• Edited/ Kayla Marci

3 winning narratives for neutrals in menswear

JUL.13.2020

A new industry partnership between Gap and Kanye West’s label Yeezy is breathing new life in the neutrals’ longevity.

We delve into three key merchandising stories you need to know, direction for future promotions and the significant trends to support the story. And get in touch for a demo to see how you can conquer trends like these today.


Back to basics

Arrivals are up 31% and 18% in the US and UK, respectively.

Retailers are ramping up investment in neutral comfort stories across both regions. T-shirts remain the top stocked category, followed by shorts and hoodies. Suits-sets noted a heavy increase in arrivals YoY thanks to boohooMAN’s investment in tracksuits following a quick reaction to lockdown measures. The top three investors in loungewear across both regions were boohooMAN, Zara and H&M.

The future of lockdown is uncertain

As the fate of quarantine hangs in the balance, so does the confidence in smarter apparel purchases. Investment in outdoors-inspired products and staycation stories are a safe bet and will grow in importance if lockdown continues.

Co-ords will be key

Now that the co-ord is solidified as a continuing trend for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021, retailers are looking for ways to refresh current offerings. Neutrals lend well as a calming shade during a tough time for many and can pair back to other pieces.

Push longevity

The biggest benefit when it comes to a comfort story is the year-round appeal it provides. Whether working-from-home or lounging on the weekend, there will always be a place for loungewear in the consumer’s closet. Point out that an investment in leisure is one that is sure to pay off for seasons to come.

Linen mentions are on the rise

With products often colored up in neutral shades, linen proved to be a standout trend this season. Mentions of summer’s favorite fabric grew 9% YoY across retailer emails in Q2 and is the perfect solution for dressed up looks amid rising temperatures – something to keep in mind for Spring 2021. Moving into fall, a focus on tactile fabrics will remain, offering a refresh for neutral staples such as knits and outerwear.

Festive season awaits

A whole host of excuses to dress up will present themselves this fall. Some consumers may be returning to the workplace as threats of the virus wane – consider back-to-work stories colored up in neutrals. Furthermore, holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas offer additional opportunities to push tailoring in muted tones.

Highlight technology

Fabric advancements and increased hygiene are two of the essential stories within tailoring at the moment. From antibacterial fabrics to stretch properties for added comfort, these will be more important than ever to give the consumer peace of mind and flexibility around when to wear the trend.

Plan ahead for future events

Though several events and gatherings have been canceled or postponed, these will slowly begin to resume. The new normal formal will be a key post-coronavirus trend and should be considered when planning future promotions. Hold off on discounting classic styles that have high selling potential down the road.


Fashion meets function

Streetwear’s continued dominance

With COVID-19 impacting the utility trend, a rise in discount levels was noted across several key trends, including utility shirts and vests. Nevertheless, streetwear looks have maintained in the mass market and neutral palettes have favored the story. A function-first approach will be key for Fall 2020 with details like pockets, zips, buckles and tech fabrics at the fore.

The impact of Yeezy x Gap

Kanye West, one of the biggest influences in streetwear, recently announced his label Yeezy would link up with Gap. West’s collections are known for their roots in basics and muted color palettes. Speculation continues that the 10-year partnership, which will see its first collection drop in Fall 2021, will likely favor basic silhouettes and continue the importance of neutrals moving forward.

Shine the spotlight on cargos

With Google search trends on the rise since lockdown and recent posts across Instagram, it’s clear that cargo shorts are just one of the things consumers want now. With outdoor holidays and camping guaranteed to become more critical, highlight cargo joggers and vests as a practical, yet stylish way to buy into the trend.

Layered looks work well

From khaki to sand, neutrals of all shades pair well together and should be leveraged in the transition from summer to fall. Look to commercial winners like trench coats and shirt jackets to layer over T-shirts and polos to emphasize a utilitarian-inspired aesthetic. Pops of color can also be infused this way – take cues from boohooMAN’s recent Instagram feature.


Colors to watch

Sage green

Spotted amongst tailoring looks at Topman and River Island, the shade offers the perfect muted alternative for next spring and a subtle way to infuse color next year.

Spiced orange

Shades of burnt orange, spice and rust are rich in color and ideal for fall. They are also suitable for a range of stories from smart knitwear to casual co-ord loungewear looks.

Navy blue

Perhaps the safest of the bunch, navy has been widely noted across arrivals and promotions this year. With classic blue as the Pantone 2020 Color of the Year, navy presents a go-to update.

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