The Rise of Shorts

Eudon Choi Pre-Fall 20

Eudon Choi

Shorts have been slowly rising for the past three years across the S/S catwalks, going from a 2.8% share in S/S 17 to 4.4% of the apparel mix in S/S 20, according to WGSN Instock. WGSN’s Laura Yiannakou explains why shorts are uptrending for 2020.

Shorts Uptrend for 2020

Shorts have been taking on a more fashion-forward guise for a couple of years, driven mainly by the youth market. Cue the cycling short; this item resurfaced as part of the ongoing obsession with 1990s looks. We saw this sporty, Lycra-clad statement bubble up particularly strongly across Scandinavian street style first, before other regions caught on. Fast-forward to 2020, and we’ve seen the style gain momentum, transitioning into a ‘city short’ – still sleek and slim legged in style, but worked into a more formal, tailored guise that caters to a broader age demographic and now sits across a wider variety of trends.

WGSN knew the short would continue to gain momentum throughout 2019 when we analysed our own Instock retail data. It flagged that shorts were one of the top three fastest growing categories in the UK and US. This has definitely been a knock-on effect from the amount of influencers wearing them and brands that have used them as standout press pieces to engage and excite.



How to Style Shorts

Summer 2019 saw the short suit hit the high street as the go-to fashion co-ord set, and this will remain a key styling look in 2020 as the mood for power tailoring continues. Accessories wise, we’re seeing many influencers pair shorts with knee-high boots – @sissysaintmarie is a great example of this.

Shorts provide opportunity for statement footwear to take centre stage within a look, which has not been so easy until now, as floor-sweeping, wide-leg trousers have dominated many trends.

Ganni shorts


Rework Shorts to Offer Year-Round Appeal

Expect to see shorts transcend beyond the summer months more frequently. The Pre-Fall 20 collections were a telling sign of this: autumnal reworks of shorts came through in heavier fabrics and darker shades. This sits in line with brands striving to design thoughtful, hard-working items within their ranges that hold timeless appeal, while transcending seasons.

Brand-of-the-moment Bottega Veneta opted for slick leather shorts this season, as did Nanushka. While Ganni opted for the comfort-factor, with a wide leg in a tailored, high-waisted cut with an adjustable belt.

Tailored Shorts Drive Newness

While the womenswear market remains entrenched in comfort, we are simultaneously tracking a lot of key looks within the formalwear category. Sharp, put-together looks are driving all the newness at the moment, particularly as minimalism continues be a dominant influence in fashion.

Brittany Bathgate is a great example of an influencer that does the timeless, put-together look very well. This is definitely impacting the shorts category as they become more tailored and pared-back in appearance, and therefore work much more seamlessly across the modern woman’s wardrobe.

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