While many companies have decided to permanently move into a remote-first policy, others are preparing for a hybrid or full return back to office spaces. So what workwear trends should retailers stock to capture consumers across all work environments?
As we mentioned last year, the pandemic hasn't erased the demand for workwear, but it does look different. In this report, we highlight the most popular wear to work styles that retailers are promoting via email, analyzing how they are doing in the market, alongside runway inspiration.
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1. The traditional style
Retailers like Jigsaw and The Outlet are promoting suits for workwear this season, with linen and lightweight fabrics key terms used to describe the professional yet breathable styles. Also, light shades and neutrals are commonly displayed via email, with dark browns sprinkled across communications from The Outnet, RE ONA and Acne Studios.
Images via Jigsaw Email UK - Jun 6, 2021 and The Outnet Email UK - May 16, 2021
Culottes are the stand-out style for suit bottoms across emails, top movers and the runway. Retailers like Joules claim they "make your summer wardrobe the most stylish yet," while other retailers promote them as a smart update to the classic trouser. Mango sold its design at full price for $59.99 and black makes up 22% of arrivals in the market.
Coinciding with back-to-school season, reposition plaid, tweed and mini skirt co-ords for preppy wear to work stories. For future assortments, update successful core styles with subtle details like exaggerated buttons or split hems.
Images via Eudon Choi Fall 2021; Alexandre Vauthier Fall 2021; C+plus SERIES Fall 2021
2. The modern day style
The term "workleisure" was used by Banana Republic, Nordstrom and Zalando to describe workwear edits that are elevated yet comfortable. Sweater vests, wide-leg trousers and button-down shirts are defined as "styles to beat tracksuit fatigue" in Zalando's workleisure email, transitioning customers out of loungewear and into comfortable work-appropriate attire.
Images via Banana Republic Email US - Jun 3, 2021 and Nordstrom Email US - Feb 10, 2021
Basic items have also been included in workleisure emails and moved well in the market. 15% of basic T-shirt arrivals have had a majority sell out, with H&M, Mango and Matalan among retailers with the most basic T-shirts selling out at full price - the average advertised sell out price $12.14/£10.87.
Customers demand soft and performance fabrics despite their work environment, so be sure to expose those qualities via email and product descriptions. For those working from home through the rest of the year, emphasize top-half dressing - exaggerated collars and bright colors are critical.
Images via Zadig & Voltaire Fall 2021; Markarian Fall 2021; Iceberg Fall 2021
3. The minimalist style
32% of white button down shirt arrivals have sold out at full price - most notably at H&M, Aritzia and Mango. Of these styles, linen, cotton and poplin are among the most commonly used words. Oversized is also a popular term used to describe these tops, a silhouette depicted across retailer emails like Whistles and Lulu's - a shape that is also backed by the runway. Short sleeve styles are currently favored, making up 56% of the sold out products.
Images via Whistles Email UK - Jun 2, 2021 and Lulu's Email US - Jun 14, 2021
Customer closets will be full of basics by fall, so give them another reason to come back and shop your best sellers with a twist. For future seasons, roll out core designs in fresh colors and patterns, and rework this minimalistic top with deconstructed designs and feminine details to create hero pieces - see ADEAM and Adam Lippes for inspiration.
Images via ADEAM Fall 2021; Adam Lippes Fall 2021; Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini Fall 2021
4. The layered style
In the US and UK, 33% and 22% of blazers sold out without a discount, demonstrating the demand for this outerwear style is stronger in the US. Of these styles, neutrals made up 28% in both markets, with brights of greens, pinks and oranges showing a higher sell out rate in the UK - evidence that more colorful versions captured the UK shopper. Retailer emails spotlight blazers for wear to work collections - brands like Banana Republic focus on classic black styles while trend-led brand Revolve features summery pastel shades.
Images via Banana Republic Email US - Apr 30, 2021 and Revolve Email US - May 3, 2021
Longer-lined silhouettes are commonly communicated, while all lengths show success in the market. Cropped styles moved quickly at Bershka, and H&M had success with oversized designs. These shapes will continue to trend, so be inspired by designers like Eudon Choi, who reworked the garment to create something unique.
Images via Eudon Choi Fall 2021; Giambattista Valli Fall 2021; Fendi Fall 2021
5. The casual style
Customers are still looking for comfortable options, even when picking out jeans, which is why retailers like Madewell are promoting relaxed designs. However, when looking at styles that have sold out without a discount, only 2% of jeans in both regions are categorized as wide-leg. In the US, mom jeans have sold out the most at 4%, while skinny jeans make up 6% of the sold out denim in the UK.
Images via Madewell Email US - Apr 2, 2021 and Mint Velvet Email UK - Apr 18, 2021
Other than shades of blue, white is the color most often endorsed by retailer emails, and is the third favored color following blue and black in both regions. Get inspired by Marine Serre's red patchwork jean for Fall 2021. Across designers this runway season, boot-cut and flared styles were popular, feeding into the nostalgic 70s theme that will carry through the fall season - consider repositioning your 70s-inspired designs for workwear edits.
Images via Kimhekim Fall 2021; Beatrice .b Fall 2021; Marine Serre Fall 2021
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