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Tie-Dye Loungewear Wins Socially Distanced Spring, Trend Data Says

While brands may have forecasted fun floral frocks or breezy denim and streetwear as the trends to define this spring season, the retail sector is now contending with new consumer appetites for stay-at-home staples.

Shoppers have entered an undeniable new era in the wake of COVID-19. While Spring/Summer 2020 may not have materialized into the sartorial moment it could have been outside of a pandemic, the industry is capitalizing on new opportunities to make sales.

A report from Trendalytics released this week revealed top consumer trends from March, and the landscape is drastically different than retailers what could have anticipated.

Given the circumstances, loungewear is having an understandably momentous effect on shoppers, who have been largely barred from office jobs and are instead working from the comfort of their couches.

Demand for the category is up 132 percent from the same period in 2019, manifesting mainly in dreamy tie dye sets. Tie-dye sweatpants have skyrocketed in popularity by a 2,400 percent, while joggers have jumped by 1,954 percent. Tie dye sweatshirts have also proven a must-have with homebound shoppers, seeing a 473 percent lift from last year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has urged all Americans to wear face coverings if they must venture out, but shortages of medical-grade N95 masks and even non-medical disposable masks have forced consumers to get creative.

Crafty shoppers are looking to do-it-yourself (DIY) alternatives for their personal protection, Trendalytics analysts say, with 4,277 percent more frequency than they were last year, before the pandemic struck.

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While shoppers may be spending their days in isolation, they’re not willing to completely phone it in when it comes to style. Fashion-forward knitwear has surged in popularity, like tie-front cardigans, which saw a 267 percent lift from last year, and cropped cardigans, which saw 116 percent more searches.

Though Zoom meetings mostly capture workers from the waist up, shoppers haven’t forgotten about their bottom halves. Satin shorts have ballooned in popularity by 248 percent from this time in 2019, and cropped sweatpants have seen 258 percent more interest.

Stilettos and even sneakers are likely gathering dust in shoppers’ closets, but plush slippers are proving a popular purchase, even in the spring months. The category is up 39 percent from the same period last year, and celeb favorite sandal-slipper silhouette, Ugg’s Fluff Yeah, has seen an 82 percent increase in searches.

Slides that feature a slingback silhouette for rare moments out of doors have also seen a considerable 533 percent growth rate, while fuzzy slides are up 42 percent.

Trendalytics has released its latest trend report, showing that coronavirus conditions have prompted new shopping behaviors from consumers.
Graphic sweaters saw 160 percent more searches, and color-blocked options were up 41 percent in March. Shutterstock

Male shoppers aren’t exempt from the desire for a wardrobe refresh to accompany their new lifestyles.

While hasn’t seen the same degree of growth as the women’s category, men’s lounge wear saw a healthy 38 percent year-over-year lift, reaching a five-year high.

Interest in specific at-home items grew steadily for male consumers. Men’s pajama tops saw 87 percent growth, while lounge shorts saw increased searches of 48 percent.

On average, analysts said, there are 4,000 weekly searches for men’s lounge wear, and social buzz has grown 500 percent since spring of last year.

For guys who want to look professional while video-conferencing, no-fuss shirting has proven an attractive option. Non-iron dress shirts saw a 10 percent increase from 2019, while extra slim fit shirts proved especially popular, increasing in searches by 73 percent. Men are gravitating to brands like Buttoned Down, Roundtree & Yorke, Nordstrom and Banana Republic for these finds.

Men are also upping their sweater game in isolation. While preppy cable knits are decidedly out, dropping in sales by 22 percent, men are opting instead for more fashion forward options. Graphic sweaters saw 160 percent more searches, and color-blocked options were up 41 percent in March.

Men are also looking to eco-friendly denim as a means of staying comfortable, yet relatively ready for action, at home. Sustainable denim saw 123 percent more searches from male consumers, while sustainable jeans saw a 195 percent increase. The category is predicted to grow with 90 percent confidence over the next six months, analysts said, and brands like Levi’s, ASOS and Cheap Monday led the pack.