The performancewear category of decorated apparel continues to be driven by the usual suspects, including resilient fabrics that are sustainable, cared for easily and available in trending styles and colors.FULL STORY
Build Your Business: Trends
Plackets and Wovens Check All the Boxes for WearersComfort. Versatility. Function. As your customers continue to work from home, they’ll likely find plackets and wovens that fit their needs.
For the time being, much of the world is working from home and comfortable clothing is ruling the weekdays. Still, with the rising popularity of video meetings, it’s important for workers’ top halves, at the very least, to look professional.
As they were pre-COVID, plackets and wovens continue to trend in popularity, checking off many boxes: comfort; versatility; function; multiple styles and colors; and seamless transition to activewear while maintaining a professional look.
In an era in which people are looking for solace, comfort is king. This extends to clothing, including fit and fabric.
Gina Barreca, director of marketing at Vantage Apparel, says consumers are looking for cozy cottons and super-soft, stretchy fabrics. “Silhouettes are more relaxed and looser, with a laid-back look and feel, making them great for working from home,” she says. “Many performance-based fabrics are being blended with natural fibers or engineered to create a cotton-like feel. Fabrics with spandex or four-way stretch are also preferred; think more mobile and less restrictive.”
Taraynn Lloyd, vice president of marketing, Edwards Garment, agrees that blended fabrics, particularly those with added stretch, are extremely popular. “Having the blended fabrics perform well by holding their color, provide easy home [laundering] with no-iron capabilities and offer comfort and stretch is what we all want to wear these days,” she says.
Functional fabrics also are trending category-wide — those with UV-protection and moisture-wicking properties are key, along with protective features like antimicrobial and antibacterial capabilities. In addition, many environmentally conscious consumers seek out like-minded manufacturers.
“Some brands have released styles with recycled polyester that help conserve energy consumption and our natural resources,” Lloyd says. “Sustainable fashion apparel is becoming more readily available, with innovations to yarns, materials, manufacturing and marketing. Brands and clients want to make better environmental purchases.”
Vicki Ostrom, trend editor at SanMar, added that consumers also are looking for stain-release, odor-fighting and snag-
resistant properties. “The usefulness and longevity of a product has never been more important, as dollars need to stretch as far as possible in this uncertain economy,” she says.
Untucked & Unbuttoned
The untucked trend is more prevalent than ever, as it is a reflection of the casual, comfortable way of life that offsets the hardship of a global pandemic.
Jordin Nabi, vice president of marketing, TSC Apparel, says consumers are not only wearing plackets and wovens untucked, but also unbuttoned and layered.
“[Wearers] are layering them under sweaters and wearing them unbuttoned over T-shirts and hoodies,” she says, adding that wovens will continue to be a layering staple and that oversized, flannel shirts will be worn over dresses and skirts instead of a cardigan or oxford shirt.
The pandemic also has forced people to get active when their schedules allow; the untucked trend ties in with this desire to stay fit.
“The movement toward an ‘all-day active’ lifestyle has never been more in play as it has been over the past six months,” Ostrom says. “That’s an ironic statement, given the fact that most of us have never been more cooped up than we have been since the pandemic hit. However, because of our work-from-home, no-travel lives, finding ways to be active is top of mind.”
Colors & Patterns
Colors for plackets and wovens run the gamut and will continue to do so in 2021. Nabi cites key colors for 2021 as gray, Lemon Sherbet, Oxy Fire, A.I. Aqua, and Quiet Wave.
“These shades are robust and earthy but also light and airy,” Nabi says. “Clinical greens, neutrals, mellow yellow, plaids and animal prints are all making their way on the popular apparel list for the year 2021.”
Lloyd says to look for soft blues, olive greens and cool grays as trending colors in 2021, while Barecca says that with sustainability at the top of many consumers’ minds, “earthy shades of green, blue and purple are becoming increasingly important and will lighten the mood. Also, look for lighter beiges and tans here. Heathers and watercolor stripes are prevalent in polos. Color-blocking with bold accents, as well as tone-on-tone, add some edge to these styles.”
Additionally, power colors like cobalt, red, yellow and orange are trending, she says.
Patterns are as versatile as colors and will continue to be popular in plackets and wovens. Lloyd points to gingham checks or micro checks as rising in popularity.
Barecca says airy prints and patterns are trending with golf shirts. “Tie-dye is something you wouldn’t typically associate with golf wear, but at this year’s PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park, players sported Haight-Ashbury-influenced designs in everything from shoes, shirts, pullovers and hats,” she recalls.
This year also will see crossover styles that mix traditional golf fashion with streetwear influences, targeting a younger demographic. “Full-button polos have a laid-back feel and appeal to a younger audience,” Barecca says. “Golf labels have introduced more hoodies and pullover styles, and [have] added stretch to every style imaginable.”
She adds that various necklines, such as snaps, covered buttons, Y-shape and Henley collars, will be popular options for women’s plackets and wovens.
Ostrom says polos are appearing in fashion magazines thanks to a new phenomenon, “Polopower,” which can look like styles that have a retro influence via wide stripes or checkerboard patterns that reference the 1980s.
“Polopower at its best, though, is in the actual fabric and details of polos that make them indispensable wardrobe-builders for today — styles that have hyper levels of function while maintaining their core beauty and iconic styling,” she says.
Ostrom adds that a “woven” garment may not actually be woven nowadays; instead, it could be a knit fabric that looks like your favorite short-sleeve woven dress shirt. “The difference is that it has stay-cool wicking technology and it stretches with you because it is a knit,” she says. “That is what consumers are looking for in apparel today.”
Lloyd says other trends include wovens that have “two-pocket chest pockets, plackets that [feature] half-covered/half-exposed buttons,modified spread collars, and wrinkle-free or no-iron fabrics,” said Lloyd.
The fashion industry has traditionally affected the apparel market at all levels, including wholesale. “Trends created by high-end fashion brands are simplified and adapted to fit any budget or style,” Nabi says.
The apparel industry will continue to see growth in the retail, outerwear and uniform markets, as well as continued expansion into athleisure, as the latter has become popular with older and younger generations. “We are seeing [plackets and wovens] used to layer with jackets and fleece, and we are still seeing it in very traditional ways within an office setting,” she adds.
Despite staying at home more in 2020, buyers are showing interest in better-made basics. “There’s definitely a trend toward purposeful spending, buying less and buying better,” Barecca says. “Functional products that serve a purpose and meet an important need are received better than fast fashion by today’s consumers.”
Hilary Daninhirsch is an award-winning freelance writer based in Pittsburgh. Her work has been featured in a number of lifestyle and trade magazines. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or hilarydaninhirsch.journoportfolio.com.
A Sales Resurgence
For some companies, plackets and wovens sales decreased last year as fewer people were leaving home because of the pandemic. However, things picked up in fall and winter of 2020, Nabi says, and sales will continue to increase.
Lloyd thinks category sales will remain strong if the apparel continues offering fashionable styling and fabric with stretch. The category will continue to perform well as part of uniforms in markets such as healthcare, senior living, gaming, restaurants, education and more.
“All these markets continue to have job-market growth and will require a decorated woven shirt as part of their uniform programs,” she says. “Building your brand through uniforms means providing staff alternatives for their wardrobe.”
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