Millennials are soon to become the largest generation, with 73 million people ages 22-37. They also happen to make double the amount of annual apparel purchases than those belonging to the baby boomer generation. Therefore, it is integral for the longevity of merchants to establish relationships with young adults and in doing so, convince millennials to be their loyal customers. That being said, millennials shop differently than previous generations and clothing retailers may miss the mark when responding to their specific subset of wants and needs. To make millennials’ fashion desires a bit more clear, here is our millennials’ style guideline.
In the age of Pinterest, it comes as no shock millennials are drawn to minimalist wardrobes. Building a minimalist wardrobe saves debt-stricken millennials money as each purchase is viewed as an purposeful investment. Clothing in neutral, chic hues, such as blush, camel, navy, white, gray, and blue, also ensures the shopper can find matching pieces when expanding their wardrobe.
Comfort and Durability is Key
With brands such as Birkenstock, Levi’s, and Hanes’ still on trend, it appears young adults love to dress comfortably. In addition, this thrifty generation will invest in pricier clothing pieces if they are built to last, meaning millennials will drop a pretty penny if the clothing items are of high-quality fabrics, fit well, and withstand wear.
Millennials tend to steer away from high end labels, opting for thriftier pieces or items from independent brands. According to Business Insider, in a recent survey targeting 17-37 year olds, Target has been named one of the top five favorite brands for millennials, due to its “intersection of style and affordability.” Therefore, it’s much more likely to see a millennial rock a Mossimo t-shirt than a pair of Gucci slides. This generation also loves to shop at thrift stores, both in person and online, using the websites ThredUp, TheRealReal, Ebay, Etsy, and Poshmark. Millennials appreciate both saving money and the environmentally-conscious aspect of buying second-hand.
In general, Millennials seek out unique clothing items in order to set themselves apart or as means of expression. Therefore, a majority of our population is on the market searching for nuanced fashion and personalized retail experiences. While millennials do strive for a more streamlined look, they do want unique clothing. Essentially, they desire timeless pieces with a twist. According to Forbes, one of millennials’ favorite ways to personalize a clothing item is through embroidery. Therefore, clothing retailers should offer this form of personalization.
Skip Fast Fashion
As previously stated, millennials tend to purchase items of substance rather than trendier pieces that won’t last a season. Due to a focus on durability millennials avoid shopping from retailers, such as H&M and Forever 21, that sell disposable clothing items. Additionally, members of this generation take social-consciousness in account when making purchases. Buying fast-fashion items is known to have a negative environmental impact and the treatment of some factory workers is deplorable.
Androgyny is In
With gender norms becoming dismantled and blurred, it only makes sense for fashion trends to follow suit. Brands should focus on manufacturing gender-fluid clothing items, advertising to members of all genders. Apparel brands are already going outside the conventions of masculinity and femininity, as seen in Zara’s “Engendered” collection, the Canadian based store Muttonhead, and the online shop One DNA.
Athleisure is Here to Stay
Millennials’ value both comfort and style, meaning athleisure wear is here to stay. Athletic clothing sales has increased 61% over the past ten years. A recent Business Insider report concludes “Practical fashion is en vogue,” with brands such as The North Face and Patagonia rising in popularity. Forbes has also stated the demand of athletic wear stems from “Wellness products like yoga pants give the wearer an association with a healthy activity, whether they’re actually doing the activity or not.” Streetwear is also a contributor in athleisure’s marketability with celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, and Kanye West, photographed in tennis shoes, oversized hoodies, and bike shorts.