The emotional toll of a pandemic and the pop culture distractions that have fueled some recovery are weighing on the fashion trends and themes consumers are drawn to in 2022.
Trendalytics examines what’s to come in various consumer markets this year in its new “Top 100” trends report. Using data from November 2021, the product intelligence firm says these trends show “sustained or stable growth” over the next year with 65-75% confidence.
While unflinching “cores” and retro themes speak to the escapist nature of pandemic fashion, the demand for function and comfort underscores how pragmatic consumers are navigating this uncertain time. Here, Trendalytics offers a closer look at how these factors and more are influencing the styles, silhouettes and accessories that are in high demand.
Trending themes in womenswear range from the modest to the revealing, and a heavy dose of nostalgia runs through the range.
Echoing the skin-bare looks sported by Gen Z and the millennial cast of HBO’s hit “Euphoria,” and the wave of partywear catwalk designers were (perhaps prematurely) showcasing on their 2021 runways, the Less is more” permeate all women’s apparel, Trendalytics said. “Cropped hemlines, necklines and sheer fabrics add to the sex appeal,” the report reads.
Micro miniskirts and lacy turtlenecks are among the top “overexposed” items, while the low-cut minidress is the standout piece to check out, with a 263% increase in searches. Lace tops and sequin tops are particularly popular in the plus-size category, up 334 percent and 89 percent, respectively.
Pants with slits are also on the rise. Searches for side-slit skirts are up 116 percent, while searches for high-slit dresses and slit pants are also up at double-digit rates. Elements from Y2K fit into this “skin is in” mentality. Trendalytics reports that searches for “2000s fashion” are up 122 percent. Low rise flared jeans and low rise skirts are the breakout items.
Meanwhile, ’70s flare jeans are gaining momentum in the plus-size category for women. Searches for the retro fit are up 43 percent.
Happy fashion in general will continue to push consumers out of their pandemic wardrobe slump in 2022. Searches for Carrie Bradshaw-approved tulle midi skirts are up 158 percent; Sequin pants by 147 percent and dresses with trims by 138 percent. Glamorous cocktail and party dresses are gaining ground in the plus size category. Searches for special occasion dresses, cocktail dresses and plus size party dresses have seen double-digit growth.
Dopamine-inducing designs are part of the next phase of cottagecore as the theme evolves from the nap dress. “Women are bringing their cottagecore fantasies to life with whimsical wardrobes filled with voluminous silhouettes and woodland motifs,” according to Trendalytics. Case in point: searches for strawberry vests are up 178 percent.
When Netflix’s Bridgerton season 2 hits the streaming service in March, fans will be prepared to dress the role in “stylish attire from eras past,” according to the report. Searches for jacquard mini dresses are up 369 percent, while corset tops and brocade coats are also seeing healthy growth. Strapless tops are prominent in the plus-size segment with a 181 percent increase in searches, as are puff sleeve dresses, empire waist dresses and ruffle dresses.
This romantic aesthetic is evident in the goddess’ attire. Echoing recent data from Pinterest suggesting a Greek revival, Trendalytics reported that searches for “goddess” dresses and “Greek” dresses were up 17 percent and 29 percent, respectively. Demand for “draped” dresses has increased by 79 percent.
In general, a new version of women’s power is emerging. “Women no longer crave the male gaze, but are finding what makes them more confident by embracing oversized silhouettes and confident brackets,” the report reads. Wide-leg pants, oversized blouses and knitwear are key to this theme, as are new proportions. Searches for cropped shearling jackets are up 181 percent, and cropped blazers are up 120 percent. In the Plus Size category, Trendalytics reports a shift towards basics with a touch of preparation. Cropped jeans and cardigans are emerging staples, while searches for polo shirts are up 239 percent.
Accessories for women
The themes of accessories 2022 accurately reflect the fashion trends.
Scene-stealing items like glitter heels, rhinestone heels, and crystal jewelry satisfy the party-goer and Y2K-hunting consumer. Sky heels and platforms — a style Versace revived with its $1,295 Medusa Auvitas platform pumps — are also attracting attention. Searches for platform shoes are up 154 percent, while searches for platform shoes are up 57 percent.
“Pearlcore,” a trend that aligns with Cottagecore and Regencycore, is driving a 150 percent increase in searches for pearl heels. Interest in beaded handbags and chain necklaces is also growing. Trendalytics reports that women are looking for long gloves (up 26 percent) and French lapel pins and beaded bags, gaining 26 and 41 percent, respectively.
A good guess is that the same consumer looking for strawberry vests is also looking for forest-inspired accessories. Interest in raffia bags (up 103 percent), clog sandals (up 85 percent) and mushroom earrings (up 76 percent) represents the “crossroads of foraging and fashion,” according to Trendalytics. The demand for handmade items is also increasing. Searches for crochet bags are up 104 percent and braided bracelets are up 55 percent.
An interest in modern classics and architectural bling complements fashion’s new approach to proportion. Searches for croissant bags are up 158 percent, while searches for croissant rings are up 77 percent. Ball rings, cabochon rings and large hoop earrings are also gaining in importance. This new breed of minimalist accessories, according to the report, “instantly became classics and will be here for years to come.”
Comfortable fashion is not going away anytime soon. Searches for cushioned sandals are up 547 percent, and growing demand for kitten and block heels confirms this sensible approach to footwear is sustainable.
Trendalytics paints a similar picture for menswear, drawing inspiration from preparation, nature and decades past.
“No longer just for athletes, varsity team essentials are making their way from the locker room to the men’s closet,” the report said. Searches for varsity cardigans are up 306 percent, and varsity jackets and letterman jackets have both seen double-digit growth. This science-inspired theme is also driving demand for cool-kid knitted polo shirts, corduroy shirts and penny loafers.
At the other end of the generation spectrum, Trendalytics said that “grandpacore” is the new version of normcore for 2022. Searches for items such as oversized cardigans (up 173 percent), grandpa sweaters (up 157 percent), and relaxed jeans (up 5 percent) reveal a shift towards unpretentious fashion that mixes well with second-hand finds.
Practicality and function are still factors in men’s clothing. Demand for items such as carpenter jeans (up 38 percent), utility pants (up 35 percent) and cargo jackets (up 20 percent) underscores the popularity of utility fashion. Cozy items like plaid shackets, flannel overshirts and field jackets reflect this return to a traditional approach to clothing. Consumers are also looking for more technical items that helped Gorpcore go mainstream. Searches for sun protection clothing are up 30 percent, while searches for athletic vests are up 20 percent.
However, bolder consumers relish patterns, prints and retro fits. Searches for men’s floral suits are up 62 percent, while patterned shirts and patterned pants are also up. Meanwhile, searches for men’s bell bottoms are up 147 percent. Interest in Harry Styles-approved heeled boots is up 67 percent, while huggie earrings (up 99 percent) and crossbody bags (up 31 percent) are accessories to keep an eye on.
“Men are embracing the art of dressing and bringing mood boards to life with on-trend styles that blur antiquated gender norms,” reads the report.