Style and Styling

Spring/Summer 2021 Trends

Hits, Misses and Maybe’s

That Might Be Perfect for YOU!

Happy day, dear reader!

What a year for fashion and style 2021 is turning out to be! And no, they aren’t the same thing… Style is your personality, fashion is the stuff in the stores, that is: the tool you use to express you style.

When I say what a year, I don’t mean I love it all, or that it’s amazing for everyone. What a year in 2021 means that there is a variety of fashion options appealing to every style personality type! I’m calling the year of Anything Goes. There is almost anything you could want. If you want it Now? Delivered? In the color of your choice? We were doing fine until we ran into color. That’s always iffy. The fashion world runs in color cycles, and if your colors aren’t of the moment, it can be hard to find what you need. You can read more about the color darlings of S/S 2021 here.

Note: If you loved Thursday’s Style Obsession post about Removable/Detachable Collars, the lovely Stacey at Ruth Eads is offering dear readers a 20% discount on orders made by the end of May, 2021! Use the code: HappyMay20 when you check out.

When the option seem limitless, it can be helpful to know what you do and don’t like, so today I’m sharing my S/S 2021 Hits, Misses and Maybe’s. Some are based on personal opinion, some professional. That might ease of wearing and styling, or trendiness. And other choices may be sheer cussedness… Enjoy!



I love the all white looks and white plus beige/tan looks. They feel crisp, cool and polished all at the same time. Yes, they aren’t the best for people whose overall value is dark, but in summer, we bend a lot for comfort! There are sherbet colors in both warms (yellows, oranges and peaches) and cools (lavenders and minty greens). There’s also enough bubblegum pink to saturate the girliest closet! Fashion and color are responses, and it seems that things are looking up. Call it a wave of optimism?

Bold Shoulders and Sleeve Interest

The sleeve thing has been going on for a few seasons now… And sleeve interest whether that’s puffed sleeves, balloon sleeves, bell sleeves, embroidery on sleeves, lace insets on sleeves is everywhere. The great thing about drawing the eye up and out (which is what sleeve and shoulder interest does) is that it helps balance a wider hip! Since the A Shape is the most common female body shape, this trend works well for ooooooodles of women.

Day Dresses

We seem to be climbing out of the joggers-all-day-every-day whirlpool. Or at least some people are trying to claw their way out. I think it’s mostly that so many people realized last year how comfortable wearing a dress can be! Not every dress requires hose and heels. I’m seeing everything from dresses that look like extra-long tees, swing dresses that let the air circulate, and simple little shifts that can go anywhere and do anything. There is a dress shape out there for everyone. Including plenty that look fabulous with a little flat sandal or sneaker!


Bra Tops

Underwear as outerwear. Not for this woman. I’m no prude. (I even wear a two piece bathing suit at the beach.) For around town, though, I don’t feel comfortable exposing the girls, or my midriff. Some of the bra over shirt looks have caught my eye and piqued my interest. I can appreciate them as costume or the art of fashion and not feel obliged to run out and buy it. I’m not getting judgy on those who choose to go there. If it’s you, run with it!

Long Drapey Layers

This look is really lovely, and goes along with the Loose/Wide Flowy Trousers below in Maybe’s! But TBPH, it feels so limiting. Volume top and bottom works best for the extremely tall and thin or the super dramatic. Another issue I have right now with all the flowy and drapey (read dragging) fabric is cleanliness. We’ve all become just a little more aware of hygiene, and fabric flowing over and touching surfaces as I pass by doesn’t make me feel good. How much laundry do I want to do? If we’re talking tunics and trousers that don’t drag, I’ll feel a whole LOT better. Thx.


Okay, these have their place. I love the mesh and net bags I’m seeing! AND cutouts and holes feel right for evening wear and for ventilation on sleeves. My main issue with this trend is that it feels like a flash in the pan. And possibly a slippery slope back into holey jeans. No, I won’t call them distressed. I’m talking about the ones that look like rags. If the Holes/Cutouts/Net/Mesh things are your jam, buy cheap and cheerful and enjoy! Now where did I see that cute net tote?


Belted Looks

The waists still have it! Paperbag waist shorts and trousers are showing up again this season. Which is great for waisted shapes, and not so great for the unwaisted. Belts aren’t just for holding up your trousers! Belts are cinching in volume (On those long layers, maybe?) and accenting dresses, especially shirtwaists. They’re still being belted around blazers (especially over skirts) and I’m seeing them around safari-style jackets, too. (I’ve shown this before! It’s back!)

XL Button Downs

These are not your husband’s shirts. They are wide, but not necessarily long. I pinned quite a few on my S/S 2021 Inspo Board. They are great (again) for air circulation, but a look to be careful with. I LOVE the ease. Styling them remembers thinking about the principles of volume. Either top or bottom, but not both. Especially for those of us who are altitudinally challenged.

