Our First-Ever Style Forecast Predicts Style and Shopping Trends for 2022

Posted by Stitch Fix
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  • The new year is just around the corner, and with it comes an opportunity for reflection, renewal and reinvigoration. For many, this is especially welcome after a challenging past couple of years — perhaps that explains why so many shoppers are eager to refresh their wardrobes. Two-thirds (67%) of people are likely to replace about a third of their clothes on average, with 33% of that group planning to replace half or more.¹ But what exactly will these revamped wardrobes include?

    Using feedback and sales performance data from our 4.2 million clients, insight from our thousands of expert Stylists and consumer research, we’ve identified a number of the hottest style and shopping trends for 2022 in our inaugural Stitch Fix Style Forecast. Read on for a high-level overview of our findings, and check out the full report for more!

    Business Comfort is the future of workwear

    As more and more Americans head back into the workplace, requests for professional attire are taking off. After a year-plus of lounging in work-from-home favorites like leggings and hoodies, however, people have sworn off the stiff workwear of years past — so much so that one-third say they’d prefer a 10% pay cut over having to get dressed up for work every day.¹ Business suits, button-downs and dress pants are on the outs, with items like oversized stretch blazers, elastic-waist bottoms, sweater dresses and “knoven” (knit + woven) tops taking their place. This new category, which we’ve dubbed “Business Comfort,” proves that you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for professional polish.

    Denim & dresses return to the daily wardrobe

    Sweatpants may still have a place in our hearts, but not as much in our day-to-day wardrobes. With the new normal in full swing, people are trading in loungewear for pre-pandemic staples. Denim, for example, is roaring back, with our jeans sales increasing 30% year over year. But style preferences are evolving — skinny jeans are growing slower than any other fit. Women are instead opting for fits like straight leg, with sales up 30% year over year on Stitch Fix, and wide leg, with sales up a whopping 70% during the same time period. Men, on the other hand, are choosing straight leg and relaxed fits.

    Everyday dresses are also thriving — to meet demand for this popular category, we’ve grown our inventory 40% year over year. Some of the top styles include maxi dresses, which grew 60% year over year in sales on Stitch Fix; dresses in natural fabrics like linen, poplin and gauze; and bright, optimistic colors and prints.

    Increasingly out & about

    As restrictions eased, Americans eagerly went out on the town. More than half (55%) of consumers said they were excited to get dressed up to go out, and 44% planned to replace their going-out clothes.1 Stitch Fix sales data supported this finding, as our going out and special occasions category sales grew 50% year over year, with requests related to going out, travel/vacations and events like weddings, graduations and reunions surging. Midi dresses, dressy blouses and wide-leg trousers are particularly popular for women, as are booties and high heels — both of which experienced about a 70% year-over-year sales increase on Stitch Fix.

    Men, meanwhile, are flocking toward dressy denim, with our sales growing nearly 20% year over year. Outerwear is flourishing as well, as our sales grew about 30% year over year. Some of the top men’s outerwear styles include bomber jackets and shirt jackets.

    Cultural moments tie to style influencers

    Amanda Gorman is 2021’s most unexpected style icon, as we saw client requests for headbands surge 600% year over year when she donned a statement headband at President Biden’s January Inauguration. Meanwhile, we’re calling Harry Styles the most stylish celebrity of the year — as client requests mentioning the fashion icon shot up 160% from 2020 after his “Love on Tour” shows kicked off. This is in contrast to 2020, when client celebrity style requests were largely tied to television icons like David Rose (Schitt’s Creek), Beth Harmon (The Queen’s Gambit) and Emily Cooper (Emily in Paris). 

    All-purpose athleisure & performance-focused active

    Athleisure and activewear sales have soared throughout the pandemic, and they’re still going strong and expected to grow. Athleisure is Stitch Fix’s fastest-growing category, with clients favoring pieces that blend in seamlessly with their everyday lives, whether they’re relaxing at home, running errands or traveling. Top-performing athleisure items for women include stretch woven bottoms, jumpsuits and fleeces — which were also popular among men. Other athleisure fixtures for men include retro sneakers and joggers/sweatpants.

    Performance-driven active sales are also skyrocketing, with sales on Stitch Fix growing more than 300% for women and 100% for men year over year. Apparel associated with tennis, golf and hiking is quickly gaining traction, suggesting that clients picked up new sports and activities over the pandemic. Women are gravitating toward styles like skorts and skirts, logowear and bike shorts, while men are embracing hiking shorts, golfing shorts and performance polos.

    Values resonate with shoppers

    Today’s consumers want more than just new items. They also want to shop in accordance with their values — we saw a 22% increase in requests for sustainable and organic materials since 2020, for example — and we’re making that a top priority. In the last year, we’ve become members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), sourced 47% of the main materials in our private label products more sustainably — putting us well on our way toward reaching our goal of 100% by 2025 — and launched Mohnton Made, an exclusive line of sustainable everyday basics.

    The growing number of shoppers looking to support Black-owned businesses, meanwhile, can turn to our Elevate collection, featuring clothing from the six Black-owned brands in the inaugural class of our Elevate program. In addition, 8% of the brands that we onboarded to our Stitch Fix vendor base in 2021 were Black-owned — a figure we’re aiming to double by next year.

    Rethinking the shopping experience

    Moreover, shoppers are looking for a better experience. While they’re eager to refresh their wardrobes, 81% say they want a better way to find clothes that fit them and their lifestyle, as hurdles like not knowing the fit of an item before buying (39%) and hours of scrolling to find what they want (25%) impede on their enjoyment.1 Through our curated Fixes and new online personalized shopping destination, Freestyle, we aim to create a personalized experience that brings the joy back to shopping.

    For more findings from Stitch Fix’s 2022 Style Forecast, including the Stitch Fix Color of the Year, top TikTok trends and kids style predictions, check out the full report.

    ¹ Survey of 1,000 nationally representative US adults by Wakefield Research for Stitch Fix
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