The telltale signs that your wardrobe belongs to the middle class
A dry dress
The Dryrobe – a towel-coat hybrid designed to warm up after a dip in the sea – became the most sought-after outerwear item last winter, after countless Britons took to swimming in the wild.
Add to this the shift to remote working and the integration of leisure into the working day, and the Dryrobe is now increasingly worn as a consumer accessory, in the supermarket or while walking the dog.
The hit BBC TV show Freeze the Fear with Wim Hof also helped boost sales of changing dresses, which have doubled over the past year.
You might head to the local lido rather than risk a river full of sewage, but the middle-class obsession with cold-water baths isn’t waning.
“Outdoor swimming is not only good for the body, but also for the mind,” says Jo Bennett, purchasing manager at John Lewis. “We saw customers searching and buying the essentials; from waterproof bathrobes and swimsuits to stylish goggles and winter warmers.
The event hat
It wasn’t just the return of wedding season this year – it was Ascot, Jubilee and a summer of events that required a hat. Millinery sales increased by 168%, while searches for “wedding” on the John Lewis website increased by 21,000%. We also sought professional help; the store has performed over 2,000 personal styling appointments. As one in five of us have attended a wedding in the past year, you’ve probably also gotten good value for your new purchases.
Shapewear and sports bras
We’re dressing up again, but not without the right underwear, which is tripling shapewear sales. Put aside all the memories of Bridget Jones’ grandmother’s pants – today’s body-sculpting underwear is much more comfortable and is more about smoothing than shrinking. Whether you are a Spanx, Skims or Miraclesuit woman, shapewear has become an integral part of our evening wear.
The 2020 and 2021 lockdowns gave women a chance to spin bralettes and wire-free bras. I did too – but if you’re on a D cup and dressing for work or a night out, nothing makes your outfit look better than a well-fitting underwire bra. It’s no wonder, then, that non-wired bra sales fell by a third and underwired bra sales increased by 45%.
Meanwhile, when Chloe Kelly scored that game-winning goal and the Lionesses of England claimed the European Championship title, searches for sports bras online doubled. Searches for football boots also increased by 60%.
We can almost predict the dashing bourgeois dinner of fall 2022: “Are you still buying BCI cotton socks at M&S? Well, Primark’s recycled cotton socks cost £2.50 for five pairs. Amid rising inflation, three-quarters of shoppers now prioritize affordability when shopping for clothes.
But we haven’t completely given up on comfort. Sales of Ugg boots were seven times higher than they were a year ago. The Ugg-birth could have something to do with the Gucci sheepskin boots that were worn by Sienna Miller last winter. But with skyrocketing energy bills, many of us will be layering at home, which makes comfortable sheepskin shoes essential.