While it may feel like we blinked and 2019 turned into 2022, a brand new year is here, and with the excitement and potential of a new year inevitably comes the excitement and potential of a whole new list of fashion trends to put on your radar.
It’s always nostalgic to look back on previous years and see what styles and clothes defined them—like the resurgence of Y2K fashion in 2021—and looking ahead to see what a new year will bring is like a competitive sport. While some things are sure to change and pop up as the year progresses, some new, shiny trends are already here and ready to be worn.
From pieces you probably put on reserve for the holidays to what’s sure to be the biggest color of the year, we’ve narrowed down seven of the 2022 trends we’re most excited for—and three that we’re saying goodbye to along with 2021.
1. Knit sweats
Regardless of the current state of the world, it’s a fact that spending much of the past two years at home has changed how society collectively looks at clothes, and the biggest change has been in prioritizing comfort over anything else when getting dressed.
Gone are the days of sweats being a nighttime and weekend thing; now, they have a permanent spot in our everyday wardrobes, which means that it’s time for them to get a little out of the “gray” and “cotton” boxes they lived in for so long. In luxe, knit materials and colors and patterns that draw the eye, sweats have been elevated and had a glow-up of their own.
Pantone’s Color of the Year always serves as a solid predictor of color trends in fashion, and this year’s pick, Very Peri (a shade of light purple), has spent some time on the scene in 2021. This year, you can expect shades of purple to dominate the wardrobes of your favorite influencers and take over your Instagram feed.
3. Chain belts
Accessory trends are always exciting because of now noncommittal they are; you can purchase one trendy accessory, add it to all your basic outfits, and your entire look instantly transforms. In the running for the hottest accessory of 2022? The chain belt.
4. Sequins and metallics
While sequins and metallics are usually reserved for the holiday season, in 2022, you can expect to see them year-round. From bags in shades of silver to all the sparkles you can imagine, 2022 is calling for us to cancel reserving pieces for special events and add a little more fun to our closets.
The spring 2022 runways all had one thing in common: short skirts. In everything from bright colors to geometric patterns, miniskirts are making a return and are sure to have a moment once the weather warms up come spring and summer.
Have no fear, though—you don’t have to go too short to participate in the trend. Anything that hits around mid-thigh qualifies.
6. Chunky loafers
Lucky for those of us who already invested in them last fall, chunky loafers aren’t going anywhere in 2022. The academia-inspired footwear adds a little bit of edge to whatever they’re paired with, so we’re pairing ours with, well, basically everything.
You’ve probably already seen them scrolling through Instagram throughout December, but feathers are flocking to make a name as the most exciting clothing detail of 2022. From trim on silk blouses to bustier-style tops absolutely covered in them, they’re the luxe addition to our closets that we didn’t know we needed.
What We’re Leaving Behind:
2021 was the year of TikTok starting fashion debates—and some of them caused their fair share of division. Toward the middle of the year, the word “cheugy” started floating around as a catch-all term for anything Gen-Zers deemed outdated.
While trends will always come and go, the ease of using the word cheugy to describe anything Gen-Z doesn’t like is a little cheugy in itself. Rather than completely canceling genres of things (yes, they’re currently trying to cancel blonde hair), we’re saying out with the cheug and in with wearing and doing what makes us feel our best.
The jean feud
In the same vein as cheuginess, the height of 2022 fashion debates centered around jeans—particularly skinny jeans. While the under-30 crowds tried to get rid of skinny jeans for good, millennials fought tooth and nail to keep them in their closets.
While jean trends constantly come and go, and yes, some styles of jeans are currently more “in” than our skinnies, 2022 is all about wearing what we want, whatever it may be. If skinny jeans make you feel the most confident, wear them; if you love how you feel in baggy jeans, that’s your call. After all, trends are a revolving door, and history shows that as soon as everyone decides something is out, the fashion gods decide it’s back in again.
Not wearing what we want, when we want to
From the eclectic outfits worn by Lily Collins in Emily in Paris to red carpets and the Met Gala being back, 2021 gave us a lot of fashion inspiration—and a lesson that life’s too short to not wear what you want, when you want to.
Feel like wearing leather pants on a Tuesday? Go for it. Want to make your summer dresses work for winter by pairing them with tights? Wear it. Whatever your impulses may be, 2022 is the time to act on them, and do so unapologetically.