The Lingerie Trends that have shaped the Decade
We’ve spent the past decade evolving the designs of our lingerie to offer busy women the undergarments and loungewear they need to suit changing lifestyle and consumer habits. While style, quality and innovation have remained at the heart of how we design our ranges, trends of the 2010s have shaped the products that made it on to our shelves.
As the go-to bra shop for over 1 in 3 women in the UK, where over 50,000 women get fitted in store every week, and where we hold a market share of 37.5% (Kantar World Panel, it is our responsibility to get our lingerie right for customers. Looking back over the past decade, I’ve pulled out nine key areas that have revolutionised the way we design lingerie for the nation.
If there’s a bra that sums up the decade – it’s the bralet. Our first ever bra sold in 1926 was really a bralet, with soft cups and a triangle shape. Now, a century later, we’ve found women once again embracing a more natural silhouette, buying 750,000 bralets from us a year! Innovation developments in fabrics and clever construction has allowed us to craft bralets which are lightweight, supportive and incredibly comfortable to wear, inclusive to all of our customers with sizes ranging to GG, something that would have been unthinkable at the start of the decade.
Being comfortable is always women’s biggest ask on lingerie, however, innovation in stretchy elastics, supersoft cups and brushed fabrics have elevated comfort to another level. At M&S we have a heritage of innovation, from our M&S Body Sensor tights that were launched in 1997, to our ladder resistant technology launched in 2007, to our latest loungewear collection including Flexifit TM technology that uses fabrics exclusively developed for M&S with 360 degree stretch. Comfort is definitely a priority for the 3 million pairs of tights we sell every year.
This decade the formality of how we dress has changed and we are embracing hybrid dressing, styling trainers with feminine dresses, or a sequin top with denim. We have seen an explosion of footsie and trainer liner sales with 1.2m of our footsies sold last year, over 70% more than the year before! There has also been the return of satin fabrics in sleepwear such as the relaxed fit PJ featured feature in the 2019 “Go Pyjamas” TV ad. These items have been popular not just as sleepwear but for wearing out and about too.
We embraced…Silk lingerie
Silk was traditionally an inaccessible fabric for many and in the noughties for us it was an important but quite small offer, however, this decade we changed that. 2012 saw the launch of our Rosie range, offering consumers the luxury of silk but at an accessible price point, designed to be machine washable for convenience. This year within the Rosie lingerie range we’ve sold over 1.2 million silk pieces – and for some women silk lingerie is now an everyday wear.
This decade sports bras have become an essential part of a woman’s lingerie wardrobe and that’s unsurprising as we’ve seen a big focus on health, wellbeing and fitness. In 2015 we launched our bestselling extra-high impact sports bra developed in collaboration with scientists at the Asahi Research centre in Japan to ensure the very best performance, and today M&S is the number one sports bra seller with a market share of 25%.
In 2005 we were inspired by the bikini shapes worn on the beaches of Brazil to create the brand-new Brazilian knicker shape and it became the top-selling trend knicker. Today we sell over 4.5 million Brazilian knickers a year.
This decade boobs have undeniably got bigger, with the average cup size being a DD. But big or small what we know that having a bra that fits properly is so important for your posture and your confidence. At the beginning of the decade we were measuring both over the top and under the bust. Seven years ago, this all changed and we started to measure underneath and then do the rest by visual assessment in conjunction with your individual body shape, making it more accurate.
We stopped embracing…worn to be seen thongs
Unlike other 90s trends which have had a recent revival such as slip dressing and cardigans, thankfully the worn to be seen thong stayed in the archive. Thong innovation has certainly come a long way and they have had a minor resurgence as we’ve all embraced leggings, but it’s undeniable that they haven’t regained the ‘look at me’ status of decades past – particularly the nineties. By the middle of this decade thongs were just 10% of our knicker sales.
We stopped embracing…Corsetry
We have said goodbye to old fashioned corsetry using metal and plastic boning with fabrics layered together to create structure and a nipped in waist. These often-uncomfortable garments, relied on to underpin an occasion outfit have given way to new generation shaping and smoothing underwear which not only creates a sleek line under clothes, it feels comfortable to wear.
SO…what’s in store for 2020?
We will continue to see the softer, natural silhouette drive lingerie development with continued focus on non-padded and non-wired bras. A focus on all things natural will draw us towards natural fibres such as cotton (where we’re proud to already use 100% more sustainability sourced material) and plant-based textiles. We will love everything floral, botanical and inspired towards the natural world with beautiful laces, embroideries and prints being inspired by these motifs. I believe that with the growing awareness of how important sleep is to our wellbeing, our customers will be looking for increasingly comfortable and versatile sleep and loungewear pieces which will enhance relaxation. And lastly, comfort will always be top of our agenda, it is simply too seductive to give up!