The emotional toll of a pandemic, and the pop culture distractions that have provide some respite, weigh on the fashion trends and themes consumers are gravitating toward in 2022.
Trendalytics explores what’s to come this year across various consumer markets in a new its “Top 100” trend report. Using November 2021 data, the product intelligence company says these trends exhibit “continued or stable growth” over the next year with 65-75 percent confidence.
While unwavering “cores” and retro themes speak to the escapist nature of pandemic fashion, the demand for function and comfort underscores how pragmatic consumers are navigating this uncertain time. Here, Trendalytics offers a closer look at how these factors and more are influencing the styles, silhouettes and accessories in high demand.
Trending themes in women’s fashion span modest to revealing, and a heavy-handed dose of nostalgia runs throughout.
Mimicking the skin-baring looks worn by the Gen Z and millennial cast of HBO’s hit “Euphoria” and the wave of partywear that runway designers (perhaps prematurely) presented on their 2021 catwalks, the “less is more” approach will filter across women’s wear, Trendalytics said. “Shortened hems, cut outs, and sheer fabrics amp up the sex appeal,” the report stated.
Micro miniskirts and lace turtlenecks are among the key “overexposed” items, while the cutout mini dress, with searches up 263 percent, is the standout piece to watch. Lace-up tops and sequin tops are particularly popular in the women’s plus size category, up 334 percent and 89 percent, respectively.
Bottoms with slits are also on the upswing. Searches for side slit skirts are up 116 percent, while searches for high slit dresses and slit pants are also seeing double-digit increases. Elements from Y2K fit into this “skin is in” mentality. Trendalytics reports that searches for “2000s fashion” are up 122 percent. Low-rise flare jeans and low-rise skirts are the breakout items.
Meanwhile, the ’70s flare jean is picking up momentum in the women’s plus size category. Searches for the retro fit are up 43 percent.
Joyful fashion, in general, will continue to push consumers out of their pandemic wardrobe slump in 2022. Searches for Carrie Bradshaw-approved tulle midi skirts are up 158 percent; sequin trousers up 147 percent and feature trim dresses up 138 percent. Glam cocktail and party dresses are gaining momentum in the plus size category. Searches for plus size special occasion dresses, cocktail dresses and party dresses have seen double-digit growth.
Dopamine-inducing designs are part of the next phase of cottagecore as the theme evolves out of the nap dress. “Women are bringing their cottagecore fantasies to life with whimsical wardrobes full of voluminous silhouettes and forest motifs,” Trendalytics stated. Case in point: searches for strawberry vests are up 178 percent.
When the second season of Netflix’s “Bridgerton” hits the streaming service in March, fans will be prepared to dress the part in “elegant attire from eras past,” according to the report. Searches for jacquard mini dresses are up 369 percent, while corset tops and brocade coats are also seeing healthy growth. Strapless tops are a standout in the plus size segment, with searches up 181 percent, as well as puff sleeve dresses, empire waist dresses and ruffle dresses.
This romantic aesthetic is evident in goddess dressing. Echoing recent data from Pinterest that points to a Greek revival, Trendalytics reported that searches for “goddess” dresses and “Grecian” dresses are up 17 percent and 29 percent, respectively. Demand for “draped” dresses is up 79 percent.
In general, a new version of girl power is emerging. “No longer yearning for the male gaze, women are finding what makes them confident, embracing oversized silhouettes and self-assured staples,” according to the report. Wide-leg trousers, oversized blouses and knits are key to this theme, as well as new proportions. Searches for cropped shearling jackets are up 181 percent, and cropped blazers are up 120 percent. In the plus size category, Trendalytics reports a shift to wardrobe-building basics with a hint of prep. Cropped jeans and cardigans are emerging staples, while searches for polo shirts are up 239 percent.
Themes in 2022 accessories closely mirror fashion trends.
Scene-stealing items like sparkly heels, rhinestone heels and crystal jewelry satiate the party-going, Y2K-chasing consumer. Sky high heels and platform shoes—a style Versace revived with its $1,295 Medusa Auvitas platform pumps—are commanding attention as well. Searches for platform loafers are up 154 percent, while platform heels are up 57 percent.
“Pearlcore,” a trend that connects to cottagecore and regencycore, is resulting in a 150 percent spike in searches for pearl heels. Interest in pearl handbags and chain necklaces is also growing. For a more on-the-nose take on regal dressing, Trendalytics reports that women are searching for long gloves (up 26 percent) as well as French pins and beaded bags, up 26 and 41 percent, respectively.
A good guess is that the same consumer searching for strawberry vests is also looking for forest-inspired accessories. Interest in raffia bags (up 103 percent), clog sandals (up 85 percent) and mushroom earrings (up 76 percent) represents the “intersection of foraging and fashion,” Trendalytics stated. Demand for handmade items is also climbing. Searches for crochet totes are up 104 percent and braided bracelets up 55 percent.
Interest in modern classics and architectural jewelry complement fashion’s new approach to proportions. Searches for croissant bags are up 158 percent, while searches for croissant rings are up 77 percent. Orb rings, cabochon rings and big hoop earrings are also gaining momentum. This new crop of minimalist accessories has “become instant classics, and will be here for years to come,” according to the report.
Comfortable fashion isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Searches for pillow sandals are up 547 percent, and the growing demand for kitten and block heels confirms that this sensible approach to footwear has staying power.
Trendalytics paints a similar picture for men’s wear, culling inspiration from prep, the outdoors and past decades.
“No longer just for jocks, varsity team essentials are making their way out of the locker room and into men’s closets,” according to the report. Searches for varsity cardigans are up 306 percent, and varsity jackets and letterman jackets have both seen double-digit growth. This academia-inspired theme is striking an uptick in demand for “cool-kid” knitted polo shirts, corduroy shirts and penny loafers as well.
On the other end of the generational spectrum, Trendalytics said “grandpacore” is the new version of normcore for 2022. Searches for items like oversized cardigans (up 173 percent), grandpa sweaters (up 157 percent) and relaxed jeans (up 5 percent) reveal a shift toward unpretentious fashion that mixes well with thrifted finds.
Practicality and function continue to be factors in men’s wear. Demand for items like carpenter jeans (up 38 percent), utility pants (up 35 percent) and cargo jackets (up 20 percent) underscores the popularity of utilitarian fashion. Cozy items like plaid shackets, flannel overshirts and field jackets echo this return to a traditional approach to dressing. Consumers are also looking for more technical items that gorpcore has helped go mainstream. Searches for sun protective clothing are up 30 percent, while searches for athletic vests are up 20 percent.
Bolder consumers, however, are finding enjoyment with patterns, prints and retro fits. Searches for men’s floral suits are up 62 percent, while patterned shirts and patterned pants are also seeing gains. Meanwhile, searches for men’s flared pants are up 147 percent. Interest in Harry Styles-approved heel boots is up 67 percent, while huggie earrings (up 99 percent) and crossbody bag (up 31 percent) are accessories to watch.
“Men are embracing the art of dressing, bringing mood boards to life with trendy styles that blur antiquated gender norms,” the report stated.