The Top Wedding Dress Trends of 2021
Get your wishlist ready. Bridal Fashion Week has finally arrived and there's no shortage of über-chic inspo in the 2021 wedding dress trends. From forthy ruffles to romantic sleeves and fun party dresses, The Knot's fashion team hit the ground running to get the scoop on the new styles coming to a bridal salon near you. So, if you're planning a wedding taking place at the end of next year or just in the dreaming stage, these are the 2021 wedding dress trends to know. Read on to get the deets on what's hot now—and how to pull it off.
1. Short Dresses
Whether you're a COVID bride planning a minimony or Zoom wedding, eloping or just looking for a good excuse to show off a killer pair of shoes, this 2021 wedding dress trend is for you. Opting for a long gown for the day of? A short, white dress is also perfect for all of your other wedding-related events like your rehearsal dinner or bridal shower.
No veil? No problem. Not only do cape veils offer the same benefits of a traditional veil: visual interest, extra coverage, and an optional train, but they're an effortless way to kick up your bridal style up a notch. Go minimalist with a sheer cape or bring the drama with a beaded or printed one.
If ever there's a time to indulge your inner hopeless romantic, your wedding day is it—and it doesn't get more romantic than this frilly, ultra-feminine detail. A ruffly skirt adds dimension to a mermaid silhouette, while a full skirt of frothy, cascading ruffles is equal parts whimsical and fashion forward.
Modern brides, this one's for you. Clean, unapologetically minimalist crepe looks took over the Bridal Fashion Week runways. A silk, wool or synthetic fabric with a distinctly crisp appearance, crepe is structured but also light enough to work for any season. And, if you're still feeling a more ornate look, a crepe skirt or trousers balances out a heavily embellished bodice or sleeves.
5. Bishop Sleeves
Hear us out before you totally write off this '80s-inspired wedding dress trend. A far cry from the puffy sleeves Princess Diana and other brides of the maximalist era of fashion wore, these longer sleeves that gather at the wrist and flare at the shoulder are all about tasteful romance. If you love this detail but are worried about overdoing it, look for a slim silhouette with puffy sleeves and keep the rest of your accessories simple. Or, if you love this look but aren't ready to fully commit, go for detachable ones you can take off for your reception or after-party.
6. Subtle Sparkle
Frost yourself. While glitz is nothing new where bridal fashion is concerned, the Bridal Fashion runways were all about understated shimmer in the form of glitter tulle and tonal sequins and beading, versus over-the-top metallic bling of past seasons. Perfect for evening nuptials, this wedding dress trend adds an ethereal touch to any silhouette. Pro tip: If you're rocking a sparkly dress, keep your accessories minimal and let your glitzy gown do all the talking.
These sleek dress alternatives are comfortable, figure flattering and totally of the moment. Bonus: It's basically impossible to put on one of these tailored ensembles and not feel like a badass. For the 2021 bridal trends, allover lace, detachable sleeves and shimmery fabric gave classic white jumpsuits a modern update.
8. Square Necklines
This sharp, more geometric style flatters the collarbones and shoulders and is a true throwback. Originally popular in the Renaissance era, square necklines have since made a major comeback. The best part? This 2021 wedding dress trend also works for pretty much every wedding style: Go classic with heavy satin, romantic with floral lace or modern with crepe.
9. Slip Dresses
Made famous by style icons like Kate Moss and Caroline Bessette-Kennedy in the '90s, this slinky silhouette is experiencing a bridal fashion revival. A curve-skimming satin number works for more formal nuptials while a breezy style with skinny straps is made for a destination wedding. For a more modest take on this inherently sultry trend, add a lace topper or detachable sleeves to your ensemble.
10. Layered Skirts
If you're on the hunt for a dress with some added flair but don't want the hassle of an extra-full skirt or long train, look no further than a gown with a layered skirt. This style adds volume and dimension—but not weight—to a ball gown or A-line silhouette.
To check out all the Bridal Fashion Week galleries, plus wedding dress advice and more, go to TheKnot.com/bridal-fashion-week.