Post-COVID Planning: Optimistic Opulence or Minimalist Uniform?

Over the past few weeks, nearly 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment as nonessential businesses have been ordered to close. Stimulus checks, unemployment benefits, and wage subsidies for employers will sustain spending, but consumer confidence dropped 12.6-points between mid-February and mid-March and will only continue to do so over the coming weeks, according to The Conference Board’s Global Consumer Confidence Index.

Consumers are likely to express their attitude toward global developments in different ways: some will prioritize purchasing seasonless basics, while others will seek an escape through lavish expression. Before coronavirus, capsule wardrobe dressing and an emphasis on fanciful details were two of the more prominent trends spotted on the FW20 runway. Many designers adopted a “less, but better” and “made to last” mentality, focusing on seasonless elevated basics. The Row embodied this aesthetic, as they do each season, while Marc Jacobs pivoted to minimalism after showing a much more eclectic and optimistic collection last season.

History has shown that in times of darkness, people gravitate towards glamour as a form of escapism. Whether it’s images of the roaring twenties or Studio 54 post-Vietnam, there is no greater distraction than fancy, over-the-top dressing. During SS20, optimism and positivity peaked: Christian Siriano showed high-shine metallic gowns, Erdem drew inspiration from the Roaring Twenties and photographer Cecil Beaton, and Molly Goddard evoked joy through color, sparkle, and print.

As we return to normalcy over the next year, some of us will welcome the simplicity of minimalism, while others will channel optimism as a form of creative expression. These are the aesthetics of crises. Rather than replace the expressive and aspirational elements of style, fashion will likely come to play dual roles — both as the expression of our fantasy self and as the reality of who we are today. One thing is certain, our relationship with fashion, be it glamour or simplicity, will forever change.

To determine the trends that were included in this report, we analyzed the maturity and momentum of terms that have been growing for at least a year and will continue to grow for the next year with the highest confidence we have.

Optimistic Opulence

In a post-COVID world, many consumers will pack up their loungewear and embrace the opportunity to dress up. Sheer organza, luxe satin, and ruched silhouettes will all be a welcome shift away from sweats. Optimism opulence epitomizes what fashion is all about: dressing up and having fun, especially during these unprecedented times. Albeit, It’s important not to confuse hedonistic consumerism with creative positivity. The need for glamour does not permit us to ignore our current crisis.

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Average weekly searches for organza blouses are +162% to LY and organza tops are +421% to LY. A top market mover, organza top has a strong engagement rating, generating more social buzz now compared to the last 20 weeks.

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Average weekly searches for satin mini dresses are +50% to LY and silk headbands are +54% to LY. Growing at an accelerated rate, satin mini dresses are moderately discounted with 39% of products currently 30% off or deeper.

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Average weekly searches for ruched bodycon dresses are +104% to LY, ruched midi dresses are +78% to LY, ruched mini dresses are +183% to LY, ruched skirts are +70% to LY, and ruched tops are +61% to LY. Ruched midi dress is moderately discounted with 53% of products currently 30% off or deeper. Ruched mini dress has an average engagement rating compared to the last 20 weeks. It has been mentioned in 129 posts over the last 3 months, with an average of 2,728 likes and comments per post.

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Average weekly searches for puff sleeves are +264% to LY, oversized scrunchies are +138% to LY, giant scrunchies are +126% to LY, and balloon sleeves are +63% to LY. Puff sleeve has a strong engagement rating, generating more social buzz now compared to the last 20 weeks. It has been mentioned in 1,717 posts over the last 3 months, with an average of 1,142 likes and comments per post.

Minimalist Uniform

Before the pandemic, we saw the return of basics, and COVID-19 has only accelerated this shift. Focused on essential-based purchases, consumers have had to adjust how and what they purchase to reflect our current crisis. Whether it’s to support sustainability initiatives or invest in timeless pieces, designers have already started approaching each collection with an eye for simplistic design and no-frills styling. Luxury labels like Versace, Vetements, and Rick Owens have expressed an interest in fewer, smaller, and more season-less collections.

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Average weekly searches for tie dye joggers are +1,954% to LY, loungewear is +132% to LY, tie dye sweatshirts are +473% to LY, jogger sets are +94% to LY, grey joggers are +71% to LY, and fleece joggers are +58% to LY. Growing at an accelerated rate, loungewear has a strong engagement rating, generating more social buzz now compared to the last 20 weeks. It has been mentioned in 2,747 posts over the last 3 months, with an average of 2,134 likes and comments per post.

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Average weekly searches for split hem pants are +291% to LY and oversized blazers are +62% to LY. Split hem pants are moderately discounted with 44% of products currently 30% off or deeper, while oversized blazers have little to no discounts online. Oversized blazer has a strong engagement rating, generating more social buzz now compared to the last 20 weeks. It has been mentioned in 295 posts over the last 3 months, with an average of 2,668 likes and comments per post.

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Average weekly searches for sustainable jeans are +195% to LY, sustainable swimwear are +111% to LY, sustainable bags are +80% to LY, sustainable sneakers are +76% to LY, reusable period pads are +64% to LY, reusable cotton pads are +55% to LY, and sustainable gifts are +52% to LY. Sustainable swimwear has a strong engagement rating, generating more social buzz now compared to the last 20 weeks. It has been mentioned in 168 posts over the last 3 months, with an average of 1,527 likes and comments per post.

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Average weekly searches for toothpaste tablets are +91% to LY, biodegradable wipes are +71% to LY, and custom shampoo is +69% to LY. Biodegradable Wipes has an average engagement rating compared to the last 20 weeks. It has been mentioned in 24 posts over the last 3 months, with an average of 1,025 likes and comments per post.

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