The 10 TikTok fashion trends that defined 2021

·5-min read
Photo credit: TikTok
Photo credit: TikTok

TikTok seems to know exactly what we want before we even know it ourselves. If you are anything like us, devoting 50% of your spare time to internet shopping and the other 50% spent endlessly scrolling TikTok, then the app's algorithm has got to know you unnervingly well. Your FYP will no doubt be littered with the best (and worst) viral fashion trends that the app has to offer.

TikTok launched three years ago but, thanks to a little thing called the pandemic, saw a serious uptick in users (there's now over one billion!!) during 2021. No wonder the Gen Z-favourite platform is able to influence our shopping habits.

The app's all-knowing algo has given everybody, not just the big bloggers and celebs with hundreds of thousands of followers, a safe place on the FYP to contribute their genuine product recommendations. Not only that, but smaller, independent brands have been able to harness the app's viral capabilities, allowing their reach to grow to new heights. Is this fashion democracy? We think so.

Sooo, while Instagram still has a soft spot in our hearts, TikTok is arguably where it’s at for emerging trends and fashion inspo.

For example, creator @xojemian has only around seven thousand followers on the app, a relatively small number, but her video on the waist illusion dress has been watched an incredible 3.7 million times. In that way, it seems to be more authentic and trustworthy than a sponsored post. And while Instagram feels unattainably cool at times, TikTok feels like the girl in the club bathroom who tells you exactly where she got her top from and texts you the link (hooray).

The platform’s algorithm ensures that once you’ve shown interest in something, you’ll see it popping up a lot more. That dress you've had your eye on? Well here it is again and – even better – here it is on somebody with a body type just like yours. Or a dupe at a price point you can actually afford.

Our screen-time jumped up massively when researching for this one, but with good cause. We’ve weeded out the most divisive trends (looking at you bum-scrunch leggings) from the ones that are actually worth your hard-earned pennies. So, low and behold, these are the best fashion trends the app has to offer. In the words of TikTok, this is your sign to get the dress, or scarf, or whatever...

1) With Jean Andy dress

This dress was EVERYWHERE this summer, with users praising the brand for perfectly fitting "mid-sized" bodies. It was also seen on hair and style guru, Matilda Djerf. If it's good enough for Matilda, it's good enough for us.

2) The North Face Jacket

It's puffer jacket szn! When Kendall Jenner was spotted in a chocolate brown version of this North Face puffer, it promptly went viral on TikTok. What happened next was inevitable: searches for the jacket reached fever pitch. In fact, “North Face puffers” holds first place as Depop’s most-searched-for item, seconded by “brown North Face puffer”.

While the brown version of The North Face is seriously hard to come by, with some resale prices reaching as high as £800 on Depop, you can nab this black version to get the look.

3) Ugg classic mini boots


Loathe them or love them, TikTok has done it: brought Ugg boots back as part of the Y2k resurgence. Get your Juicy Couture velour tracksuit and low-rise jeans ready too…

4) SKIMS Grey Soft Lounge Slip Dress

Yup, even Kim K herself has got her claws into TikTok. This long lounge dress from her successful intimates brand SKIMS has garnered much popularity on the app, which isn't surprising given how much time we've been spending at home. This one sells out instantly with every new drop, so nab it while you can.

5) Acne scarf

As the weather cools down, this scarf in all of its colourful, chequered glory, has heated up. Acne Studio scarves are nothing new; but TikTok has made 'em a cool girl must-have for the chilly season. We aren't entirely sure where this trend originated, but expect to find it in all of those winter OOTD videos.

6) The Strawberry Dress

This dress literally saw creators running into a field wearing it. In August, the frock became super popular on the app and, according to Lyst, searches for the strawberry dress spiked by 103 percent. Perhaps under tough Lockdown measures, we were looking for a little escapism and this candy floss ensemble was the answer. Whatever it was, this number lives in our head rent-free.

Don't fancy forking out the near £500? Luckily, the dress is available on Hurr to rent, so you can feel like a princess just for the day. (Read our round-up of the best fashion rental sites here, as tested by team Cosmo).

7) With Jean Corset Dress

This is the latest It-dress from With Jean. This corset dress was spotted on TikTok's sweetheart Dixie D'amelio and has sent waves across the Fashion-Tok community. Obsessed.

Multiway black dress

Twelve dresses in one? count us in. This dress first graced our screens when a video depicting how many different ways it can be worn went viral. You can never go wrong with an LBD.

8) Platform knee-high boots

Part Buffy the Vampire Slayer, part Bratz doll vibes, these boots are such a '90s throwback. But if your budget is a little smaller, these dupes from ASOS are a great shout!

9) Bridgerton Corset

At the start of this year, in peak lockdown, Netflix's Bridgerton inspired some to get out of their loungewear and into something a little less comfortable – the corset. Thanks to Phoebe Dyvenor's portrayal as the Duchess of Hastings, and fuelled by TikTok's fangirls, historical lingerie made a comeback in a big way, with this pick from Amazon being the corset of choice. On our way to a ball, see you later!

10) Mirror Palais Fairy Dress

Every time we see someone wearing this dress, we are blown away all over again. This dress is the stuff of dreams and an example of a brand doing TikTok just right. Currently sold out everywhere, but we have high hopes to get our hands on one, (or this ASOS one).

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