Clothes of the 21st century

Written by carolyn enright
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Clothes of the 21st century
Consumers increasingly choose clothes that are multifunctional and socially responsible. (Alistair Berg/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Just keep it long enough, and it will come back. That's as true of fashion today as it ever was. Fashion trends of the 21st century are less about creating new styles than recycling trends from past eras. At the same time, today's clothing reflects consumers' desire for clothing that is not only stylish but highly functional. What we wear in the 21st century is also as much about the message as the material.

High-Tech Clothes

Clothing made of high-tech fabric is both stylish and functional. Easy-to-care-for fashion includes wrinkle-free dress shirts, antibacterial and hypoallergenic bamboo sleepwear, anti-static fleece, stain resistant ties and machine washable leather and suede. Fitness enthusiasts can work out in clothing that releases a soothing peppermint aroma or athletic wear made with tiny interior bumps that keep the fabric from sticking to your skin when you sweat.

Clothes of the 21st century
High-tech fabrics have created washable leathers and wrinkle-free dress shirts. (laundry image by timur1970 from

Clothes for a Cause

Consumers are increasingly combining their clothing purchases with their desire to make a difference in the world. Manufacturers are responding by selling clothing made from organic materials using environmentally sustainable practices and clothing that supports a specific cause.

Clothes of the 21st century
Consumers are buying clothes that support charitable causes. (fistful of dollars. image by Greg Carpenter from

Everything Old Is New

Twenty-first century fashion is inspired by what we wore in the past. The fashion conscious consumer can wear skinny jeans that hearken to the 1960s or flare jeans that are 1970s-inspired. Tailored men's fashions and glamorous evening wear inspired by slick styles from the sixties are making a comeback. Leggings and big bows take their fashion cues from the eighties. Vintage and retro clothing of all kinds is here to stay. The 21st century consumer is not limited to one fashion era, but chooses from many that make her look and feel great.

Clothes of the 21st century
Vintage clothes are a popular fashion choice for 21st century consumers. (jeans for sale image by Ramona smiers from

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