Fashion Optimism: 24 Joyful Pieces To Boost Your Wardrobe (& Your Mood)

Fashion reflects the zeitgeist in one of two ways: it holds up a mirror to society or it rails against the status quo, providing an antidote to the current state of things. From gendered violence, police brutality and transphobia to the climate crisis and, y'know, 12 months of living in a global pandemic, it's fair to say that things haven't been so peachy of late. What we've been wearing over the past year falls into two camps. For some, opting for all-black has provided much-needed simplicity, security and structure, while others have defied the doom and gloom by donning serotonin-boosting brights and mood-lifting motifs.
Sure, a great outfit won't put the world to rights but we'd be foolish to dismiss the power of colour and texture to boost our mood during difficult times. Why not have fun with your wardrobe? We could all do with a little playfulness right now.
Designers on the (virtual) catwalks at SS21 gave us many reasons to be cheerful. From Acne Studios' space-age rainbow swirls to Collina Strada's dizzying flower-power prints, there were plenty of psychedelic patterns to lose yourself in this season. Meanwhile, paintbox brights were the punchy headliners at Molly Goddard and Christopher John Rogers, with Pepto-Bismol pink and lizard green coming out on top. "We saw a sea of bold, bright colours in a multitude of fabrics and textures this season," says Libby Page, senior fashion market editor at Net-A-Porter. "We bought over 3,000 joyful dresses for SS21, including an exclusive sunshine yellow rendition from TOVE, and 500 'lady in red' options."

A slew of smaller labels have been advocating a more positive outlook for some time. Lazy Oaf’s kitsch cartoons and playful slogans have garnered a cult following since the brand's founding in 2001, while US-based Kina & Tam is loved for its Animal Crossing meets Sylvanian Families aesthetic. On the jewellery front, Lyst reports that search for beaded pieces is up 21% week-on-week, while cult label Wilhelmina Garcia is the latest brand to take over our feeds with its cute motifs, with signet rings featuring shamrocks, daisies and butterflies reminiscent of our school disco accessories.
Brooklyn-based content creator Yolande Macon has long inspired us with her joyful, colour-popping creations. "I come from a family that loves fashion without limits. We especially love the boldness that comes with colour." Has dressing in bright and bold looks helped bolster her mood over the past 12 months? "Absolutely! Getting dressed in such cheerful pieces has brought a sense of normalcy to this past year. It helps me remember I’m more than sweatpants and pyjamas." Known and loved for her smart colour combinations, which pairings is she loving for spring? "Right now I’m obsessed with combining lavender, light green and baby blue. It’s the pastel heaven I didn’t know I needed."

"Fashion really is a much more fun, friendly and inclusive place right now," says Zeena Shah, another of our favourite positivity advocates whose Instagram brightens up our feed on a daily basis. "With everything that is going on in the world, from politics to the climate crisis, it feels like a very dark place, and one way to combat that is to bring some positivity into our daily lives. Kindness, love and positivity are words to live by, and they’re shining through our fashion choices and on the catwalk." 

"There is a growing sense of optimism," Natalie Kingham, global fashion officer at Matches Fashion, says of this season, "and we will continue to celebrate how fashion can lift the spirits and spread joy." Hear, hear! Read on to meet the content creators bringing boundless positivity to our feeds.

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