Looking back to a year ago, reality has certainly shifted; the holiday season is in full swing once again from reuniting with family to splurging on party dresses, winter getaways (and the swimwear haul that comes with it) are top-of-mind, and in-office work is starting to resume. Nevertheless, a comfortable day-to-day uniform is an essential that many aren’t ready to give up. I mean, who’s actually ready to trade in sweats and sneakers for hard pants and heels?
Given the circumstances, it’s a critical challenge for brands and retailers alike to marry these two notions – leaving the industry with the seemingly impossible mission of finding the sweet spot of looking good and feeling good, too. To aid in the decision making process, we’ve gathered the need-to-know data on comfort-driven updates that are easy to execute and are already resonating with consumers. Plus, click on any of the hyperlinked call-outs to discover our Trend Reports with further details on the StyleSage platform.
Say hello to the elastic waistband – yep, you read that right, but forget what you thought you knew about this detail. It’s time to reinvent the elastic waistband in an elevated rendition. The key? It doesn’t need to be all-over and obvious. We suggest utilizing the detail for just a hint of stretch for added comfort to office-ready trousers (see the example pictured above); although, it can be a fun and sporty design detail on the full waistband if you’re looking to make hard pants more casual. According to StyleSage data, the elastic waistband is resonating with consumers as the sold-out product percentage for October 2021 as compared to October 2020 is 91% higher.
It’s no secret that "relaxed" has been a growing fit across categories. From looser fitting jeans to peasant midi dresses, oversized suiting, and even sweater vests, the relaxed profile provides comfort over more restrictive clothes and even gives a “cool-girl” edge, as this cue has been a favorite of trendsetters like Hailey Bieber and Emily Ratajkowski. Across categories, apparel that uses terms like "relaxed", "oversized", or "loose" in its description has seen a 29% higher sell-out rate in October 2021 as compared to the same timeframe last year.
The styling cue of “set dressing” encompasses a range of options, making it easy to adjust for your consumer or season of choice. Sparked by the popularity of new suiting and elevated pajamas, that throw-and-go mentality saves the wearer from the thought process of having to pair an outfit together, as well as feels comfortable for a long day on-the-go when done in a relaxed fit or soft-handed fabrications like knit or satin. This approach to merchandising is customer-approved, as it's been consistently on the rise over the last year; apparel under this category (utilizing "suit", "set", "matching or "coordinating" in the description) has seen an 67% increase in sold-out product when comparing October 2021 to October 2020.
This one might be more of a no-brainer, but there’s a lot happening in the knit category as of late. Take note of the growing interest tops featuring tasteful cutouts, patterned sweaters, and ribbed knit dresses, just to name a few. Think outside of the box and be sure to increase the assortment percentage of knits for both warm and cold weather opportunities. As compared to last year, knit apparel is selling out at 42% faster rate in October of 2021 than it was in October 2020.
All in all, the future is here (or near enough, anyway) and, as we know, it's essential to stay ahead of the curve. Stay tuned for further reports on what's to come in the market by becoming a StyleSage member here.