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2020 fall fashion trends: Sequins, belts and pops of color

Seven fall fashion trends — plus tips on how to pull them off sustainably

This fall, try something new by going old school with your wardrobe.
This fall, try something new by going old school with your wardrobe.

With every new season comes a new set of trends and a lingering pressure to buy more clothing. Granted, fashion is fun because of these ever changing trends, but by now, the industry’s negative impact on the environment and human rights are undeniable. There is a tricky balance to strike for fashion lovers — how to stay on top of the trends while shopping responsibly. Luckily, these seven fall fashion trends are easy to recreate sustainably.

Dad chic

Characterized by oversized sweater vests, suit vests, button-up shirts and blazers, this trend can be shopped straight out of your parent’s closet. Bring on the argyle, bring on the little animals embroidered on everything, bring on the layering — we are ready for this reclamation of vintage prep. Whatever your aesthetic, this trend will work for you. It’s preppy, but grungy, goofy, but cool, frumpy but… sexy? When in doubt, just layer a polo with a crewneck and boom, trend achieved. Or, you know, just watch Harry Styles’ “Adore You” music video and inspiration will surely strike.

80s, baby

Shoulder pads are back, and cognitive dissonance is off the charts. For years, shoulder pads were condemned — a dark part of fashion history we swore we would never repeat. But the puffy sleeves and strong shoulders that continue to stream through TikTok and Instagram feeds tell a different story. To those still resistant to the trend, surrender. Shoulder pads are powerful,  embrace them and let this be a lesson learned — fashion always repeats itself. With that in mind, take a second to send a quick prayer to whatever generation will re-inherit low-rise jeans. 

To find shoulder pads that are authentically 80s, a local thrift store or online vintage shop — there are tons on Instagram and Etsy — are your best bets. However, a modern take on the trend is the shoulder pad muscle tee, for which DIYs are already all over Youtube.


Leather is no stranger to the fall fashion trend list, but this season it takes back its most powerful form — the blazer. This trend is at its best when it is vintage, so it is inherently sustainable shopping friendly. But, if buying new, it’s not a bad idea to invest in a blazer that will serve as a wardrobe staple for years to come. Complete the look with a vintage t-shirt, your best pair of mom jeans and some sneakers. Or, leave out the t-shirt and replace the sneakers with some boots for a sleek model-off-duty vibe. Admittedly, because this trend is already blowing up, prices are pretty steep on resale sites. However, it’s worth mentioning that on sites such as Depop and Poshmark, prices are often negotiable. 

Metallics, sequins and everything sparkly

This trend sounds intense, but there are many different routes it can take. For the bold, think, “What would I wear if I was featured in Miley Cyrus’ “Midnight Sky” music video?” — sequin dresses, tops, pants, do it all. But for a more laid back look, just pick one outfit component and make it metallic — a pair of boots, a pair of pants, a tote. Because this trend is more specific, online thrift sites, such as ThredUp, that allow for easy, curated searching will be the most helpful. 

Vibrant pops of color

Earth tones will always have a spot in the fall fashion color lineup, but this season is all about neutral outfits with pops of bright, vibrant color. Say goodbye to burnt orange and hello to fuschia, aqua, and gem tones. The easiest way to achieve this trend is to pair a neutral outfit with a bold accessory. For the minimalists, a funky mask, a colorful pair of socks or a swipe of flashy eyeshadow will do. For the fearless, get crazy with electric-blue knee-high boots, a red blazer or a full body monochrome look in the color of your choice. Again, using an online thrifting platform that allows you to search by color or style would be helpful. However, if you are in-person thrifting, speed up the process by quickly scanning the racks and only stopping to investigate more closely when a color jumps out at you. 

Waist Belts

If you are officially fed up with your mother critically equating your intentionally oversized outfit to a grocery bag, this trend is for you. Simply select the belt of your choice — the bigger the buckle, the better — and use it to cinch your waist and elevate an otherwise shapeless outfit into a flattering, put-together look. Whatever the item — a dress, a blazer or a t-shirt — belt it. Cool belts are not only easy to find at the thrift store, but they are great investment pieces that you can wear for years!

Full-length, wide-leg denim

A wide-leg jean is the comfortable fit we are all craving right now. Considering how minimally most of us leave our bedrooms these days, we need every incentive we can get to put on real pants. For the times you do end up leaving your house, a full-length fit will save your ankles from the icy weather they have been subjected to for years in the name of fashion. This makes wide-leg/full-length jeans the most practical trend on this list, but also one of the most sought after in the thrifting world. If you are willing to pay the price, there are infinite pairs of vintage Levis on Depop. However, if you are on a budget, head to Goodwill — it is a bit more labor and time intensive, but hit up the boys section and you might just find a gem. 


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