7 Fashion Trends with Staying Power According to Google DataMake smarter purchasing decisions for your clothing boutique by leveraging the power of search query data.
Gone are the days when you had to rely on fashion shows and fashion media to know what’s hot and what’s not. Now, true to 21st-century form, there’s a more objective, crowd-sourced way to stay on top of consumer tastes and make better purchasing decisions for your clothing boutique.
“Think with Google” recently released its 2016 Fashion Trends Report, an analysis of style trends based on top consumer searches. The study identified rising trends (including boho dresses and bodysuits) and declining trends (including asymmetrical skirts and waist trainers), as well as styles that are hot now but likely to fade quickly.
To compile the report, Google looked at monthly volume of top search queries related to apparel from May 20
14 to May 2016. They measured year-over-year growth, velocity and acceleration for each search query and pulled out the most significant trends.
The 83-page report can take time to work through, so here are seven actionable takeaways to know now.
1. Military/biker chic is showing solid, sustained growth in searches, even across seasonal cycles. Top trending searches include biker jeans, ripped jeans and bomber jackets. These are a good bet to keep in your inventory.
“I’m not surprised military chic, including bomber jackets, are increasingly on the rise in terms of search volume,” said Stacy Caprio, fashionista and principal at Accelerated Growth Marketing. “Definitely a trend I’ve been seeing in the city of Boston.”
2. Consumers want bomber jacket variety. Per page 23 of the report: “With consumers becoming more interested in bomber jackets for warmer seasons, they are looking for different variations of the style.”
Naomi Coleman, creative director of Access by NKC, suggested versatility is likely the top factor in the bomber jacket’s lasting popularity. “Depending on the material of the bomber, it can easily become wearable year round and can be paired with almost any of the current style trends.”
3. The off-the-shoulder look is big…for now. Interest in this style has increased steadily in the past few years and recently got a boost with celebrity associations such as Olivia Palermo and Kylie Jenner. It’s not clear how lasting this trend will be, since social media can make a trend disappear within a week or prolong a style for years.
“Trends are more about reacting and less about dictating and predicting,” said Charcy Evers, a trends analyst and fashion industry advisor to Wall Street. “The way the Google report talks about risers and decliners is insightful for a retailer. Like with off-the-shoulder, maybe a boutique is coming in late to the game and will see it is a flash in the pan.”
4. Gender associations are blurring, so look toward androgynous styles. “Looking at the report,” said Coleman, “small boutiques, especially those focused on women’s wear, would benefit by carrying pieces that embody ‘androgynous’ looks.’” She continued, “The current trends reflect a more relaxed look for women, with small hints to women’s silhouettes to keep the sex appeal.”
5. Rompers and other ready-to-go apparel are the rage. The ease of ready-to-go apparel, such as rompers, playsuits and jumpsuits, has lead to an increased demand in terms of styles, fabrics and silhouettes. The report notes, “the romper is a look that can be sexy or cute, fancy or casual, for winter or summer. No matter the event, age, or gender — there’s a romper that will fit your needs.”
Naima Turner-Fleming, a fashion journalist and founder of StylePoohBahs.com, said, “Overall, consumers want fashion that is realistic and can be worn on their body shapes and a part of their everyday lifestyles. Celebrities are also making appearances in relatable style while tossing fussy looks aside.”
6. Trends are regional. For small shops, knowing the trends in your region is key. The bomber jacket, for example, is searched for most in U.K., New York, Chicago and Los Angeles markets. Interest is lower in the southernmost United States and the Midwest.
Syama Meagher, fashion retail consultant and CEO of Scaling Retail, noted these regional details can help small boutiques with their marketing efforts as well as their buying decisions. “The most interesting aspects to this report touch on the geolocation of where trends are popular. This will help with Facebook, Instagram and search engine marketing targeting.”
7. Paired search terms reveal important details. Exploring the top associated keywords for each trend (which the report provides) can yield valuable insight into trending colors, patterns and fabrics for various styles.
“The information on the off-the-shoulder trend that is useful is the color, material and style combinations,” noted Meagher. Top patterns for off-the-shoulder include florals, stripes and paisley print.
In searches, top keywords paired with “bomber jacket” include longline, oversized, baseball, army, padded, pilot and NASA.
Google’s report puts the power of big data in the hands of small business owners. With their online searches, consumers are literally telling Google what styles interest them.
Retailers can also do their own analysis by using Google Trends and diving into results for a particular state or metro area to determine which styles will resonate most with their customers.