This pandemic has brought us one thing: a desire to let go of all the restrictions that have held us back and embrace sexy dressing. It’s amazing how the pendulum has swung. Loungewear was designed to provide comfort for those locked downs a year ago. But now, there is an intrinsic need for human touch. We’re now in 2021’s “hot wax summer”, or Summer of Love, because of the touch crisis and being denied the opportunity to see people in person. This was the first time we’ve seen consumers show off their skin in a while. The emotional reasoning behind this decision will continue to hold true well into 2022.
How did we get to this point?
This shift did not happen overnight. The rise in vaccination rates and sweatpants fatigue led to loungewear offering more sensual designs starting to appear in Spring 21. Skims’ body-hugging slip dresses were launched March this year. They went viral on social media platform TikTok and are back for fall with a new keyhole update. Sweats and loungewear were replaced by sweaters and knitwear. This gave us an elevated look that could be worn both inside and out. Knitwear was known for its comfort, but the silhouettes of knitwear have changed. Styles moved closer to the body with the help of slinky, rib knits, instead of being oversized. Although there were many knit sets in the conversation, knit column dresses with cutouts also became popular in the summer. This was inspired by Cult Gaia’s Serita dress, which is a fan favorite of Hailey Bieber as well as the Jenner clan. The column shape, with cutout placements at the sides and back, is undoubtedly very sexy. It remains a popular style in the Spring 22 collections.
The building up
Select brands have launched lust-worthy advertising campaigns that emphasize intimacy, adding fuel to the flame. There are many makeout sessions. The most shocking ad is Suit Supply’s “The New Normal”, which features a group of men and women wearing underwear except for one man in a suit. Some felt that the timing of the ad was too early, while Diesel, who is not a stranger to sexy ads, had a similar campaign. Diesel’s ads, entitled “When Together”, offered a more relatable explanation. They described the ads as “a portrait about absence and desire told through love stories of those who have experienced both the intense reconnection that follows” and “a portrait of love and loss told through the words and actions of lovers who have experienced both the time apart and the pain of separation.” Megan Fox and Kourtney Kim posed in underwear eating fruit together in the Fall 21 Skims campaign. Paris Hilton said it was hot and that no description is necessary.
What’s the hottest thing about now?
Silhouettes are now closer to the body. This is evident in the return of body-con dresses, which have a modern slant and include details like ruching, cutouts, and fabric draping. This trend of bringing the focus back on the body is due to the new season’s enthusiasm for sensual dressing and the desire to be glamorous. Designers have shown a willingness to dress sensually on the runways. There was a lot of flesh displayed, and items were tailored so that there is very little room for imagination. Fashion’s obsession with new erogenous areas is exposed by the use of expressive cut-outs. They are applied to every part of the body, from the neckline to the hip bones. A thong-pant hybrid hip cutout can be bold and exciting, and appeals especially to Gen Z.
As consumers shop for “going out” clothes, dressing up is a common theme. New deliveries include tops, dresses and winter staples like cardigans with open front designs that have nothing underneath. Jacquemus’ logo clasp cardigan is another favorite among the younger crowd. New items have been reintroduced by the trend of revealing skin, paradoxically. For example, mini skirts were everywhere on the runways. Minis are gaining popularity after years of dominating the skirt category with midi hemlines. To maximize the skin’s visibility, this look includes bra tops and similarly revealing silhouettes. These items are sure to elicit the excitement of an ever-increasing crowd motivated by a desire for something new. In this instance, it happens to be body reveal.
Notable and new
For a few reasons, this is not the glamorous Aughts. This trend is being driven by a younger generation of designers, as well as established luxury brands. Nensi Dojaka from London, who was recently awarded the 2021 LVMH prize, and is a favourite of Dua Lipa is a great choice for this brand of sexy, featuring signature bodycon party dresses and lingerie details. Supriya Lele and Rejina Pyo are also worth mentioning, as well as KNWLS, Ottolinger, and KNWLS. This new group of designers is all women and are focused on women’s fashion.
This overall shift is different than most trends because there is not usually a particular style for sexy dressing. Cutouts can be used on Stella McCartney’s sporty outfits as well as Saint Laurent’s disco catsuits. Trend fluidity is only possible because this new wave in body consciousness resonates with the Y2K-obsessed crowd. Blumarine is the one to watch with her micro shorts, tied cardigans, and tie-dyed sweaters.
In the end, sexy dressing is a way to feel more free and post-pandemic. Contrary to the 00s, sexy is now more about how the wearer feels than what it does for the men. High hemlines and fitted silhouettes are the best way to express your body consciousness.