Consumers have found comfort in apparel and footwear for 2021, as ‘wear to work’ fashion is redefined to fit people spending more time at home.
Overall, apparel sales declined 19 percent in 2020 in the US, while ‘comfy cozy’ categories such as sweatpants grew 17 percent. Sleepwear rose 6 percent, and sports bras grew by 10 percent, according to new data.
Similarly, fashion footwear sales, including heels, sandals, and boots, declined by 27 percent for the year, while slippers grew 21 percent and clogs by 33 percent, according to NPD in a press release.
The survey also found that 70 percent of consumers plan to dress more casually than before the pandemic once they return to work and other activities.
The year saw a transition away from traditional items such as blazers, dresses, suits, heels, and more towards hybrid alternatives such as loungewear, cardigans, and loose-fitting trousers.
“Is there still such a thing as house clothes in this time of Covid-19? Our wardrobes for different occasions have essentially blurred into one, and today’s consumers are purchasing outfits that are interchangeable and versatile for various needs,” said Maria Rugolo, NPD’s apparel industry analyst.
“Once consumers do return to pre-pandemic routines and activities, the demand will be even higher for hybrid clothing intertwining dress and comfort.”
With comfy clothes taking center stage for 2021, big brands must adapt to consumers’ needs without tarnishing their brand heritage and identity.
Beth Goldstein, NPD’s fashion footwear and accessories analyst, said: “Being at home has become a lifestyle in itself. Brands have an opportunity to capitalize on the more casual, comfort-focused features that consumers have become accustomed to wearing inside of the home and adapt for use outside of the home.”
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