Birkenstocks, pants and seamless workout sets were three of the most purchased fashion items in 2022. For those looking to tap into trending items, Boxing Day sales could prove fruitful, with many of the most popular pieces offered.
I shop therefore I read Barbara Kruger’s 1987 book. So if we are defined by what we own, what does that say about consumers in 2022?
It seems many wanted to continue enjoying pandemic discoveries such as comfortable shoes, with luxury online retailer Yoox reporting that its best-selling shoe of 2022 was Birkenstock’s Boston Clog.
The German brand, founded in 1774, has seen some resurgence over the past couple of years. Shoes once loved by healthcare workers are now favorites of celebrities and influencers, with fans including Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and Sienna Miller.
With prices starting at £90, online fashion search engine Lyst said searches for the Boston Clog style rose 593% in the first six months of 2022. This is the fifth time in two years that it appears on the Lyst index. Its taupe suede version was continuously sold out, with many appearing for more than double the original price on resale platforms.
Meanwhile, Office and Amazon Fashion Europe reported Crocs as one of the top sellers. At Office, black Crocs with faux fur lining worked best. Much like Birkenstock, Crocs were previously popular among hospital and hospitality workers. Founded in 2002, the brand has seen renewed interest during the pandemic. They were the second fastest growing brand in 2022, endorsed by everyone from Stormzy to David Hockney.
Comfort was also in vogue at Primark, with two loungewear items appearing in its three flagship products. Strong sales of the Snuddie – a £16 fleece-lined item that Primark describes as “an oversized cozy hoodie comes a blanket” – may reflect consumer concerns about energy prices. The description also mentions keeping “warm” and “chills at bay”.
Meanwhile, her seamless sets, including crop tops, shorts and leggings, are very similar to Skims – the highly sought-after brand founded by Kardashian. Primark prices start from £3.50 for a crop top, compared to £40 at Skims.
Elsewhere, increased interest in workwear reflects a change in work environments as many have returned to the office.
According to property consultancy Remit, the average daily number of staff in England and Wales working from the office has reached its highest level since the October pandemic. In London’s West End, 57% of staff were back at their desks, while numbers were also high in Docklands, home to many financial institutions opposed to employees working from home.
Consumers have taken a mixed approach to dressing for work, perhaps reflecting a hybrid work situation. Pieces that could be dressed up for office days and then more casual for homework or weekends proved popular. M&S and John Lewis both recorded strong sales in their clothing categories.
M&S has sold over 400,000 of its tiered dresses ranging from £25 to £45 and available in a myriad of colors and prints. With a round neckline and a mid-calf drop, on the website it’s pictured wearing formal boots, cropped heels, and casual sneakers.
John Lewis’ £59 floral print archive dress was a top seller in green. It has since been repeated in pink.
Meanwhile, Jigsaw saw strong costume sales, with both magenta and velvet pieces performing well. A single-breasted black velvet blazer (£278) was among Reiss’ three best-selling products.
“Because of the cost of living, people don’t want to spend money on casual pieces. They want investment pieces and things they can wear that make them feel good,” said Jigsaw creative director Jo Sykes.
His magenta tuxedo suit with satin-trimmed pants first hit stores in November 2021. That drop sold out in less than four hours. This summer, there was a waiting list of over 1,600 people for him to arrive.
Sykes said sales of standout suits were up 30% year-over-year at Jigsaw and outpacing classic suit lines: “There’s a whole trend to wear standout suits from day to night. customers also style jackets and pants separately.
Google reported that searches for “wide leg pants” had reached their highest level on record in 2022. This is reflected at M&S, with more than 190,000 sales of its side stripe version. Available in small, regular and long, ranging from sizes 6 to 20 and in a variety of colors including gray and blue, they retail for £39.50.
Luxury e-tailer Net-a-Porter’s best-selling jeans turned out to be high-waisted with a straight leg. Releases from brands such as Khaite, Citizens of Humanity and Agolde were in the top five.
The Row’s zip-front ankle boots were top sellers at Net-a-Porter and Matches Fashion. First appearing on the catwalk of its Autumn/Winter 2019 collection, the leather boots with chunky rubber priced at £1,300 are regularly photographed by street style stars.
At the cheaper end of the scale, a £89.99 pair of cleated Chelsea boots appeared in Office’s best sellers, while Clarks said they sold over 1,000 pairs of their £130 Aprilia Chelsea boots in black in November alone. His £135 lace-up Rixle boots were also popular.
When it comes to sneakers, various retailers have reported Converse, New Balance and Veja as the top-selling brands.
When it comes to bags, there’s been a return to shoulder styles, with Net-a-Porter and MatchesFashion citing the Loewe Puzzle bag as one of the top performers. At John Lewis, the Longchamp Le Pliage (£95) was a best-seller. The retailer credits Gen Z unboxing videos on TikTok (the hashtag has over 7 million views) for the renewed interest in the French heritage brand.