8 Things That Define This New Era of Dressed-Down Style

Anna LaPlaca

At this point, I think we can all agree on that a lot has changed about the way we get dressed nowadays. For one, being comfortable has never felt more important. Our wardrobe basics really do all the heavy lifting. And frivolous pieces simply aren't as appealing as they used to be. All that is to say, that the last five or so months has left an indelible mark on our approach to style and I don't think it's temporary. If you ask me, I think we're entering a whole new era of fashion that will be defined by a casual, dressed-down approach.

I don't just mean sweatpants and leggings, either. I'm talking about those casual outfits you still wear out of the house—they're cute but by no means fancy. Since we're all collectively leaning into these casual-cool outfits more and more, I wanted to give an overarching view of the pieces that are defining our new style right now. They're a mix of loungewear items, basics, and comfortable style staples. From flowy dresses to slide sandals to easy matching sets, below are the eight elements of this new dress down trend and I even bet that several of them can be found in your own closet. Keep reading to discover them all.

"Soft" pants, as opposed to "hard" ones, involve elastic waistbands and forgiving materials that make them the comfy alternatives people are putting their jeans aside for. Think athletic shorts, legging updates, bike shorts, and the like.

Shop:

Bandier Terry Tie Dye Short ($98)

Girlfriend Collective Smoke High-Rise Bike Short ($48)

Topshop Floral Print Flared Pants ($50)

This year, I've realized just how valuable it is to have a stock of really great basic tops. I have a newfound appreciation for plain tanks, tees, and bodysuits, which are the building blocks of tons of outfits.

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LNA Essential Ribbed Scoop Tank ($66)

Leith Scoop Neck Bodysuit ($13)

Intimately Cropped Seamless Muscle Tank ($20)

Right around month two of quarantine, we all collectively hit a breaking point with our sweatpants, and suddenly, loose, flowy dresses looked very appealing. So by the time summer hit, we had a full-blown dress obsession (and to quote TikTok, I think it's an obsession that doesn't hurt anyone). From tiered smock dresses to slips and everything in-between, 2020 is shaping up to be the year of the flowy dress.

Shop:

ASOS Design Shirred Bustier Maxi Dress With Puff Sleeve in Seersucker in Black ($56)

Rixo Gingham Dress ($324)

En Saison Poplin Midi Dress ($104)

In 2018, Lively coined the term Leisurée to define comfy bralettes and underwear that toe the line between loungewear and lingerie. And, well, two years later, it's never felt more relevant. Comfy pieces you can lounge around the house in and then wear to bed? Count us in.

Shop:

Calvin Klein Underwear High Waist Bikini Panties ($20)

Lively The Stripe Mesh Bralette ($35)

Skims Cotton Rib Boxers ($32)

I'm not sure about you, but I've become practically allergic to any shoes that don't make my feet feel like they're walking on cloud nine and that's left me with a few options, including comfy slides like the ones Birkenstock has made popular. 

Shop:

Brother Vellies Greg Sandals ($347)

Birkenstock Arizona Big Buckle Slide Sandal ($149)

H&M Leather Slides ($35)

Matching sets are one of my favorite ways to look like I put in a lot of effort without actually trying very hard. I'm not picky about the type of set either. Whether it's matching sweats or a summery skirt set, it will always read as cohesive.

Shop:

Free People Rosebud Pant Set ($178)

& Other Stories Linen Blend A-Line Mini Skirt ($59)

Shop the matching Cropped Lyocell Tank Top ($24).

Faithfull the Brand Lenora Linen Crop Top ($139)

Faithfull the Brand Celia Linen Skort ($169)

You don't have to spend a lot on your basics to achieve an expensive-looking outfit. Whether it's a standard ribbed tee, a little cardigan, or a ribbed knit dress, the textured effect makes any clothing item appear more elevated while also being easy to wear.

Shop:

H&M Rib-Knit Dress ($60)

LNA Black Core Ribbed Kismet Pant ($106)

FP Movement Take Everywhere Tank ($38)

So, we're not dressing up as much—or, at all, for some—but one element that's still in rotation is suiting. Tailored pieces in loose and oversize shapes lend an easygoing feel that makes them more approachable.

Shop:

H&M Oversized Cotton Shirt ($25)

Mango Pleat Straight Trousers ($100)

Madewell Linen Dorset Blazer ($124)

& Other Stories High Waisted Linen-Blend Shorts ($69)

Up next, five fall trends that will still be relevant in 2021.

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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