High-waisted flare jeans, polka dots, calf length skirts and leather pants, skirts and shirts; its undeniable Fall 2011 trends have traveled from our favorite books to the streets. It seems the unusual brisk temperatures in the northeastern part of the country has advanced the switching over of closets from summer’s rompers (when can we be done with the adult onsies? I beg for it to be soon), to pre-fall’s great menswear inspired pants (Tommy Hilfiger sent a fabulous pair down the runway. If you only buy one pair, make these it) and platform oxfords (Alexander Wang’s are standout). However, when determining the difference between the trends most proposed by designers and promoted by editors, and those that go beyond to achieve the final and most important step, consumer adoption, its all in the numbers (meaning, do people actually part with their too few and valuable discretionary dollars to obtain the goods everybody is talking about or are they willing to just observe).
The NDP Group Inc. recently released its report of year to year sales for various categories of apparel and one of the biggest gainers was, wait for it, sheer hosiery (up 1.9%). It wasn’t that long ago that American women abandoned sheer tights calling them dated and matronly, yet in a recent poll conducted by USmagazine.com, 79% of respondents said they felt ‘sheer stockings are elegant’ and in a separate study, 50% of American women said they would wear sheer hose. What is the factor accountable for this turnaround in opinion? Let’s say it all together on 3. 1…2…Pippa and Kate.
The Middleton sisters have been known to wear sheer stockings on a very frequent basis and unlike other key trendsetters who simply play the PR game by wearing designer samples and giving credit on camera or in print, the Middleton sisters have dramatically increased sales of an entire category without actually ever trying. Clearly Kate is obligated to wear sheer tights as part of royal protocol, but her sister Pipa cannot say the same. Whatever the reason, English women apparently want to copy it, as evidence in the 25% year to year increase in sales of sheer hosiery at Wolford and a 50% increase of ‘suntan colored’ tights at Marks & Spencers. In a challenging (failing) economy, it is very hard to argue with numbers like these, especially when the average price of a pair of Wolford tights is $24.95, not exactly an impulse buy.
As the saying goes, pick your battles wisely and perhaps, this is one that is futile to resist. It seems the world has fallen head over heals for the Middleton girls and what was once a sign of tacky 1980’s dressing, has now transformed into regal, sophisticated and polished by these two lovely English roses. So go ahead, give in, squat, squeeze and twist your way into a pair to get flawless games. However, please stick to your guns and refuse the revival of other trends that deserve to stay buried like tight rolled jeans and hypercolor t-shirts. Unless of course the princess decides to show off her skinny ankles and then fully expect styling sites like WhoWhatWear to feature “how to get Kate’s regal roll” and the bandwagon to sway from the amount of people jumping on en masse around the world.
We want to hear from you guys, have you bought your fall sheers or are you hoping this trend blows over as quickly as the revival of massive shoulder pads and harem pants? Post a response to this blog and we will share it with all our readers!