Casual but stylish

Attending the “Thierry Mugler: Couturissime” exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum on a recent winter day was pure fashion fun.

Museum-goers of all ages donned ensembles befitting the modern neighborhood. Tight coats in vibrant colors, baggy menswear-inspired pants, neon sweatshirts, oversized blazers, tweed jackets, leather pants, tousled hair, baseball caps, designer micro chain strap bags, chunky black boots and plenty of white sneakers.

Everyone seemed to get the style memo: casual but stylish.

“Since the pandemic, there has been a desire to prioritize comfort and functionality without sacrificing personal style. However, pent-up demand for ‘going out’ fashion combined with a return to tailoring and suiting cannot be ignored, especially as consumers enter the year-end party season,” says Kayla Marci, retail market analyst. news company Edited.

Today’s causalization is less about “following the rules” and more about mixing price and high- and low-price categories, notes Sunny Zheng, an analyst at Coresight Research, a global retail and technology consulting and research firm.

“Now that consumers’ lives are being renewed, we’re seeing them look for an enhanced casual look and combine casual pieces with event wear or casual wear—for example, pairing jeans with a formal top and jacket,” says Zheng.

Since July, the number of women’s blazers sold online in the U.S. and U.K. has risen 98% year-on-year for the first time, while sales of high-heeled shoes are up 15% year-on-year, according to Edited.

During Fall 2022, casual wear was defined by Y2K styles like cargo and parachute pants and denim skirts, says Marci. “The unseasonably warm weather has seen retailers favor lightweight layers and loose oversized fits over traditional seasonal styles such as coats.”

Preppy style, Marci says, as seen on runways from designers like Coach and Tommy Hilfiger, will continue to shape sports style next year.

“Retailers can be expected to design rugby stripes, branding, university lettering, tracksuits, pleated skirts and matching kits,” says Marci. “This trend will complement the already established tennis aesthetic and capitalize on the rapidly growing interest of country clubs and racquet sports such as pickleball and padel.”

Retail analysts expect opportunity rates to remain strong in 2023, with continued demand for denim, sportswear and sportswear.

“We predict faster growth in the casual wear category compared to casual and active wear in 2023, but we do not expect the casual wear trend to disappear,” says Zheng. “It was a trend that was already set in motion before the pandemic.”

Following the success of luxury sportswear collaborations this year, such as Gucci X Adidas, Jacquemus X Nike and Ganni X New Balance, athletics will continue to be “higher,” according to Marci.

“Both styles have the potential to co-exist,” says Marci. “Carbon 38 and Girlfriend Collective have already released high-end collections with premium fabrics and luxurious details designed to transcend workout and day wear to pair with ‘out’ clothes.

Another example of breaking fashion rules is underwear as day wear.

“It’s gaining popularity especially among Gen Z, who are in awe of social media celebrities,” Zheng says. “The main reason why this trend is coming back is that people have now learned to accept and love themselves after the pandemic.”

What was once considered scandalous, a la Madonna’s cone bra in the 80s, is now mainstream.

The way people layer underwear is also reminiscent of the 80s and early 90s.

“For example, big shirts are worn unbuttoned in the front to show the bra, light-colored dresses are worn to show dark underwear,” says Zheng.

The underwear trend is “a favorite of Jenner and Bella Hadid, who have been spotted pairing revealing briefs with knitwear, tights or Uggs,” says Marci. “This theme borrows elements of the boudoir while keeping comfort in mind. Satin corduroys, slip dresses, bralettes, silk scarves and ballet flats also contribute to this emerging theme.”

It’s safe to assume that the late French designer Mugler, whose designs heavily influenced underwear and whose corset-inspired cats have recently been worn on stage by artists such as Dua Lipa and Megan Thee Stallion, would approve.

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