The emotional toll of a pandemic and the pop culture distractions that have provided some respite are weighing on fashion trends and the themes consumers are gravitating toward in 2022.
Trendalytics explores what’s to come this year in various consumer markets in a new “Top 100” trending report. Using data from November 2021, the commodity intelligence firm says these trends show “continued or stable growth” over the next year with 65-75% confidence.
While unwavering “hearts” and retro themes speak to the evasive nature of pandemic fashion, the demand for functionality and comfort highlights how pragmatic consumers are navigating these uncertain times. Here, Trendalytics offers a deeper look at how these factors and more influence styles, silhouettes, and accessories that are in high demand.
Trending themes in women’s fashion range from modest to revealing, and a heavy dose of nostalgia is present throughout.
Mimicking the bare-bones looks worn by Gen Z and the millennial cast of HBO’s hit “Euphoria” and the wave of party wear catwalk designers (perhaps prematurely) showcased on their 2021 runways, the “less it’s more” will filter through women’s clothing, Trendalytics said. “Cropped hems, cutouts, and sheer fabrics increase sex appeal,” the report says.
Micro-miniskirts and lace turtlenecks are among the key “overexposed” items, while the cut-out mini dress, with searches up 263%, is the key piece to watch. Lace-up tops and sequin tops are particularly popular in the plus size women’s category, up 334% and 89%, respectively.
Stockings with slits are also on the rise. Searches for side slit skirts are up 116%, while searches for slit dresses and slit pants are also seeing double-digit increases. Year 2000 elements are part of this “skin is in” mentality. Trendalytics reports that searches for “2000s fashion” have increased by 122%. Low-rise flared jeans and low-rise skirts are the key pieces.
Meanwhile, the 70s flare jeans are gaining momentum in the plus size women’s category. Searches for the retro cut increased by 43%.
Cheerful fashion, in general, will continue to lift consumers out of their pandemic wardrobe meltdown in 2022. Searches for Carrie Bradshaw-approved tulle midi skirts are up 158%; sequined pants were up 147% and trimmed dresses were up 138%. Glamorous cocktail and evening dresses are gaining traction in the plus size category. Searches for plus size special occasion dresses, cocktail dresses and evening dresses grew by double digits.
Dopamine-inducing designs are part of the next phase of cottagecore as the theme evolves out of nap dress. “Women are bringing their cottagecore fantasies to life with whimsical wardrobes full of chunky silhouettes and forest patterns,” Trendalytics said. Example: searches for Strawberry Vests increased by 178%.
When the second season of Netflix’s “Bridgerton” hits the streaming service in March, fans will be ready to dress the role in “elegant attire from eras past,” according to the report. Searches for jacquard mini dresses have increased by 369%, while brocade corsets and coats are also seeing healthy growth. Strapless tops stand out in the plus size segment, with searches up 181%, along with puff sleeve dresses, empire waist dresses and ruffled dresses.
This romantic aesthetic is evident in the dressing of the goddess. Echoing recent data from Pinterest that points to a Greek revival, Trendalytics reported that searches for “goddess” dresses and “Greek” dresses increased by 17% and 29%, respectively. Demand for “draped” dresses increased by 79%.
Overall, a new version of girl power is emerging. “No longer yearning for the masculine gaze, women are finding what makes them confident, embracing oversized silhouettes and confident staples,” according to the report. Wide trousers, oversized blouses and knits are at the heart of this theme, along with new proportions. Searches for cropped shearling jackets increased by 181% and cropped blazers by 120%. In the plus-size category, Trendalytics reports a shift to wardrobe basics with a hint of prep. Cropped jeans and cardigans are emerging staples, while searches for polo shirts have increased by 239%.
2022 accessories themes closely reflect fashion trends.
Stage-stealing items like glitter heels, rhinestone heels and crystal jewelry satiate the party-loving consumer looking for the year 2000. High heels and platform shoes – a style that Versace revived with its Medusa Auvitas platform pumps at $1,295 – are also grabbing attention. Searches for platform loafers increased by 154%, while platform heels increased by 57%.
“Pearlcore”, a trend that connects to cottagecore and regencycore, leads to a 150% increase in searches for pearly heels. Interest in beaded handbags and chain necklaces is also growing. For a more understated approach to royal attire, Trendalytics reports that women are looking for long gloves (up 26%) as well as French pins and beaded bags, up 26 and 41%, 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%), clog sandals (up 85%) and mushroom earrings (up 76%) represents “the intersection of foraging and fashion,” Trendalytics said. The demand for handmade items is also increasing. Searches for crocheted bags increased by 104% and braided bracelets by 55%.
Interest in modern classics and architectural jewelry complements fashion’s new approach to proportion. Searches for croissant bags increased by 158%, while searches for croissant rings increased by 77%. Orb rings, cabochon rings and large hoops are also on the rise. This new generation of minimalist accessories “became an instant classic and will be around for years to come,” according to the report.
Cozy fashion isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Searches for cushioned sandals have increased by 547%, and the growing demand for high heels and high heels confirms that this sensible approach to footwear is sustainable.
Trendalytics paints a similar picture for menswear, drawing inspiration from prep, the outdoors, and decades past.
“No longer just for sportsmen, varsity team essentials are moving out of the locker room and into the men’s closets,” according to the report. Searches for varsity cardigans increased by 306%, and varsity jackets and letterman jackets both saw double-digit growth. This college-inspired theme is seeing a surge in demand for “cool-kid” knitted polo shirts, corduroy shirts and penny loafers.
On the other end of the generational spectrum, Trendalytics said “grandpacore” is the new normcore release for 2022. Searches for items like oversized cardigans (up 173%), grandpa sweaters (up up 157%) and relaxed jeans (up 5%) reveal a shift towards unassuming fashion that pairs well with second-hand finds.
Practicality and function continue to be factors in men’s clothing. Demand for items such as carpenter jeans (up 38%), utility pants (up 35%) and cargo jackets (up 20%) underscores the popularity of utility fashion. Cozy items like plaid jackets, flannel overshirts and military jackets echo this return to a traditional approach to clothing. Consumers are also looking for more technical items, which gorpcore has helped generalize. Searches for sun protective clothing increased by 30%, while searches for sports vests increased by 20%.
More daring consumers, however, find pleasure in retro patterns, prints and cuts. Searches for men’s floral suits are up 62%, while patterned shirts and pants are also up. Meanwhile, searches for flared pants for men have increased by 147%. Interest in Harry Styles-approved heeled boots is up 67%, while huggie earrings (up 99%) and crossbody bag (up 31%) are accessories to watch .
“Men are embracing the art of dressing, bringing mood boards to life with fashionable styles that blur outdated gender norms,” the report says.