Birkenstocks one of the most bought fashion items in 2022. | The retail industry

Birkenstocks, pantsuits and seamless tracksuits were the three most bought fashion items in 2022. For those looking to take advantage of trendy items, the Boxing Day sales could prove fruitful, with many of the hottest pieces on offer.

I buy, therefore I am reads the work of Barbara Kruger from 1987. So, if we are defined by what we own, what does this say about consumers in 2022?

It seems many wanted to continue enjoying pandemic discoveries like comfortable footwear, with luxury e-tailer Yoox reporting that its best-selling shoe of 2022 was the Boston Clog from Birkenstock.

The German brand, founded in 1774, has experienced somewhat of a revival in the last two years. Once a favorite of healthcare workers, the shoe is now a favorite among celebrities and influencers, with fans including Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and Sienna Miller.

With prices starting from £90, online fashion search engine Lyst said searches for the Boston Clog style increased by 593% in the first six months of 2022. This is the fifth time in two years that it has appeared on the Lyst Index. Its dark brown suede version has consistently sold out, with many popping up for twice the original price on resale platforms.

Meanwhile, both Office and Amazon Fashion Europe reported Crocs as best sellers. In the Office, black Crocs with artificial fur lining worked best. Like Birkenstock, Crocs used to be popular among hospital and hospitality workers. Founded in 2002, the brand has enjoyed renewed interest during the pandemic. They were the second fastest growing brand in 2022, endorsed by everyone from Stormzy to David Hockney.

Comfort was also trending at Primark, with two daywear items appearing in its top three products. Strong sales of the Snuddie – a £16 fleece item that Primark describes as an “oversized cozy hoodie that comes with a cover” – may reflect consumer concerns about energy prices. The description also mentions keeping it “toasted” and “the cold at bay.”

Meanwhile, its no-sew sets, featuring crop tops, shorts and leggings, are very similar to Skims – the highly sought-after brand founded by Kardashian. Primark prices start from £3.50 for a crop top, compared to £40 at Skims.

Elsewhere, increased interest in workwear reflects a change in the working environment as many have returned to the office.

According to property consultancy Remit, the daily average number of employees in England and Wales working from the office has reached its highest level since the pandemic in October. In London’s West End, 57% of staff are back at their desks, while figures are also high in Docklands, home to many financial institutions that oppose employees working from home.

Consumers took a mixed approach to dressing for work, perhaps reflecting a hybrid work situation. Pieces that can be dressed up for office days and then styled more casually for working from home or on the weekends have proven popular. Both M&S and John Lewis reported strong sales in their clothing categories.

M&S has sold more than 400,000 of its floor length dresses ranging from £25 to £45 and available in a myriad of colors and prints. Featuring a crew neck and falling to mid-calf, the website is seen styled with formal boots, court heels and casual trainers.

John Lewis’s £59 floral print archive dress was a bestseller in green. Since then, it has been repeated in pink.

Meanwhile, Jigsaw reported strong suit sales, with both the magenta and velvet two-piece performing well. A single-breasted black velvet jacket (£278) was among Reiss’ top three bestsellers.

“Because of the cost of living, people don’t want to spend money on casual pieces. They want investment pieces and things they can wear and feel good in,” said Jigsaw Creative Director, Jo Sykes.

His magenta tuxedo with satin-trimmed pants first hit stores in November 2021. The piece sold out in less than four hours. This summer, more than 1,600 people were waiting to arrive.

Sykes said sales of standout suits were up 30% year-on-year at Jigsaw, outstripping classic suiting lines: “There’s a whole trend of wearing statement suits from day to night. Customers also style jackets and trousers separately.”

Google reported that searches for “wide-leg trousers” reached their highest level on record in 2022. This reflects on M&S, with more than 190,000 sales of its side-striped version. Available in small, regular and long sizes from 6 to 20 and in a variety of colors including gray and blue, they retail from £39.50.

The best-selling jeans at the luxury e-tailer Net-a-Porter proved to be high-waisted, straight-cut legs. Versions from brands such as Khaite, Citizens of Humanity and Agolde were among the top five.

The zip-up ankle boots from Row were top sellers on both Net-a-Porter and Matches Fashion. A leather boot that first appeared on the catwalk in the Autumn/Winter ’19 collection, the thick rubber leather boot retails at £1,300 and is regularly pictured on street style stars.

At the cheaper end of the scale, an £89.99 pair of flat-soled Chelsea boots has appeared in the Office’s top sellers, while Clarks said it sold more than 1,000 pairs of its £130 Aprilia black Chelsea boots in November alone. Its £135 Rixle lace-up boots were also popular.

In terms of sneakers, various retailers reported Converse, New Balance and Veja as the best-selling brands.

As for bags, there’s been a comeback in shoulder styles, with Net-a-Porter and MatchesFashion citing the Loewe Puzzle bag as a top performer. At John Lewis, the Longchamp Le Pliage (£95) was the best seller. The retailer credits Generation Z unboxing videos on TikTok (the hashtag has more than 7 million views) for renewing interest in the French heritage brand.

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