Fashion By Numbers

Dressing by data – a report by trend analyst extraordinaire, Hugh Upsher

By Hugh Upsher

Who needs style when you have data? After being lambasted for my piece Trends That May Never Come Back, I logged into Google Trends to bring you some meta insights, including the ups, downs and spikes of global fashion interests. The data below is based directly on Google search terms used over time (June 2010 to June 2016), after the Superbalist stylists handed me a pile of keywords to work with and left the math to me. I’ve taken the liberty of including my expert analysis to break down these fascinating discoveries.


Here we have a pair of shoe styles that have seen growing interest over the last couple of years. It looks like block heels will prevail as a more dominant trend going forward, as gimmicky ‘light up’ sneakers appear to be losing steam going into the rest of 2016. Who would have thought that the public's interest in shoes that light up when you walk would diminish as quickly as they started appearing?


The half-blood hybrids that are jeggings became a big thing in late 2010, but they have not managed to hold up the hype from their initial interest peak. The last couple of years have seen a significant jump in girls stealing their jeans from other people. The ‘mom’ and ‘boyfriend’ jean fits have been showing increased popularity from the start of 2013, with the boyfriend jeans coming out as the front runner in 2016.

Distressed denim

According to the denim data, acid wash jeans have already seen their best days of this decade peaking in early 2014. Torn jeans have had more of a slow growth with the 90s revival building up steam over the last few years. It has only been 12 months since the two styles crossed popularity paths, so you’ll probably be seeing torn acid wash jeans around the mall for a little while longer.


The parkas and puffers are seeing a subtle, yet stable increase each winter, but the clear jackets-and-coats winner seems to be the bomber jacket, which ‘blew up’ in late 2015. It looks like they’ll be dominating the winter warmer search terms for a while to come still.


I didn’t even know what a pussy bow blouse was until I started working on this article. As it turns out they had a moment in late 2012 and aren't nearly as dirty as I initially thought. Could the pussy bow blouse be overdue for another massive popularity spike? I have absolutely no idea. A safer bet would be to go with the steady popularity growth of a regular black blouse.

These numbers tell interesting stories, but that doesn’t mean you need to take these trends as gospel. You'll need to figure out for yourself which ones you want to follow, and those you’d rather skip. Remember, while the numbers don't lie the trend game requires interpretation on your part, too, so keep consulting the data and interpret it in a way that only you could. That's style.