Spring/Summer 2024 men’s shows last month delivered crystal-covered trousers, sheer fabrics and voluminous jeans that engulfed models, but what’s trending on the runway doesn’t aways translate to real life.
A recent Centric Pricing report puts men’s wear under the microscope. Despite some fashion week looks going viral, the AI-driven pricing intelligence platform said the category is relatively staid. Overall, there weren’t any “seismic shifts” in men’s wear assortments in the past year, it found.
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Indeed, retailers are sticking with the classics. Black, gray, navy, light blue and white top recent color trends in men’s wear, according to the report. Red, burgundy, and olive are seeing slight gains.
Despite Barbiecore pink dominating the women’s category for the past two years, fuchsia accounts for just 1,907 men’s products and pink for 8,340.
In prints, preppy stripes account for up to 40 percent of tops and bottoms, though florals are increasingly becoming mainstream. The report said the number of floral-printed men’s shirts have increased 61 percent so far in 2023.
Tops with graphic prints haven’t lost their appeal either, especially styles repeating motifs across the entire garment. Centric Pricing said graphic tops have grown in count 18 percent during the year.
Men’s love of tried-and-true fashion means retailers can hold off on margin-killing markdowns.
The report found that men’s fashion tends to get discounted less frequently and at lower levels than women’s. Centric Pricing said it saw discount penetration drop during Fall 2022 and into the start of 2023. Retailers might be doing a better job of managing inventory, leading to fewer discounts in the pants and jeans categories, the report said.
However, these categories aren’t immune the challenging macroeconomic environment or inflation. Discounts are increasing compared to the start of the year. T-shirts have experienced a 17 percent increase in discount penetration in 2023 and footwear categories (athletic shoes and sneakers, lace-up shoes and oxfords and slip-on shoes and loafers) have increased 8-9 percentage points.
The report said demand will “likely be soft for the near-term until economic signals improve.”
Average original prices for men’s wear increased 13 percent during 2022. Bottoms saw the biggest gains. The average price for men’s pants and leggings increased 34 percent from $116.08 in 2022 to $156 in 2023. The average price for men’s jeans increased 19 percent from $150.02 in 2022 to $178.81.
Button-down shirts and sport jackets and blazers also saw double-digit average original price increases.
Online searches show a greater interest in casual items, though Centric Pricing noted that it may reflect the consumer mindset for summer. Year-over-year search volumes for “essentials hoodie” is 73 percent, “cargo shorts” is up 6 percent and “golf shorts” is up 2 percent.
“Searches in men’s wear categories show us that casual and active-related apparel and footwear are still very much in demand. This marks a shift from last year where we had seen active and sportswear declining in interest,” the report stated.