Fall 2020’s Most Important Accessory Trends


Vogue has been chronicling fashion trends since 1892, and for a great span of that time, accessories have taken a back seat to clothing. Debates about shifting hemlines, wild new couture shapes, and the play of sexy silhouettes versus a more serious, ascetic way of dressing have long reigned supreme. The times when Vogue has emphasized the importance of accessories has often coincided with moments of global crisis.

In 1941, the magazine advised readers to “let yourself go on flowers and veils.” In the ’60s we covered Courrèges and Cardin’s boots and baubles with the same vigor as their minidresses, and in the aftermath of 9/11, we christened the aughts the era of the It bag.

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It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that as the fashion industry and the world at large grapples with the spread of Covid-19 and its impact on every aspect of modern life, accessories have taken center stage once again. The pieces our editors saw and loved over the course of the fall 2020 shows certainly weren’t quiet. Instead, they reflected a collective urge for unbridled flair (see the many veils and opera gloves), and for emotional comforts (the runway’s blankets and soft, pillow-like bags).

In austere times, the potential that these eight trends offer is the opportunity to turn any outfit into a fabulous one—even if, or especially if, you are working from home.

No-Nonsense Boots

Shoe trends have swung from casual sneakers to ladylike pumps so quickly over the past several seasons, you (and your closet) might be experiencing whiplash. What designers have thankfully agreed upon for fall 2020 is that a knee-grazing, preferably platform black boot is the unbeatable footwear of the season. At Saint Laurent, Anthony Vaccarello cut boots in dominatrix latex; Rick Owens added lucite heels and metal grills to his popular Kiss silhouette, and Victoria Beckham returned to the platform shape she made posh in the aughts. You’ve gotta have it.

Holy Veils

In tandem with ready-to-wear’s slant toward the sacred is the rise of veils. They can look bridal, as at Tom Ford; clerical, as at Richard Quinn; vixenish à la Anna Sui; or extremely hardcore as in the case of Paco Rabanne’s chain-mail head wraps. Whatever the spirit, these veils are sure to make this year’s many video calls more exciting.

Creature Comforts

As we temporarily settle into more sedate lifestyles, the importance of comfort will become paramount. Designers from Michael Kors to Jil Sander’s Luke and Lucie Meier offered wraps, blankets, stoles, and snuggly scarves to wrap yourself in. Think of them as pieces that work at home or at play.

Single-Use Bags

Water bottle holders, AirPod cases, mobile phone pouches, and even a boot turned backpack were all the rage on the runway this season. Who can argue against an Alexander McQueen flask belt with a hand-hammered rabbit relief?

Link and Build

As the bourgeois look builds, so too has the trend for elegant, chain-trimmed shoes, bags, and jewelry. JW Anderson’s embellished bags and Balenciaga’s chastity belts came with playful bits of subversion.

Operatic Gloves

In our smartphone-addled age, elbow-length gloves may not seem like the most practical look, but with endorsements from Rihanna, Margot Robbie, and Zoë Kravitz, the trend for opera gloves is only growing. On the runways, The Row offered cozy knit options, while Rodarte, Moschino, and Marc Jacobs heightened the glamour of their collections with debutante-worthy gauntlets.

Clutches to Hold Dear

Considering the popularity of Bottega Veneta’s Pouch clutch, it was only a matter of time before other brands took on the trend for soft, handheld bags. This season, Chanel, Proenza Schouler, Prada, and Khaite all offered elegant clutches in soft leathers or bejeweled velvet, while BV has updated its Pouch with a clever braided iteration. Keep an eye on our street style coverage to see which bag comes out on top for 2020.

Tie One On

Neckties, the most traditionally masculine accessory of them all, received a feminine spin at Christian Dior, Gucci, and Dolce & Gabbana. Blazer optional.


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