This has been the weirdest year for me since starting my business 18 years ago. And, to be honest, the fact that I am sitting here still in business is a miracle in itself. The day we went into lockdown I panicked. Not only would the pandemic be a hardship on small businesses, but I am also in an industry that had suddenly become irrelevant.
Add to that, the timing of the lockdown couldn’t have been worse. My business has a seasonal element to it. While I am always working, I am busiest in spring and fall. I had already gotten through a lean winter and the spring season evaporated before my eyes I feared the worst.
Yet, despite all that, while it has been a tough year, I am pleased to say that I worked quite a bit. This is the first year I didn’t step foot into one store all year and I was so incredibly grateful that I had established a virtual business over a decade ago. When I reflect back on 2020, I realize just how much worse it could have been.
Interestingly, most of my client work this year was with new clientele, not existing, which gives me hope for the year to come. If I could manage to grow my business during one of the most difficult years on record, the future looks bright. I was also supported by many of you in so many generous ways, including buying me cups of proverbial cups of coffee, booking services that weren’t critical, and keeping in touch. I will never forget the warmth and encouragement I got from so many of you.
A Year In Review: Most Requested Items by Clients in 2020
You may be wondering what clients were primarily looking for when they hired me this year. It may surprise you, it wasn’t just joggers and leggings. Here are the top ten requests I got from clients in 2020.
Joggers weren’t requested by everyone but they were still requested. Everyone at some point was in need of some sort of comfort, particularly my clients who were used to going to work every day. Clients who requested joggers were the ones who were caught flat-footed by suddenly finding themselves at home with nothing to wear.
This is where it gets surprising, just how many tailored items were requested by clients. Despite most people working from home, not everyone did and many women used this time at home to work on developing their style and tweaking their image.
Blazers were a big request because they could be worn to the workplace in a professionally casual manner with jeans and other comfortable pants. They were also useful for clients to pop on for video meetings when they wanted to look professional.
It has been a while since skirts have been in the spotlight. Normally, they are too much of a pain to deal with because, unlike dresses, you need to think about what to wear with them. However, this year, I got a surprising amount of requests for midi-skirts both professionally and for mid-casual.
This was more of a summer request and not as much of a request as a suggestion by me for clients who were looking for easy ways to look polished during the very casual summer we had. Kimonos were also helpful for video calls when clients were looking for pretty and prints and colors to look more lively and pulled together.
Finding the perfect t-shirt is like finding the perfect jeans. It takes time and a lot of trial and error. I spent a great deal of time this year on the search for the perfect t-shirt style for clients there weren’t too sheer, were figure-flattering, had the right neckline, and more. Unfortunately, what is perfect for one client doesn’t work for another, so this search for something so simple can be exhaustive.
Not surprisingly, clients needed tops they could wear for work Zoom calls. They needed to be easy-care, colorful but not too optic or bold and comfortable.
Easy Drapey Blouses
Easy silk and silky-looking blouses were very popular this year, particularly by those who needed to spend some time in the office but they were also worn casually with jeans.
It’s been a long time since any client was open to pants with pleats, but they’ve been gone so long they actually look fresh. Pleats give a rounder shape to the body which fits with the more relaxed pants styles in stores these days. Be it in tapered pants or wide-leg styles, clients are open to pleats.
You would think that I didn’t get one suit request this year given the fact that most people worked from home. However, as I mentioned, many clients were proactive this year and used this time to think ahead. Clients who were interested in suits were very interested in suits that were colorful and more interesting in the staid classics.
Straight Leg Jeans
The number one jeans silhouette for 2020 was straight leg jeans. They can look super cool or like bad mom jeans, depending on how they are styled. They’re not for everyone and this shape takes some getting used to after years of skinny jeans but I do take comfort in finally being able to breathe a bit after years of squeezing my body into skinnies.
Top Brands for 2020
Here are the top brands I shopped most often in 2020
What were your top brands and trends for 2020?
What about you? What brands did you shop and styles did you prefer? I’d love to hear.