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Miniskirts and Trousers Vie for a Slice of Denim’s Market Share

Denim’s biggest rivals this summer are miniskirts and trousers.

Despite retailers investing in more shorts than skirts, retail analytics firm Edited said the latter equaled a greater proportion of sellouts, propelled by hype for the thigh-skimming skirt silhouette.

“While inherently relaxed styles like Bermudas and biking styles grew, denim plummeted. The material made up 18 percent of new shorts in 2019 versus 16 percent this year, while in skirts, it dropped from 11 percent to 5 percent as satin, ruched and wrap styles prevailed,” Edited said.

An offshoot of 2020’s tennis skirt craze, the miniskirt is enjoying a comeback thanks to demand for post-pandemic partywear, Y2K silhouettes and Pamcore hallmarks. Its prosperous fate was sealed when Miu Miu broke fashion’s high-waist, midi-length obsession with its Spring/Summer 2022 low-rise pleated miniskirts—skirts so short that exposed pocket bags are now an international symbol of cool girls everywhere.

The skirt is also part of the preppy trope driven by Gen Z fashionistas. July data from Trendalytics indicates a 193 percent year-over-year increase in searches for “preppy.”

“One key takeaway from [Haute] Couture [Fashion] Week’s street style and runway was the grungy schoolgirl aesthetic. Brands like Miu Miu and Marc Jacobs have been key players in translating this trend from the runway to red carpet,” Trendalytics stated in a recent report.

While dressier fabrications are trending, denim miniskirts are finding a home in Western and festival edits. Denim miniskirts are also a main part of Citizen of Humanity’s and Agolde’s Holiday 2022 collections, offered in evening-friendly black denim and recycled leather options.

Meanwhile, trousers are emerging as the top-selling subcategory within bottoms, driven by demand for items that are both casual and formal. Edited reported that sellouts for trousers rose four percentage points to 34 percent while jean sellouts dipped 8 percentage points compared to 2019 levels.

“As trousers captured a high percentage of customer spending, jean sell outs dipped below pre-pandemic levels,” it said.

Miniskirts and Trousers Vie for a
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All trousers are not created equal, however. Straight and wide-leg tailored trousers outsold casual cargo pants even though the utilitarian style has “seen a significant uptake” with sellouts growing 285 percent compared to 2019.

Retailers, Edited noted, are also making moves to avoid “loungewear fatigue” by bringing new arrivals of sweatpants back to pre-pandemic levels.