Loose/Wide Flowy Trousers

I may have put these in the Maybe category, but I’ve decided they’re a win. Mostly because I know SO many women don’t wear shorts, or prefer not to. And a nice flowy linen trouser is about the best substitute for those who don’t wear skirts. The ubiquitous capri flatters so few women. Wide and loose may not be the best proportion for petites, but air circulation, people! That’s what we need in the coming months!

How About You?

Do any of the Hits, Misses or Maybe’s resonate with you? What do you like to wear in the hot summer months? Maybe a summer months outfit recipe post might be in order… Let me know!

Stylishly and Spring/Summer-y yours,


  • Leslie Susan Clingan

    I find that sure as I say ‘never’ to a trend, I wind up giving it a try. Distressed denim, for one. My distressed overalls for two!! I need to reach for casual dresses and skirts more often. But it seems the only time I really leave the house other than for grocery shopping is to babysit and they just don’t make much sense then.

    Have seen oversized white button-downs everywhere on social media lately. I like belted. And sleeve interest. Scored some super cute tops with pretty floral prints and romantic sleeves at Loft Outlet.

    Great post.

    • Liz K

      Leslie! You had me LOL-ing at never say never! Because I’ve felt that way myself. I’m a lot more sure about my style now, and willing to say “No, thank you.” to those trends (even the cute ones) that don’t suit my personality. They’re like trying to fit the stepsister’s foot into Cinderella’s slipper…

  • Sally in St Paul

    I am always looking for shoulder detailing, but I don’t see it as much as I expect…in plus size, anyway. (Plus size often is too much either totally plain or All The Embellishments All At Once so you look ready to be a clown fortune teller. Ugh.) A dramatic sleeve looks interesting but I know myself well enough to be sure it would drive me mad to wear (and I would be annoyed any time I wanted to layer over a thing and couldn’t).

    • Liz K

      Self-knowledge IS style! Good for you knowing how you would feel about a dramatic sleeve. They certainly can lack versatility. I have one blouse like that, but I’m okay not layering it because its embroidery makes it a hero piece, so no covering up that one! It’s not only plus sizes that have the plain or ALL THE EMBELLISHMENTS problem. Petites have the same thing. Incredibly annoying!


    Liz, I leave my tanks untucked. I feel long skirts actually make me look taller. I also have a short aist and long legs build so that makes somehat of a difference. Pray you had a blessed Mother’s Day!! Your husband’s post as so touching!!!

    • Liz K

      I didn’t see his post until this morning after it went live. I promised not to look… It made me cry. I am one very fortunate wife, mother, and Lulu (my Grandma name).

  • Carol Karl

    The sleeve detail is interesting. I have square shoulders so not sure this would work for me. Flowy trousers – always! Dresses, I struggle with as I’m such a casual girl. Also being an H shape with very little defined waist, I find dresses quite hard, especially in winter which is where we are now.

    • Liz K

      Sounds like sheath dresses with nice princess seaming through the middle are your best bet for warmer weather, Carol. It’s not the season, but there are TONS of easy tee shirt shift shape dresses this year (Maybe next for you?). I think sleeve detail would work depending on the placement, but you might want to avoid the puffy and ruffled sleeves showing up everywhere.


    Liz, I ould love for you to do a summer recipe post! Great idea! I love the look of a silk tank under a large linen or cotton blouse unbuttoned orn over a straight long linen skirt. This is a silouette I haven’t orn in many, many years. It’s very cool, comfortable and chic for our hot summers in Arizona. I’ve been brave and bought a fe pieces in the raspberry pink for this summer. Loving it!!

    • Liz K

      Looks like Summer Style Recipes will have to pop onto the rota for June! I’m leery of long skirts because I’m so short, they just make me look like I’m standing in a flowerpot. LOVE a silk tank! Do you tuck yours or not?

  • Gail McKelvey

    Would you include some suggestions for plus size wearing the wide leg flowy pants. I can never fgure out what looks good and what makes my butt seem wider than it is? I wore the wide legged back in the ’70s and am sure I was oh so cool, mostly with tightish tops if I recall correctly. But 50 years later can’t seem to figure it out!

    Thanks for all your great posts!

    Gail McKelvey

    • Liz K

      Thank you for commenting, Gail! Let’s see. Generally the rule is keep the volume in one place, top or bottom. If you want the wide flowy pant, then keep the top more trim. That doesn’t have to mean a snug or tightish (as you put it) top, yours could be a button shirt with princess seaming that skims the body. Not clinging, but not all drapey either. I don’t know if you are going into summer or winter, but, if you can wear heels, a cute platform/flatform sandal looks awesome with wider trouser! It’s a scale harmony thing… I mention shoes and harmony in a recent post. Let me look for it. Here it is! The section at the bottom about Fit & Flattery pertains to ALL shoes, not just statement or colored shoes! Another tip: We often forget that style is like magic. If I want to distract AND attract. Make sure to wear color or sparkle above the bust to draw the eye up and away from the bottom if that is what you feel self-conscious about! Think a colored statement necklace or colored earrings, or a scarf. And use color to your advantage, keep the bottom neutral (It doesn’t have to be black!) and color on top. PS: I DO bet you were the coolest!

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