As retailers begin planning spring assortments over a year in advance, runway shows offer an essential glimpse into the upcoming trends. This article summarizes five of the hottest Spring/Summer 24 catwalk trends that retailers should chase for their seasonal merchandise mix. We’ll analyze the data behind each trend and provide advice to help buyers capitalize on these styles. Whether it’s micro shorts, polos, column skirts, strapless dresses, or intimates as outerwear, read on for the trends you need to stock up on now.
1. The rise of the Super Short Short
Micro shorts also called super short shorts, are poised to be one of the standout trends from the Spring 2024 runways. The data shows these itty-bitty bottoms dominating the short assortment – they make up a whopping 49% of the total shorts mix based on WGSN’s catwalk analysis.
This style caters perfectly to youth-focused and trend-driven markets. To make the micro shorts more approachable for retailers, designers often showed them as part of coordinated sets. For example, pair leather shorts with matching biker jackets or team ribbed knit shorts with slim-fitting cardigans. This helps consumers envision how to wear the standout silhouette.
When buying these super short shorts, focus on familiar fabrics that will sell well and have longevity. Denim, leather, athletic knits, and polished tailoring fabrics work best. The goal is easing customers into the sheer mini length by keeping the materials classic. And play up the fact that less fabric means lower costs. Consider repurposing scrap materials from other products into short shorts or cutting down existing longer shorts.
To avoid overlap, reduce your buy of miniskirts and reallocate that budget to the fresh new micro shorts. But be sure not to overload on tiny bottoms across both skirts and shorts. Carefully balance your mini assortment to achieve variety.
2. Polos step into high fashion territory
The polo shirt is getting a high-fashion makeover for Spring 2024. While polos have always been a staple basic, designers like Miu Miu, Gucci, and Loewe are elevating the classic preppy style on the runways. Part of the overall rise of trends like #NewPrep and #ModernAcademia, this luxury take on polos offers slimmer silhouettes and bold branding details.
The data confirms that polos are having a moment — they account for a staggering 40% mix within the woven and knit tops category based on WGSN catwalk analysis. Searches are also up 250% year-over-year.
For retailers, focus on styling polos in a more fashion-forward way. Merchandise them alongside other hero Spring/Summer 24 items like short-shorts, column skirts, and Bermuda shorts. Keep the traditional slim polo silhouette but update the look through modern fabrics, subtle branding, and placement prints. If you have your own symbols or logos, try incorporating them discretely as a way to cement your brand identity.
And don’t overbuy polos just because they are trending. Be strategic with your assortment planning. Distinguish polos as smarter staples while basic tees fill the ultra-casual everyday role. Balance your mix of cut-and-sew tops and knits appropriately so you don’t end up overstocked.
3. Maximize sales with column skirts
The column skirt shows no signs of slowing down, gaining popularity for the third consecutive season. This elongated maxi silhouette caters to a wide range of consumers. On one end, column skirts appeal to modest dressers and demure markets. On the other, fashion-forward customers love the streamlined shape tied to the rise of “Low Key Luxury” aesthetics.
The versatility of the column skirt makes it a strong buy for retailers. As the data shows, column skirts now make up 42% of the total skirts category. And with searches for “maxiskirts” up 5000% this year, the long flowing column is poised to dominate skirt sales.
When merchandising this hero item, first check your current inventory for any column skirts in transitional fabrics like satin or jersey that could carry over from last fall. This allows you to skip markdowns and reduce the need to reorder. If making new buys, negotiate with your vendors to fit the column skirt into existing production plans to save costs. Agree to small initial order quantities with the option for made-to-order later to hit minimums if needed.
And as column skirts continue to eclipse other lengths in popularity, look to decrease buys of midi and knee-length pencil skirts accordingly. Shift your budget to maxis to keep your assortment fresh and aligned with rising trends. The long column shape offers the perfect update to the traditional tailored skirt.
4. Strapless dresses make a comeback
Strapless dress silhouettes are back in a big way for Spring 2024, tapping into Y2K nostalgia and late 90s/early 2000s aesthetic trends. Dresses currently dominate the apparel category at almost 24% market share. The strapless dress provides a new direction to update merchandising mixes beyond just bodycon and clingy styles.
The data shows strapless necklines increased 14% over previous seasons. And searches are up 180% for terms like “strapless linen dress”. The tube shape works across occasions too—dress it down for daytime or up for events. This versatility gives the strapless silhouette an advantage over trend-driven bodycon dresses.
When buying and displaying these dresses, showcase layering potential by showing it over shirts and blouses. The bare shoulders let you feature seasonal statement necklaces and chokers too. And don’t overlook the power of styling. Display your strapless dresses with belt bags, mule heels, micro sunglasses, and other hero Spring/Summer 24 accessories.
Since form-fitting knit dresses have been strong sellers for a while now, look to trade out some SKUs to make room for these new woven strapless options instead. Ribbed fabric in midi lengths keeps the casual versatility but with an elevated aesthetic. Just be sure to maintain a balanced assortment to hit various price points.
5. Bralettes meet blazers
One of the most directional trends for Spring 2024 is the pairing of blazers and bralettes. Drawing from the rise of underwear as outerwear aesthetics, a tailored jacket styled over a lacy bralette or triangle bikini top makes for an unexpected combo. It’s a prime example of high-low dressing contrasts that feel fresh and new.
The data confirms the popularity of both elements of this trend. Blazers dominate outerwear with a 67% category share. And interest in bralettes continues rising fast, up 50% this year over 2021.
The key to capitalizing on this provocative trend is using merchandise you already carry. Raid your current blazer offering for styles that would work layered over intimates. Silhouettes that nip in at the waist or flare slightly at the hip bone tend to be most flattering. Then showcase those jackets over any bralettes, wireless bras, or swimsuit tops you have.
If your brand doesn’t typically carry intimates, use this trend as an incentive to test into the category in a small way. The right partners can help you produce capsule collections of lace crop tops or bikini tops to display under blazers. Getting the styling right is essential to helping shoppers understand how to pull off this sultry look.
And don’t overlook delivery timing. Collaborating across buying teams to shift summer merchandise like swimwear earlier into spring floorsets allows you to showcase this on-trend pairing even during transitional months when consumers may be skeptical.
Staying on top of runway trends each season is crucial for fashion retailers looking to connect with style-savvy shoppers. As the analysis shows, there are clear breakout trends to tap into for Spring 2024, from micro short shorts to cropped strapless dresses.
Use the data and advice provided in this article to make informed buying decisions. Lean into hero trends in the right way by following the tips on fabrication, styling, and merchandising. But also balance chasing trends with maintaining a solid core assortment of basics and best-sellers.
Revisit this article as you put together spring buys over the coming months. And keep checking back as we continue covering additional standout catwalk trends that will drive sales next year. Paying attention to what’s next allows retailers to satisfy customer demand and stay ahead in this fast-paced fashion environment.