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What The 2021 Met Gala Looks Have Taught Us About Fashion

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Rutgers chapter.

Ah, the first Monday in May this year was September 13, 2021. Due to COVID-19, the Met Gala had to be postponed and many talented designers, celebrities, stylists, makeup artists, and more in the fashion industry had to hold off their work. Many people were disappointed with this year’s Met Gala theme, “American Fashion”, as it seemed basic to the public eye. People over social media have said because of quarantine and staying to yourself for a long period, fashion has been forgotten. I believe that fashion has evolved through quarantine because of the many events and changes that occurred. People began to explore what works for them by expressing themselves through clothing, and some have even turned into trends. Here are my top seven favorite looks of the Met Gala, which I believe truly depicted the theme. 

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian wore Balenciaga to this year’s Met Gala. What better way to exhibit the theme of American Fashion than someone who is a trendsetter of American fashion? Kim K comes to the Met Gala dressed in black thick mesh, head to toe covering her entire body and face, and still was the center of attention without going over the top. What was learned from this attire is that she is a household name across America. Everyone knows who Kim Kardashian is by her over-the-top outfits, glamorous life, social media following, and public presence. This year’s look was quite different and unlike her. She showed us that by covering every inch of herself without showing her face, we still managed to know who was beneath the costume just by the silhouette. She made a statement by entering the Met Gala by the outline of her body that screamed “I am American fashion.” 

Timothee Chalamet 

One of our favorites (we all know him, we all love him)! Timothee Chalamet wore a mix of his favorite designers; a Haider Ackermann tuxedo jacket and Rick Owens turtleneck. The most important pieces that stood out the most were his white sweatpants and white Converse. People were shocked to see this and thought, “Why wear something so casual to a high-class event?” Firstly, he is THE Timothee Chalamet, and anything he wears, he can make it work. Secondly, this opened my eyes to see that something so simple and humble can be worn to a glamorous event. Timothee decided that sweats and comfortable shoes can make a statement by showing people that you can be different with your fashion sense. Not standing out makes you stand out even more. Loungewear has become a popular trend over this past year as we all had to stay home. We became comfortable in what makes us feel confident and comfortable. Nothing says that better than sweatpants and a good pair of Converse. Timothee did a great job showcasing American fashion by displaying the art of comfort through a quarantine outfit. 

Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita Nyong’o, famously known for her acting in amazing films such as Twelve Years a Slave, Black Panther, and Queen of Katwe. For the 2021 Met Gala, she was dressed by Versace. Lupita showed up in a sparkling denim gown. She and Versace understood the assignment; denim is a huge statement in fashion and we all wear it. Jackets, jeans, tops, purses — our everyday life consists of some kind of piece related to denim. She taught us how to take something we all own and turn it into an extravagant gown worth $1 million. 

Emma Chamberlain 

I am so proud of how far Emma has come. I remember watching her YouTube videos from the VSCO girl aesthetic to the standard brown fuzzy jacket and iced coffee phase. Now, she has become the face of Louis Vuitton and attended the Met Gala wearing Louis Vuitton. Emma Chamberlain is an influential figure of Gen Z American fashion trends. All I see when I look at her gown is her growth. The trail at the end of her dress represents the long way she has come to get to where she is today. Coming to the Met with the brand she has worked with makes the outfit even better and showcases her commitment to the brand. Her look enhanced the fact of her hard work. Seeing her grow from a young girl on YouTube to now a confident young woman at the Met Gala is what brought this look together.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

There was a lot of controversy surrounding this look. Many people said AOC is “the rich,” so why is she speaking against a topic she belongs to? We have to keep in mind that AOC’s salary is $174,000 annually. Although her net worth is around $1 million, that is considered upper-middle-class. Her dress was speaking about the top 1% multi-millionaires and billionaires, which the Met Gala is notorious for inviting and being comprised of. I believe her dress made a huge statement to American fashion. She does work in New York City as the U.S. Representative for New York, and what is more American than politics? Politics play a huge role in America today, especially since COVID-19 hit. A lot has changed and politics has become a main topic in everyone’s homes. AOC was not directly shading Vogue or anyone at the Met. She was simply stating something that the public should know. She really looked stunning in a dress while stating something everyone should be aware of.


If you saw the over-the-top stunning woman in a gold gown and a gold headpiece, that is Iman, a famous model. She decided to go with a gown made by Dolce & Gabanna X Harris Reed. The concept behind her dress was taking inspiration from 1920s showgirls and flapper dancers. To enhance the look, she went extreme with the headpiece and dazzling feathery ruffles at the bottom of the dress. Flapper dancers were very popular in the 20s and one of the most well-known acts in entertainment. Her dress taught me more about American style back then and how to enhance those features today. 

Pop culture and fashion is a hot topic surrounding the U.S., especially with the most anticipated fashion event, the Met Gala. A lot of us don’t realize how much impact fashion has on our society. Fashion isn’t really looked upon when it comes to “art,” yet expressing ourselves through clothing that fit with a certain theme IS a type of art. The fashion industry is slowly progressing and coming to terms with knowing how different people style themselves differently and for what reason. Fashion trends are influencing us lately, especially after this big event. These looks on our favorite celebrities have taught us much more than what’s expected.

Saee Purohit

Rutgers '25

Hi! My name is Saee Purohit, I am a student at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.I am so excited to be part of this welcoming community, creating content and being involved in this club’s opportunities!