In 2021, most of us became a little less recluse than we were in 2020 when the bulk of our social interactions occurred through a computer screen. And while many of us have started living a life that slightly resembles the type of “normal” we once experienced pre-pandemic, it’s safe to say our fashion preferences have shifted for the foreseeable future. For starters, we still spend more time at home than we did prior to March 2020 and as a result, are not ready to give up the leggings and sweatsuits we lived in during the loungewear epidemic that followed.

We can all agree, however, that the time has come for us to start getting dressed again and wearing stylish clothes that we will actually get to see — and compliment each other on — in person. The good news is that the fashion world is ready to resume business as usual, and the industry is unveiling avant garde looks and plenty of statement trends that are sure to be a hit in 2022. “After two years of widespread reflection, societal epiphanies will be echoed in fashion trends,” says Lisa Stapleton, celebrity fashion stylist.

“Twenty twenty-two is all about self-expression through artistic mediums, especially fashion, with daring patterns, complimentary silhouettes, and gender-neutral garments serving as the core pieces behind the year’s fashion statements,” Stapleton adds. “We will see this in the form of nostalgic influences, bright color blocking, and sustainable practices.”

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But to make room for all of the exciting trends to come in 2022, stylists agree that it’s time to let go of some of the fashion trends from last year, including our baggy sweatpants and uninspiring monochrome sets. By retiring these 2021 fashion trends, you’ll refresh your entire outlook on dressing, says Rebecca Rowe, designer for Rebecca Rowe: Capsule Creator. Scroll on to learn the looks it’s time to let go of, plus the fresh 2022 trends to wear instead.

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Ditch Oversized Styles for Streamlined Pieces

Oversized, shapeless looks may have been comfortable in 2021, but Stapleton says it’s time to put them on the backburner in 2022 and tailor your looks instead. “This year, attention to detail will be what differentiates trendsetters from the crowd,” she says. “Donate your oversized sweater and replace it with a bodysuit that compliments your curves and accentuates your natural features and pair it with a tailored jacket, flared pants, and bold shoes to create a look that flows from top to bottom.” This also means it’s time to part ways with your beloved sweatpants and super-loose fitting jeans; instead, opt for fitted joggers you can pair with a blazer or straight-leg, pinch-waist jeans that essentially go with everything.

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Ditch Neutral Tones for Bright Colors

Neutral tones were hot for 2021, but personal brand and style expert Nicole Busch says it’s time to retire the monochromatic hues and replace them with cheerier colors. “Go for bright, bold colors that will help elevate your mood, such as electric blue, orange crush, and every shade of pink,” she says. “As we reemerge and get back to ‘normal,’ it’s cause for celebration and color theory is the perfect solution.” Stapleton agrees that 2022 demands a bit of drama and challenges her clients to push the boundaries of color this year. “If you’re new to color, try accents of Pantone purple, the color of the year, in the form of accessories or accent pieces to elevate your look,” she says.

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Ditch Fast Fashion for Sustainability

Pandemic living has revealed a variety of exploitative flaws within numerous industries, according to Stapleton — and fast fashion is certainly one of them. “If 2021 taught us anything, it’s that convenience and affordability, while important, do not overshadow our obligation to the environment. Fast fashion is in clear violation of this and should be dropped in 2022,” she says. Quickly rising in its place in response to consumer demands are sustainable and eco-conscious brands, which is something we all can get behind. “Rather than purchase your favorite trends from fast fashion sites, look to your local sustainable small businesses for the newest additions to your closet.”

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Ditch Y2K Fashion for Y2K Beauty

If you’re one of the many millennials who weren’t excited about the return of the styles we rocked in the early 2000s, including ultra-cropped tops, low-rise jeans, and loads of glitter, know that this all will soon come to a welcomed end (praise hands!), predicts Nicole Russo, stylist and founder of Let’s Get You. “While it hasn’t been completely retired yet — Y2K fashion is not done peaking — like anyone who lived through it the first time, people will realize soon enough that’s it’s ugly and unflattering,” she says, noting that a lot of these styles are part of the problematic fast fashion fad mentioned above. “Don’t buy into the hype, and instead try playing with Y2K beauty trends instead.”

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Ditch Rubber Clogs for Heels

Yes, we’re talking about Crocs. The polarizing rubber shoe has become strangely popular in the last few years and was even reinterpreted by couture designers like Balenciaga and Christopher Kane. There have been a number of celebrity endorsements (Ariana Grande for example) and collaborations, too, including Justin Beiber and Bad Bunny. And while we understand the comfort appeal, it’s time to trade in the clunky clogs for a chic pair of heels. Some styles we’re looking forward to most for spring include strappy kitten heels, colorful wedge sandals, and embellished pumps. As with your clothes, 2022 is the year to make a statement.

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