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Top Trends of 2021

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By Christian Roemer

As we look forward to the new year, the natural thing for us to do is to look back. We want to know how far we’ve come, so that we can know where we’re going. When you hike to the top of a mountain, you look out over the landscape to see where you came from.

Today, we’re going to look back at 2021 to see what we learned in this tumultuous year. We’ll look at the trends we’ve discovered and revived. Some might stick, but some we’ll leave behind. Anyone remember Tamagachi pets back in 1996? 

Time only goes forward, but with the benefit of hindsight, we can choose which stuff we want to leave back in the past, and which trends we want to bring with us into 2022.


So here they are: the top 10 trends of 2021.

 

Going Digital 

For better or worse, we’re a digital species now. More and more of our lives are occurring in the world of computers. School and work went remote. Companies shifted their outlook. Clothing companies bought companies that create clothing for digital avatars. We’re somewhere between Wall-E and the Matrix. Let’s see on which side we eventually end up.

 

Wide-legged jeans 

I’m old enough to remember the first time wide-legged jeans were cool. It was 7th grade, and I wore embarrassingly huge Jncos. 2021 is when the big legs came back. I still can’t wear them, because I was so cringe the last time I did. I’m probably still cringe, but at least I wear pants that aren’t all frayed at the heel anymore.

 

Mullets 

The strangest trend to hit the scene in 2021 was the return of mullets. It was like people decided to resurrect the worst fashion trends of the 80s and 90s in one swoop, so we had all sorts of folks in wide jeans and mullets running around. I seriously never thought I’d see the day.

 

NFTs 

NFT stands for Non-Fungible Tokens, and they’re kind of a scam. Basically, you pay real money to access a digital link that then takes you to some digital asset. Most of the time, it’s a picture of gif. Technically, NFTs can take you anywhere on the web or dark web, so it’ll be interesting to see where this technology ends up.

 

Breakups 

It seems like break ups were all the rage in 2021. Kanye split with Kim. Bill and Melinda Gates called it quits. Some high-profile rich folks decided to go their separate ways.

 

Losing our minds 

2021 seems like the year when we lost our collective minds as a society. We started out the year with riots and kept the ball rolling with all sorts of flight fights and general social chicanery. We decided that the personal is political, and we’re starting to see the ramifications of thinking about ourselves as political beings first. It’s been a nightmare so far, but maybe we’ll figure it out.

 

Streaming proliferation 

Here’s where I have a little axe to grind. I was so excited to cut the cord. I got rid of cable early in the year and switched to streaming. Then a bunch of networks stopped showing content and moved everything to exclusive streaming platforms. Now, instead of saving money every month, I’m spending more than ever on a bunch of platforms I hardly use. I use Peacock for EPL, Paramount for Champions League, YouTube TV for ESPN, and that’s only scratching the surface. It’s ridiculous!

 

Mittens of the Bernie Sanders persuasion 

It seems like everyone forgot about the most wholesome meme of 2021: Bernie Sanders wearing some homemade mittens at the inauguration. He was just hanging out, trying to keep warm. Everyone wanted his mittens. Little did we know this was the most unified we’d be politically all year.

 

Tik Tok 

I’m too old for Tik Tok, but apparently it’s all the rage. I don’t have any social media for that matter, but this platform has taken 2021 by storm. Even my mom sends me Tik Toks. Which, now that I’m thinking about it, might mean some sort of new social media platform will be taking over soon.

 

Memes 

You can almost trace the history of the past few years by the memes floating around at any given time. Some memes are nicer than others. Political memes, humor memes, SpongeBob memes, and more have all captured our attention. Companies even sell meme t-shirts and hats these days. What a time to be alive.


2021 was a tumultuous year. We’ve been holed up because of the pandemic for almost 2 years now, and our lives have been changed forever. Whether 2021 leaves a lasting legacy or becomes a drop in the bucket, we won’t know for a little while. But until then, this list will hold us over!

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