The early days of 2022 saw shoppers emerging from two long years of dressing in athleisure and pandemic-approved cozy-wear. But as the year unfolded, Nordstrom saw customers swapping sweats for smart tailoring, leaving leggings behind in favor of colorful sets, mod details and comfortably polished yet unfussy footwear. It was official: Occasion dressing was back in full effect.
The department store retailer rounded up a few of the year’s top trends based on its customer behavior as a look back on how 2022 fashion played out.
Professor Karen Pine from the University of Hertfordshire undertook a study that found that what women choose to wear is heavily dependent on their emotional state. When she investigated this in 2012, she found that participants who wore clothes of symbolic value to them, their perceived confidence increased. Thus, the theory of “dopamine dressing,” coined by fashion psychologist Dr. Dawn Karen, was born.
“This finding shows that clothing doesn’t just influence others, it reflects and influences the wearer’s mood too,” Pine said. “Many of the women in this study felt they could alter their mood by changing what they wore. This demonstrates the psychological power of clothing and how the right choices could influence a person’s happiness.”
The study found that “happy” clothes, ones that made women feel good, were well-cut, figure-enhancing, and made from brightly colored fabrics. Essentially, the anthesis of jeans. Though the study is 10 years old, dopamine dressing took over TikTok this year, embracing trends like royal-core and 2000s nostalgia.
The scientifically proven mood-boosting trend brought with it a return to femininity, with brands like Zimmerman and Erdem giving an opportunity to dress in color, florals and ruffles. Nordstrom shoppers were drawn to feminine footwear with details to match “Bridgerton“-inspired royal-core and Y2K, with brands like Mach & Mach, Prada, Loewe and Miu Miu serving up novelty and newness.
Bright and bold
Bright, eye-catching pieces in vibrant hues were spotted everywhere, a clear shift toward embracing joyful color, whether it was a bright blazer or a megawatt monochromatic look. The same can be said of accessories; playful and bold jewelry, belts, bags and other outfit-completing add-ons were one of the most prominent trends Nordstrom saw this year, and it seems to have staying power.
The pandemic-induced rise in casual—and comfortable—dressing still lingers on. So it’s no surprise the retailer saw tailoring take a softer and looser silhouette, adding a sense of ease as people headed back to the office.
Nordstrom noted that the newness customers were looking for was polished, but not fully buttoned-up. Loafers, ballerinas, and even edgy sneakers replaced the old office pump.
A nod to ’60s mod
Like all good trends, the 1960s style has come full circle. From tweed textures, well-tailored mini hemlines and chic color palettes to full-on mod details, the ‘60s were all about high hemlines and structured shapes.
“Some of our best brands brought to life the ’60s prep trend for this fall 2022 season,” Kate Bellman, senior managing editor of Nordstrom, said. “Brands such as Topshop, Scotch & Soda and L’Agence made the trend wearable in an office environment with their knitted cardigans, textured tweeds and menswear plaids. Also taking space for special occasions, Self Portrait and Alice & Olivia made their mark with a preppy twist on mini skirts and sets with shiny hardware and fun colors.”
Nordstrom said its customers are enjoying a moment of appreciating investment pieces that will be in their wardrobes for years to come. Wise purchases that stand the test of time through their modern, yet timeless design left customers feeling good about making elevated purchases as a more sustainable choice (considering their longer shelf life).
The retailer continued to expand its offerings under Sustainable Style, a shoppable category to help customers find responsibly manufactured products made with sustainably sourced materials and part of a give-back program. This year, Nordstrom added brands with products that qualify for Sustainable Style, including Allbirds and Pangaia.
“For 2023, I’m looking forward to the re-emergence of classicism in the trend cycle,” Bellman said. “From sharp blazers to wide-leg trousers to reimagined trench coats, timeless pieces are not only just a good investment, but they’re surfacing as key fashion must-haves as well.”