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In Fashion, It’s Hip to Be Square This Summer

There is no singular uniform for Summer 2020. While images of backless dresses and farm fashion duke it out across social media, recent data by global fashion search platform Lyst indicates that consumers are finding a middle ground between the two sartorial extremes.

A major confluence of these trends is the rise of square necklines—a clavicle-baring yet modest design element that dates back to the 1800s. Though this milkmaid-inspired fashion trend has filtered across tiers of women’s fashion for the past 18 months, Zoom meetings and FaceTime hangouts have led to a renewed focus on necklines.

Fashion searches related to the keyword “square neck” have been growing consistently, Lyst stated, up 61 percent month-on-month. Specifically, online shoppers are searching for tops, dresses and even swimwear with square necklines.

The term “square neck puff sleeve” had been searched over 1,000 times in June. Meanwhile, terms such as “square neck tank top” and “square neck smock dress” are on the rise as well, Lyst reported.

Another modest trend is sweeping across footwear.

Searches for ballet flats have seen a significant increase since the start of June and are currently up 24 percent week-on-week, Lyst stated. When it comes to the shape, however, one style stands out—the square-toe. Since the start of June, searches for square-toe ballet flats have increased 50 percent.

The trend bodes well for traditional luxury houses. Chanel’s classic ballet flats are the most coveted style, followed by Ferragamo and Tory Burch.

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In general, dresses remain the second-most-wanted category after sneakers, but there’s one style that is breaking off from the pack. Searches for ribbed knit maxi dresses continue to rise and are up 13 percent week-on-week, according to Lyst. In terms of colors, nudes and earth tones are the most in demand for the body-hugging fabrication.

The trend is consistent with the uptick in interest in Cult Gaia’s $458 Serita dress—a ribbed knit maxi dress with a bra-like top and a bare back—that is captivating online searches among female consumers. Buzz for the dress escalated during the week of June 3, as Lyst saw searches for the “Cult Gaia dresses” increase 41 percent week-on-week.

Style watchers are also taking a walk on the wild side. Searches for safari jackets have spiked 85 percent week-on-week, Lyst reported, with those that include belts receiving the most views. “Short sleeved” is the term most commonly used alongside these searches.

Over the last three months, searches for zebra print have increased 46 percent with a focus on ankle boots and trousers, Lyst reported.
Khaite Masato Onoda/WWD/Shutterstock

Though animal prints at this point are as common as polka dots and checks, there’s a new breed dominating the kingdom. Over the past three months, searches for zebra print have increased 46 percent with a focus on ankle boots and trousers, Lyst reported.

The trend is helping brands-to-watch Khaite and Marine Serre earn their stripes. Lyst data shows that zebra-printed ankle boots by the two labels are the most-viewed items online.