See all Blog posts

The Best & Worst Performing Dress Styles

EDITD's "Top Performing Products" industry report reveals key commercial analysis for the apparel retail industry. Here we discover 2013's best & worst dresses.
The Best & Worst Performing Dress Styles | EDITED
  • EDITD Reiss Newsletter 2013
  • EDITD-best-selling-dress-styles-2013-lace
  • EDITD-best-selling-dress-styles-2013-maxi
  • EDITD-best-selling-dress-styles-2013-shift
  • EDITD-worst-selling-dress-styles-2013-bodycon
  • EDITD-worst-selling-dress-styles-2013-one-shoulder
  • EDITD-worst-selling-dress-styles-2013-sequin

On the eve of releasing our apparel retail report, ‘Top Performing Retailers & Products of 2013’, we’re revealing snippets of the key findings. Last week, we shared the Top Performing Footwear, and here we detail what went on in the dress category in 2013.

Dresses, as one of the most competitive fashion categories globally, have high rates of replenishment and low rates of discounting. When retailers strike upon a successful formula, the wins are big. When they go wrong, it can make a big impact on sales for the whole season. Retailers use the type of data shared in our report, alongside real-time analysis, to guarantee full market visibility, ensuring they’re not blindsided by emerging trends. Here we look at the best and worst performing dresses of 2013.

The Best Performing Dress Styles

Lace Dresses
Lace was huge news in 2013, with black lace in fitted styles performing best. This was backed up by the runway – AW13 showed lace dresses from Jill Stuart, Jenny Packham and Louis Vuitton. 33,781 lace dresses arrived online during 2013. The mass market dominated this trend – with 64% of 2013’s lace dresses in this segment. The most common price point was £20-30. ASOS US clearly saw a higher demand for lace dresses than their UK site: they carried 629 more styles in the States. Interestingly, lace dresses were also the most discounted category in this year’s January sales – a sign that the consumer had their love affair with the lace styles of last year and are now ready for newness with this fabric. EDITD customers can read the latest trends here.

Simple in shape and in black or blue, maxis were the runaway success. Globally, House of Fraser were the retailer with the largest offering in 2013 – a total of 2,837 new styles arrived with them during 2013. Next closest was ASOS with 1,820. The most expensive maxi on the market in 2013? A silk tie-dye number from Versace at £6,630.

This dress shape has a huge market outside the Gen Y consumer, which propel so many trend-led styles. Best selling were simply cut and black. Shift dresses were arriving into stores in high volume from July right through to the end of the year. House of Fraser and Marks & Spencer were the retailers with the largest assortments of this style. Globally, there were 24,190 shift dress options arriving online during 2013.

The Worst Performing Dress Styles

The mass and value markets have exhausted the bodycon trend, which was so popular in 2012, resulting in widespread discounting. 65% of bodycon dresses belong to the mass market – a key indicator that the trend has slipped beyond high fashion stakes. First discounts on average were being applied to bodycon dresses after just 65 days.

It’s a polarizing trend not popular with everyone, given its tricky fit and younger audience. 55.5% of one-shouldered dresses which arrived online during 2013 were discounted, and a third of those were discounted by more than 50%. Lipsy were the brand with the highest number of styles on the market.

Sequined dresses, despite looking great in online merchandising, remain tied to occasion wear. The market was limited with patchy sales across the year, and retailers who over-bought saw high levels of discounting.

The old faithful

The wardrobe staple and retail’s most faithful, black dresses are consistently the best selling shade. 40,315 black dresses arrived online during 2013. The most popular style was cocktail, with any length of sleeve, which benefitted from crossover as a workwear item. Cocktail dresses, which incorporated black lace were also very popular.

Stay tuned for the full report by signing up to our free insider briefings today – it’s your touchpoint for the latest news in data apparel.