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Breaking the fashion rules in 2021

For most of us, fad fashion and trends aren’t high on our list of priorities. However, in the current climate, it’s easy to look at fashion more cynically than ever. 

But what if we told you to look at things a different way?

In 2021, we’re not focusing on magazine covers and social trends. We’re focusing on self-expression and exploration. When the aisles of the supermarket at the only runway and your friends and family only see your top half on video chat, we’ve all started to question what sort of outfits bring us joy. 

Not what we’re expected to wear. Not what we’re contractually obliged to wear. Not what we think we ‘should wear’.

What we want to wear.

Have you considered this before? I’m sure you have, but there’s always been that ‘what if’ in the distance when you start to second guess your outfit. Maybe it sounds like ‘I’m not sure this is office appropriate’ or ‘does this look too full on for a Tinder date?’ That annoying little nag that pulls you back to the conventional way of dressing.

Well, it’s time to kick those intrusive thoughts out. They weren’t paying rent anyway, the cheeky swines.

Here’s how you can break the fashion rules in 2021 with a little help from your mates at Barneys Originals.

Get dressed for yourself

We’ve no doubt that there are clothes lurking in your wardrobe that you most likely despise. Not all of them of course! Just the odd one or two pieces that you only purchased for a specific event.

Don’t panic, we’re not going to suggest you burn them! The most drastic suggestion of ours would be to give them to a charity shop.

However, the main thing we want you to do is to pull all of those items that you no longer like out of your wardrobe.

Not only can you appreciate the items you have left, but you can also take a moment to deconstruct exactly why you purchased certain things that you never liked to begin with. We’re about to get deep here.

You spent your hard-earned money on these things, for what? To impress others, to satisfy social norms, to look like someone else? We need to unpack that before we move forward.

It’s very easy to focus on airy-fairy quotes like ‘be yourself’ and not really think too deeply about them. But here you are with a physical manifestation of what it’s like to live by other people’s rules; a pile of clothes that bring you bad vibes and a slimmer bank balance because of them. 

What are you going to do about it? Send them to a charity shop and repeat the same mistakes next week?


That’s not you anymore. You’re dressing for yourself.

Focus on long-term staples

Not only do we love clothes that make us feel good, but we also want quality. Items you can mix and match with anything & ones that still look in good knick 6 months later. It’s not much to ask but cheap online deals may have warped your mind to think otherwise.

You can get quality staple clothes that last, you just need to know what you’re looking for.

First of all, look at the remaining clothes in your wardrobe after you’ve finished the first exercise. Is there something they share in common? 

Are you a sucker for a v-neck? Do you love a pair of leggings? Are you finally realising you have an abundance of midi-skirts?

If so – that’s a good thing. You have your staple shapes nailed. These represent your preferred silhouette. You know what makes you feel good, you just might not have had time to notice before now.

Make a note of these common themes and start to build combinations with them. For example, one quality pair of deep indigo jeans could go with an endless amount of other pieces of clothing. Just make sure it’s a pair that wears well with time. 

Another example we’d be daft not to mention would be a classic leather biker jacket. There’s a reason they’ve never gone out of style, you know? Just one hardy, long-lasting leather in your wardrobe can set you up for years of edgy outfits.

These long-term staples are shapes that make you feel good, in quality materials that last, in colours that allow you to mix and match with little effort or stress when you get dressed every morning.

Image displays a pile of clothes that have been worn and tossed away.
Shop conscious

Now, we’re not getting preachy here. If anything, it’s slightly the opposite.

Of course, we’re a brand so you may wish to take what we say with a pinch of salt but, have you ever heard of the term greenwashing? It’s a term to describe the way that the fashion industry puts on a front of being eco-conscious without actually putting in the work to earn their stripes.

Again, we’re a brand too. We know our place, but that’s exactly the point we want you to consider.

What’s your place in all of this? What are your limits and concerns? We want you to shop without guilt or concern, but that means you have to be honest with yourself about your own personal code of conduct. This isn’t about following the mass cancellations online or lapping up the industry greenwashing. It’s about critical thinking for yourself. 

Show don’t tell

Who are you? No, we don’t mean your maiden name and job title.

We want you to consider what makes you, you.

Ask yourself, does the way you dress feel like ‘you’? By now, after considering our first suggested tasks, your wardrobe should feel a bit more like ‘you’ but it may still need a little curation.

It’s not often we get the chance to explain who we are to someone. The truth is, we’re visual creatures. We take one look and form an opinion sometimes – even if we like to think we don’t.

The challenge is showing who you really are in your outfit. Forgive us, we’re going deep again! 

Consider this, a football shirt doesn’t just tell someone which team you support. It’s almost tribal attire. It says you are passionate about the sport. It says you probably grew up with grass stains on your knees. It says you’re partial to a visit to a pub garden in the summer.

So think again, what does what you’re wearing right now show someone about you?

Hopefully, we’ve given you some food for thought about fashion in 2021. It really is your world when it comes to how you dress, you just have to be willing to break the standard rules and carve your own path. But don’t worry, you’re not doing that alone. Everyone who has read this piece is on the same journey – and we don’t want to brag but we’ve got a fair-sized little in-club who read the Barneys Originals blog.

So why don’t you stick around? Or better yet, why don’t you go and sort that wardrobe out!?