Oct 7, 2020
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Flexi-wardrobe trend is key result of pandemic - survey

Oct 7, 2020

Nearly half of UK adults now own more “relaxed” clothes than ever before, according to a new survey of more than 2,000 adults. The study was commissioned by shopping mall Centre:MK and said that “Britain has become a nation of fashionable ‘loungers’ due to people now living a flexi-lifestyle”.

A Centre:MK survey shows that consumers are buying more relaxed clothing for AW20 such as this look by Hobbs - Photo: Mark Westerby

The change has come as many people have spent much of H1 2020 working from home, on furlough or being home-schooled, with few chances to socialise.

And despite society reopening again, the AW20 season seems to be dominated by the lockdown mindset, possibly driven by many consumers’ assumptions that another lockdown could happen.

One piece of good news in a retail environment that has seen fashion being de-prioritised is that the study found 28% of respondents “feel they need to give their wardrobe a refresh to suit their new flexi-lifestyle”. 

Adults are now 10 times as likely to buy a sweater over a suit and five times as likely to purchase jeans over a maxi skirt. Some 35% will be ditching their heels in favour of trainers, while fewer than one in 20 plan to buy stiletto heels this season.

The results also showed that the 25-34 age group have been the biggest spenders over the past few months, spending £123 on new fashion, with a fifth of them spending £200+. 

Overall, 18% of respondents said they’ll buy more comfortable clothes to fit their new lifestyle. The average adult plans to spend £103 on their AW20 look, and 51% said they’ll be thinking very differently from usual due to the lack of social occasions to look forward to. That means 31% will be going more casual than they did a year ago, although 21% will need to buy pieces that can function in both a WFH and face-to-face work situation.

The items many shoppers are buying include “a fashionable face covering”, oversized T-shirts, gymwear and leggings”. 

Some 30% of shoppers will be buying more sweaters than usual, while 25% will buy more tees and hoodies. But despite footwear having had a tough time in recent months, a quarter of women plan on buying boots. And consumers are planning to spend £48 on beauty products for the new season too.

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