The dresses category has undoubtedly been top-of-mind as of late – it seems as though no matter your lifestyle, a dress is always the answer to “what should I wear?”. And to emphasize, our lifestyles really are all over the board: some are still working from home and rocking a “nap dress” while others are heading back to the office in forward yet appropriate frocks. Plus, events and vacations seem to be all that’s on anyone’s radar right now, making it the perfect time to bring out that mini dress that’s been in the back of your closet all these months. All in all, a dress works for every occasion.
Taking a look at StyleSage data, the interest in the category is certainly proven. The percentage of sold out products reached 20% in June 2021 while it was only at 8% during the same time last year. Brands and retailers are undoubtedly catching wind of the category’s resonance, too, as the introduced product percentage was up to 32% in that same timeframe as compared to 9% in 2020.
So, to break this down even further, let’s take a look at the particular dresses that will be driving each occasion: elevated at-home comfort, daytime chic, and going out glam.
Elevated At-Home Comfort: The Breezy Frock
If you’re not familiar with Hill House Home, it's the brand who coined the term “nap dress”, as its oversized frock basically became the “it” dress of 2020. Now, even as our excitement to dress up again returns, many are still working from home, and we’re just not willing to sacrifice comfort. So, shoppers are looking to breezy midi and maxi dresses to remain as the go-to options that can easily go from Zoom meeting to errands. In fact, searches for maxi dresses are up 273% since last year, confirming it as a silhouette that solves consumers’ shopping needs.
Daytime Chic: The Updated Knit
The knit dress has become a fast-favorite across price-points and age ranges. We’re seeing this show up as polo mini dresses in Juniors, to elevated takes on knit and sweater dresses for women that are perfect back-to-office options that lend comfort while looking undeniably chic. The knit dress is a tried-and-true style that provides a solid base for brands to add their signature spin and trend-driven slant. In Day Dresses for Women, knit dresses were introduced at 63% in June 2021 as compared to 7% in June of last year, supporting that the updated knit dress is "one-to-watch" as this styling cue grows. Plus, if you're a StyleSage member, take a look at our recent Trend Report on the style here.
Going Out Glam: The Party-Ready Dress
It’s no denying that the desire to dress up again is back in full force – and even more so than before. Now that vacations and weddings are back on our social calendars (well, kind of), the interest to find the perfect occasion dress is on consumers’ radars. Currently, glammed up frocks are some of the most searched for, according to StyleSage data. For instance, searches for “wedding guest dresses” are up 437%, “cocktail dresses” are up 159%, and “party wear dresses” are up 153% from one year ago. All in all, the bolder the better as trends like cutouts, high-shine materials and sequins, and bodycon silhouettes are ruling this sector of the market.
As you’re planning your assortment, keep in mind these sentiments when it comes to the way consumers want to dress: ease, comfort, and a notion of confidence and creativity are key.