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Survey: The Biggest Fashion Trends Ahead After a Year of Pandemic Dressing

 

2020 was a challenging year, and we’re all happy to be coming out on the other side. COVID-19 impacted nearly every area of our lives, including fashion. Many of us traded our professional wear for sweatpants and stocked up on athleisure galore.  

But as COVID-19 restrictions lift, we wanted to know what people are excited to wear as life returns to ‘normal’. We also wanted to know the lasting impacts (if any) the past 18 months have had on fashion choices; are we sticking with comfy looks or are we getting excited about dressing up again? If so, what are we most excited about wearing next?

To find the answer to those questions and more, we conducted a survey of 600 women throughout the United States. In our findings, we learned that 51% of participants are excited to wear less loungewear in favor of dressier or more put-together fashion choices. Meanwhile, a whopping 67% of participants said COVID-19 related restrictions influenced their fashion choices last year (hello, sweatpants and “Zoom tops”).

As we reflect and look ahead to the rest of 2021 and beyond, what did we learn? What women’s clothing trends are we most excited about for the future? Let’s take a closer look at what you had to say.

COVID-19 Influenced Clothing Purchases

Our survey revealed COVID-19 overwhelmingly influenced participants’ clothing purchases over the last year. Specifically, the pandemic impacted the amount of money people spent on clothing, likely due to a mix of employment uncertainty and spending more time at home. The pandemic also affected what clothing items were purchased while stay-at-home orders and mask mandates were in place across the world.  

Here are a few takeaways:

We Spent Less on Clothing Overall

As COVID-19 drove most of us to stay home more than usual, the majority of participants indicated they spent less money on their wardrobes in 2020.

According to our survey, 69% of the participants said COVID-19 specifically impacted how much they spent on new clothes, while just 31% said the pandemic had no impact on their overall shopping habits.

While we may have spent less money on clothing overall, online shopping increased over the last year, with retail sales increasing 32.4 percent year over year.

We Prioritized Comfort

With a year filled with Zoom calls and social distancing, it’s no secret that people prioritized comfort in 2020.

What clothes did you purchase last? For our participants, loungewear was at the top of the list just behind tops and blouses.

 

  • Tops, blouses: 47%
  • Loungewear: 41%
  • Jeans: 40%
  • Shoes, accessories: 37%
  • Activewear: 33%
  • Pants: 29%
  • Sweaters: 26%
  • Dresses, jumpsuits, skirts: 22%
  • Coats, jackets: 21%
  • Swimwear: 17%

Looking at the specific, leggings, pajamas, and sweats were the most coveted comfy clothes:  

  • Leggings: 54%
  • Pajamas: 53%
  • Sweats: 50%
  • Slippers: 38%
  • Athleisure: 33%
  • Robe: 15%
  • Tracksuits: 8%

As COVID-19 Restrictions Ease, Many Feels It’s Time for a Clothing Refresh

What does all of that mean for 2021, though? Well, as COVID-19 related restrictions ease, we also wanted to see if participants were starting to feel the pull of a clothing refresh. We discovered the majority of participants said yes – 74% to be exact.

Let’s take a closer look at the specific fashion trends participants are most excited to try.

From the Beach to the Office, People Are Looking Forward to Dressing Up for Occasions Again

We can sense the excitement in the air. People are looking forward to wearing that special event dress they’ve been saving, rocking that new work look, and suiting up for vacation. So, we asked participants what events they’re mostlooking forward to this year.  

After a year and a half of unprecedented times, the top-ranking occasions are casual outings and vacations. Though many people are still prioritizing low-key nights in as well.

What are you most looking forward to? 

  • Casual outings: 61%
  • Vacation: 43%
  • Date night: 42%
  • Parties: 34%
  • Loungewear: 29%
  • Beach, pool: 27%
  • Weddings: 21%
  • Work, office: 18%
  • Club, night out: 16%
  • Gym, outdoor: 14%

Classic Button-Downs Are the Fashion Trend We’re Looking Forward to Most

What did we learn about specific pieces that participants want in their wardrobe? The big fashion trends building excitement are classic throwbacks with a few trendier elements thrown in. What do you want most? 

  • Classic button-down shirts: 38%
  • High-waisted pants: 33%
  • Fitted sweaters: 30%
  • Pops of yellow: 24%
  • Statement gold jewelry: 24%
  • Oversized blazers: 17%
  • Headscarves: 17%
  • White boots: 13%
  • Dramatic shoulders: 12%
  • Velvet coats: 12%

A few fashion choices participants are most eager to wear are classic button-down shirts, high-waisted pants, and gold statement jewelry. If you’re looking to refresh your wardrobe, try this effortless cotton gauze button-down, which is a twist on a classic. Pair it with your favorite high-waisted pants and a chunky gold necklace.  

Pastels and Tie-Dye Are the Summer Fashion Trends Garnering the Most Interest

Summer is in full swing, and we’re elated to be spending time outdoors. Even better, summer fashion trends are in full bloom too.

The summer fashion trends participants are most interested in:

  • Tie-dye: 35%
  • Pastels: 34%
  • Peasant dresses: 30%
  • Slip dresses: 27%
  • Wide-leg pants/trousers: 24%
  • Cropped shirts: 24%
  • Sheer details: 16%
  • Eyelet details: 15%
  • Scalloped trim: 14%
  • Puff sleeves: 13%

After a challenging year and a half, it’s no surprise people are looking to bring some brightness into their lives – and what better way than with your wardrobe?

Luckily, incorporating summer fashion trends like pastels and tie-dye is easy. For a trip to the beach or pool, you can rock a fun tie-dye kimono. Meanwhile, this pastel tie-dye capri lounge set is great for a casual outing. If you want to mix style and comfort, peasant dresses like the Vienna Buttercup maxi dress are great for an everyday outfit or slightly fancier events.

Color Blocking Will Be Front and Center This Fall

As we head towards the fall, we also wanted to see what trends participants are looking forward to the most when the weather cools off. Color blocking details look like they’ll be at the top of the list.

The fall fashion trends participants are most interested in:

  • Color blocking: 31%
  • Drop waist midi dresses: 30%
  • Printed tights: 30%
  • Sweater vests: 22%
  • Colorful leather: 22%
  • Quilted textures: 20%
  • Leopard-print coat: 17%
  • Fair Isle knits: 17%
  • Sequin details: 15%
  • Snakeskin boots: 12%

Want easy color-blocking pieces you can add to your fall wardrobe? This knit color block top is a fun starting point. With midi dresses ranking high too, this midi color block dress is perfectly on-trend. You can even add color block detail into your accessories with our straw purse.

Refresh Your Wardrobe With Dressbarn

Whether you’re looking to refresh your wardrobe with this year’s trendiest pieces or want to stock up on timeless clothing, you can find what you’re looking for at Dressbarn.

Shop our new arrivals and check out the Dressbarn blog for helpful tips and tricks on all things women’s fashion. 


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