When The New York Times published a piece titled "Sweatpants Forever" last summer, it resonated with many. Whereas most fashion items had fallen to the wayside following stay-at-home orders, sales for cozy, stretchy sweatsuits skyrocketed. (Entireworld, the brand behind the unofficial uniform of quarantine, experienced a 662% spike in sales in March 2020 compared to 2019, according to The Times.) While we’re still not in the clear, with nearly 40% of U.S. adults vaccinated and the CDC announcing that vaccinated people can go maskless in some cases, according to retail experts, the sweatpant reign is coming to an end.
And there’s data to prove it. Whereas search for sweatpants, hoodies, and activewear dominated on global fashion shopping platform Lyst in 2020, “peak sweatpant has passed” according to Peter Henderson, the head of the Lyst Index, who spoke to Refinery29. Instead, he says that shoppers are now “acting on pent-up demand for going-out-wear.”
In the platform’s Q1 Index from 2021, which analyzed the buying habits of 150 million users and was released on Wednesday, the numbers showed shoppers once again diversifying their wardrobes. According to the report, comfort is no longer their highest priority: Search for high heels and dresses is up 163% and 222%, respectively, compared to last quarter.
As part of Lyst’s top 10 hottest products, Attico’s Devon mules, favorites of Kylie Jenner and Hailey Bieber, landed fifth. (The last time a pair of heels made the top 10 list was in the Q4 2019 report, with Amina Muaddi’s glitter heels coming in second.) Nensi Dojaka’s Instagram-friendly dress — that Bella Hadid (sort of) wore to the 2020 MTV VMAs — was 10th on the list. (Also on the list: a bomber from the popular North Face x Gucci collab, pre-owned Hermès Kelly bags, Bottega Veneta lug boots, Prada’s reissued nylon bags, and the red Prada headband worn by Amanda Gorman on Inauguration Day, among other items.)
As if to further make a case for party wear, Saint Laurent released its fall ‘21 collection, also on Wednesday, full of metallic bodysuits, fur-hemmed micro-minis, and thigh-high boots paired with silver boyshorts. Sunday night’s Oscars after-parties, which followed one of the first true IRL award shows since the pandemic took hold, offered up a share of going-out outfit inspiration as well. Dua Lipa wore a sequin-covered Balenciaga dress, while Andra Day sported the highest slit we’ve seen in a while in a metallic, cowl-neck Vera Wang Haute dress (though she did pair it with UGG slippers). In other words, while the time for sweatpants is coming to an end, the era of party clothes is almost here — and we couldn't be more excited.
Check out Lyst’s Q1 Index, which additionally includes the top 20 hottest brands of 2021 thus far, on Lyst.com.