky knits, influencers and celebrities opted for svelte, cropped options to do double duty by also showing off their figures.

Wear it as a top fully buttoned up or over a matching cami, and you have a presentable outfit to go from Zoom call to quick errand in town.

Baguette bags

Mid-2019 to 2020 was just the beginning of baguette bags.

The nostalgic, early-2000s silhouette bounced back onto the radar of fashionistas everywhere, buoyed by luxury houses such as Prada and Fendi digging into their archives and reissuing their own iconic versions.

It trickled down to high-end retailers such as accessories brand By Far (below) and swarmed mass retailers, including Pomelo, Cotton On, Zara and countless wholesale marketplaces.

Now, the sheer variety available is dizzying – the bag has been made in fabrics ranging from the classic nylon to faux-crocodile, patent leather and even fur.

Every celebrity has a version and likely so do all your friends. And who can blame them? The style is compact, chic and the perfect size to fit a few essentials as no one is really going anywhere.


Tiered dresses

Aimee denim babydoll tiered dress, $42, from Love & Bravery. PHOTO: LOVE & BRAVERY

Somehow, looking like a cupcake came back in trend.

From Chanel to Oscar de la Renta, floaty tiered dresses ruled the runways last spring/summer, their horizontal seams and billowing silhouettes promising effortless ease.

High street caught on, adding to the array of colours, lengths, prints and sleeve options on the market. There were the Dickensian puffed peasant sleeves, square-necked smocked styles and breezy maxis – each versatile enough to take you from a picnic to Orchard Road and, more importantly, conceal any food babies post-feasting.

With comfort still key, it seems it will be a year more that figure-hugging dresses stay in storage.

Thong sandals

Platform thong sandals, $49.90, from Charles & Keith. PHOTO: CHARLES & KEITH

Every few years, a new shoe style creeps up out of nowhere and revolts the masses before gradually drawing their intrigue.

It happened with Jeffrey Campbell’s divisive platform ankle boot Litas, chunky “dad sneakers” and Birkenstocks (the jury is still out on whether anyone actually embraced Crocs).

The new rising It shoe is no less controversial. Like elevated flip flops, the thong sandal swops out waterproof foam for leather – a distant, polished cousin to the Juicy Couture wedge flip flops of the early 2000s.

We imagine the shoe’s popularity has to do with the convenience of easily slipping in and out of them. The elevated style also toes the line (pun intended) of something casual and chic to pair with loungewear.

Baulk now, but once the rainy season passes, be prepared to see more style influencers flaunt the shoe in their OOTDs.

Timeless classics


When things go south, always return to the tried and tested. That probably explains why Rolex created quite a stir a few months ago when it released an update of its iconic Submariner watch (above).

First introduced in 1953, it is a must-have in any self-respecting watch lover’s collection. Among other tweaks, the new model boasts a slightly bigger case size (41mm) with a wider three-link Oyster bracelet and a brand new movement, the 3230.

Other brands which went back to their archives included Longines with its Heritage collection and Tag Heuer with its Carrera models. Because they are iconic, these timepieces will never go out of style. 

Padded-shoulder muscle tees

Eva padded muscle tee, US$75 (S$99), from The Frankie Shop.  PHOTO: THE FRANKIE SHOP

This masculine spin on an everyday basic first reared its head at the end of 2019, when New York-based fashion brand The Frankie Shop released the now cult Eva T-shirt.

Quickly, the padded-shoulder silhouette took over Instagram, replacing the plain white tee as everyone who’s anyone’s go-to basic.

With its boxier fit, padded shoulders and wide arm holes, the tee also fits into this new age of comfort dressing.

Do it like the influencers and throw on a chunky gold chain and jeans for a model-offduty look; or choose from the variety of colours on the market to upgrade the basics in your closet.

Slouchy bottoms

Fluid wide-leg leather trousers in slate grey, $790, from COS. PHOTO: COS

In keeping with the cocooning trend, loungey bottoms reigned supreme in the past year, replacing tailored office pants and pencil skirts.

This year, expect it to progress beyond the home-appropriate sweats as more go out but still want to stay comfortable – think mum jeans, wide-legged pants and dressier track bottoms.

These come in a variety of styles and can be dressed up or down. Gen Z-ers on TikTok have been known to pair the look with tiny crop tops to balance out the silhouette. Or make it smart casual by throwing a sharp blazer over it.

Better yet, surrender to the sloth life with a matching oversized hoodie. 

Snazzy sneakers


Thanks to Covid-19 and work-from-home, sales of activewear have shot through the roof and show no sign of abating. The trajectory is the same for footwear, with men junking work and dress shoes for loafers and sneakers.

Foot Locker at Orchard Gateway, for instance, caused a near stampede when it dropped one of the year’s most coveted sneakers – the Adidas Yeezy Boost 350V2 Carbon (above) – last month.

The limited-edition sneaker is a collaboration between rapper Kanye West and Adidas.

Hordes threw caution to the wind and ignored safe distancing rules, hoping to lay their hands on a pair. The shop was ordered to suspend operations for 10 days for failing to comply with Covid-19 safe management measures.

Other newly released hot sneakers which will remain coveted for some time to come? The Adidas x Prada Luna Rossa 21 and NikeAir Jordan 4 Retro “Fire Red”. 

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