We need to talk. Ladies' styles have changed a lot in the past few years and we want to make sure everyone knows. Gone are the days of men's shirts in smaller sizes or youth shirts in larges. Women's wear not only fits women's curves, it fits the many different curves of many different women. Apparel suppliers are drawing from retail chains, echoing runway looks and employing clever designs to make women's apparel more flattering than ever. Not only do these garments boast a "woman's fit," they actually fit all women. We chatted with a few of the industry's elite suppliers to get the lowdown on women's wear in 2012. Their responses on what's in and what's out may surprise you.
What's In: Runway Looks
"Runway fashions always find their way into different areas of the clothing industry," said Elson Yeung, product line manager, Ash City USA, Lenexa, Kan. He explained that end-buyers demand fashionable apparel, so apparel suppliers make it. "The current customer demands and buying habits make this [fashionable apparel] possible," he said.
Yeung stated that the trick to incorporating fashion-forward looks into your promotion is to pick the ones most suited for the industry. "Some of the trends [seen on the runways] do impact Ash City's new styles but only where we feel they would be adaptable and beneficial to our customers' use," he said. "For example, the use of embossed printed fabrics is prominent in our Spring '12 launch."
Other ways to update your apparel promotions while sticking to promotion-friendly styles is to change the way you imprint the garments. "You can achieve a more up-to-date feel by decorating a logo in unique locations such as along a shoulder seam, down the forearm of a sleeve or asymmetrically on the right side of a back yoke," said Yeung. He suggested using style lines or color blocking so logos can be framed, making them more eye-catching. Yeung also noted the two new style details for corporate apparel that go well with clever imprint locations: Y-necklines and waist-narrowing princess seams.
What's In: Purples
Yeung mentioned that the most popular color that has filtered down from the runway is purple. "Colors such as our mulberry purple has been extremely popular for women's corporate looks, available in our Merton sweater (pictured right) and Dollis cardigan, these styles combine feminine styling with this popular color," he said.
What's Out: Men's Styles for Women
"It is no longer acceptable for corporate purchases to simply buy men's styles for female staff," he said. "That's why at Ash City, we've always addressed this by offering feminine ladies' styles that actually fit comfortably and look flattering." The V-neck sweater (pictured above) is an example of a ladies' fit garment.