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Stitch Fix reveals its 2022 style and shopping forecasts

By Rachel Douglass

16 Dec 2021

Retail

Image: Cam Morin via Unsplash

Online personal styling site Stitch Fix has revealed its predictions for 2022’s style and shopping trends, in its inaugural style forecast report. Among it, the platform looks into consumers’ changing shopping habits, the rise of “Business Comfort” and the return of the jeans. It additionally highlighted consumer frustrations with traditional online shopping, such as browsing time and fit.

Data from the report stems from Stitch Fix’s extensive network of stylists and clients that use its platform, alongside customer surveys and industry data compiled by the company’s data science teams, style feedback and purchase information.

On the new report, Stitch Fix CEO, Elizabeth Spaulding said: “We hope the Style Forecast offers fashion perspective beyond the runway trends to help people and our brand partners better understand what’s trending in everyday life as we head into the new year and embrace a ‘new normal’ together.”

The big wardrobe clearout and the rise of Business Comfort

According to the report, 67 percent of US-based customers stated they plan on replacing one-third of their wardrobe, while 33 percent planned on replacing at least half. More specifically, nearly four in five millennials have said they are likely to refresh their wardrobe in the coming year.

Of respondees, over half of both male and female clients said their personal style had changed during the pandemic, a figure that is backed by the rise in lifestyle-specific clothing trends that have come to light in this time. The report stated that 77 percent of respondents have turned away from business clothes, while nearly half are looking to “ditch” business suits. The move resulted in Stitch Fix adopting a new category to its site, “Business Comfort”, which has emerged as a trend that prioritises both comfort and formality. The look can be seen in the increasing popularity of sweater dresses, oversized blazers and elastic-waist bottoms.

Meanwhile, athleisure has remained as the platforms fastest-growing category, seeing the blossoming of performance-driven active sales. The popularity of tennis, golf and hiking has contributed to the trend of skorts, bike shorts, hiking shorts and performance polos.

The return of jeans and nights out

Jeans and dresses are thriving once again, according to Stitch Fix, which reported an increase in 30 percent year over year (YOY) on the two-legged denim staple. While wide-leg jeans started to grow, skinny jeans faced the brunt of Gen Z TikTok, who declared the style to be “over”. Dresses were also a thriving category, with the platform growing the inventory by 40 percent to meet demand. Topping the charts were maxi dresses, garments in natural fabrics, like linen, and bright, optimistic colours.

As lockdowns begin to ease, one thing on many customers’ minds was the return of nights out and special occasions. More than half of the report’s participants stated they were excited to get dressed up to go out, with Gen Z, in particular, looking to update their special occasion wardrobe. The figures were supported by Stitch Fix’s 50 percent YOY increase in the category, alongside the growth in occasion footwear.

Personalised shopping

A substantial 81 percent of respondents said they desire a better way to find clothes that fit them and their lifestyle, however, many expressed their frustrations with typical online shopping experiences. Much of their reasonings stemmed from the hours spent scrolling to find what they want and not knowing the fit before they buy.

Stitch Fix also recorded a 22 percent request increase for sustainable and organic materials from its clients, emphasising the increasing importance of eco-friendly products and values in shopping.

The report concluded: “The Style Forecast considers the opportunity for retailers to deliver the things that matter most to people right now in a shopping experience, like matching them to their perfect fit, aligning purchases with their values and offering expert guidance - without overwhelming them.”

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