Did New Yorkers skip winter this year?

Even though holiday spending once again set new records worldwide, there are some items New Yorkers are shying away from this year, and it includes an entire winter wardrobe.
Unseasonably high temperatures have left NYC feeling more like late fall or early spring than January. In the NL office alone, we’re seeing silk blouses, light cardigans, and stockings instead of tights. The sun is beaming through the window and there’s a noticeable decline in the number of black pieces being worn. It’s the same out on the streets; lower temperatures this week have caused people to bundle up a bit more than usual, but is it too little too late for winter-wear retailers?

Cold weather trends in the New York Times

The biggest trend in NYC this winter is fur and shearling vests. That’s right, the most popular piece of outerwear on the streets doesn’t even have sleeves! In the recent Bill Cunningham New York Times spreads, we’ve seen vests, hat-less heads, light scarves and not a speck of snow. The streets are still sundrenched, and the most extreme weather we’ve seen recently isn’t extreme at all: a few light showers and wind gusts.
Mary Kate Olsen in a fur vest

As we discussed last month, more and more buyers waited until the last minute to do their holiday shopping this year. The same went for purchasing a winter wardrobe. Higher-than-usual temperatures eliminated the necessity for heavier fabrics, so many consumers waited until these items went on sale later in the season, rather than buying them up as soon as they hit the racks. This led to a slump in October, November and early December sales. Couple this with the more popular layering trend, and shoppers could eliminate winter clothing purchases all together.

Purple Ginger - Resort 2012

Now that resort and spring collections are pushing winter wear out of stores, many New Yorkers just skipped the season. While it’s nice to purchase a shiny new collection of wool coats, leather boots and heavy denim, why buy it if you don’t need it? Interestingly enough, the type of cold-weather gear that did stay consistent this season was in the men’s department. Leather jackets and designer denim both saw significant increases in sales this season, particularly in men’s styles. Makes sense, since both go beyond trend and can be kept as timeless pieces and worn over and over again. Maybe it was just that men had it figured out this year, while women were left starring at closets full of last year’s jackets that would spend another few months without seeing the light of day.