2021 has been quite the year, with political turmoil, the ongoing pandemic, the Olympics, natural disasters and more. The fashion world saw the return of the Met Gala and other in-person fashion events, and the tragic passing of Virgil Abloh, a fashion pioneer. Harry Styles did his Love on Tour, where fans turned the tour into a fashion show. “Dune” and “House of Gucci” inspired fashion lovers everywhere.
Fashion has always been a tool to express emotions, opinions and innovation, and in my opinion, these Tik Tokers, musicians, actors, athletes, influencers and politicians were the ones who did it best this year!
Tik Tok is where the future of fashion lies — young people showcasing their insanely creative takes on clothing push boundaries and inspire everyone!
Clara Perlmutter is the definition of controversial. Her looks often include zany prints, clashing colors and unusual silhouettes. Lettuce leaf earrings are one of her favorite pieces, along with gold Isabel Marant wedge sneakers.
As Perlmutter gets dressed, viewers watch her pull out pieces that don’t look as though they’d ever go well together, and at the end, she has an insanely cool, eccentric look. Perlmutter gives viewers permission to get as weird as possible with their clothing. Unexpected layering and color clashing are things that I’ve learned from Perlmutter.
Though one of her most common Tik Tok comments include something along the lines of, “Is this a joke?” I believe Clara Perlmutter is pure genius.
Wisdom Kaye is quite literally the future of fashion. Futuristic silhouettes, dramatic coats, giant shades, 70s fits and perhaps "Dune"-inspired looks define Kaye’s style.
Personally, I’m obsessed. Rick Owens is one of Kaye’s favorite designers, along with Balmain. I love a good dystopian YA novel, and Kaye’s style is reminiscent of the hero of my "Hunger Games" or "Maze Runner" dreams.
Similar to Perlmutter, Kaye isn’t afraid to get a little weird with jewelry and even face coverings, and his layering is expert. Vogue named him Tik Tok’s best dressed, but honestly? I think Kaye wins best dressed of 2021.
Fabulous. Amazing. Elegant. Carla Rockmore teaches her followers how to dress colorfully and gracefully. Funky glasses are part of her signature, and bold prints, loud colors and classic silhouettes are her typical outfit formulas. She takes colors that don’t seem like they’d match and pairs them together almost magically.
Each and every one of her looks comes with eccentric jewelry and a bright purse, and her glamorous demeanor makes every outfit. Her closet is one to envy — most of my apartment could fit into it. She makes aging look exciting, and as a 50+ fashion Tik Toker, she’s an inspiration for those of any age.
The music world knows how to dress — it was hard to narrow down to two. Honorable mentions include the obvious — Rihanna and ASAP Rocky — and everyone’s celeb crush, Doja Cat.
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Cardi B’s style is iconic. It’s sexy, it’s glamorous and it’s incredibly fun. She actually does monochrome outfits pretty often, something I believe is a surefire formula for a great outfit.
Cardi loves glitter and bling, and all of her outfits sparkle. Feathers are another one of her favorite components, giving almost an art-deco quality to several of her looks.
Like many of the people on this list, Cardi is no stranger to funky accessories, including a gold face mask and a wide variety of opera gloves. More than anything, Cardi B is a reminder that fashion should be fun — if you aren’t having fun with your clothes, you aren’t doing it right!
To attend an art installation at the Arc de Triomphe, Cardi wore bright green, billowing pants, a matching shirt and a headpiece that framed her face like petals. I honestly haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.
OK, maybe this is basic, but honestly, that’s OK with me.
Like millions of people worldwide, I adore Harry Styles. I love his music, his energy, but most importantly, I love his style. His quirky sweaters — does anyone remember the sheep vest? — are proof that winter fashion can be colorful and fun, and his trusty pearl choker is the perfect way to dress up any outfit (and looks super cool when juxtaposed with an edgier look).
Love On Tour, styled by Harry Lambert, saw Styles in a different custom Gucci outfit every night. His fans followed suit —arriving at his concerts felt like walking a red carpet. Flashy suits and 70s-inspired fits are some of Style’s signatures, and he’s well accustomed to shimmery shirts, vests or even pants.
Lastly, while Styles most definitely wasn’t the first to dabble in androgyny, he does it with an ease that encourages his fans to feel more comfortable doing so, as well. Out of everyone on this list, Styles is personally who I draw the most inspiration from.
Honestly, Zendaya was the only actor I was inspired by in 2021. Honorable mention to Gemma Chan!
Has Zendaya ever looked bad? Maybe, but not in 2021.
She was involved in two major movies this year, "Dune" and "Spiderman: No Way Home." This gave her several opportunities to make her mark on the red carpet.
Zendaya is all daring elegance, an expert looking graceful while also looking incredibly hot. She’s close friends with her stylist Law Roach, and that intimacy is clear in the choices Roach makes for Zendaya — he knows exactly how to make her shine. She effortlessly embraces color, not afraid to go bold and bright. I love the way Roach takes inspiration from her movies to style her red carpet looks.
Her looks for all of the "Spiderman" events have been show-stoppingly spidey-inspired — a black dress with a gold metal spine, and a spider mask over her eyes. My favorite of her outfits of 2021 is the Vivienne Westwood look she wore for the "Dune" premiere, a silver chunky chain top with a brown and white checkerboard skirt. I want it.
I made friends with a sports reporter this year and learned that sports have so much more to offer than just the game.
Michigan State’s very own Jaren Jackson Jr. easily makes this list. The Memphis Grizzlies player knows how to put an outfit together. Similar to most of my fashion favs, Jackson Jr. loves a good print and flashy color. White sneakers seem to be a staple of his, as do leather pants. Simple chain jewelry accentuates many of his outfits, and this man loves his leopard print. Jackson’s Instagram features a quote by designer Tom Ford saying, “Dressing well is a form of good manners.” If that’s true, call Jackson the Queen of England.
Tennis star Naomi Osaka is fashion inspo for the everyday Gen Z. Baggy jeans, pink hair and teddy bear nails are some of her fashion basics, and she’s a Louis Vuitton fan, too. She’s collaborated with Nike and Levi’s to design signature tennis shoes and unique, upcycled denim pieces. Osaka’s gorgeously sporty aesthetic is super achievable — try a fun print in a classic silhouette with a sneaker and you’re there!
Additionally, Osaka understands the political impact of clothes. On top of being the best woman in tennis, and a champion of athlete's mental health, Osaka understands the power of fashion and wields it with ease.
Russell Westbrook of the Lakers can do no wrong — at least in terms of fashion. Every outfit is a statement, from a pearl beaded shirt to a white skirt to a fabulous silk ascot. I’m not sure if a more fashionable man exists. Westbrook plays with color in a really unexpected way, and I love the variety in his style. He moves from soft-boy-in-overalls to yacht dad to streetwear in every Instagram post. Westbrook even has his own clothing line, Honor The Gift, basics with fun graphics and colors. For anyone looking to explore their style, Westbrook’s incredible range offers inspiration for any aesthetic.
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