Eye On Apparel: When The Going Gets Comfortable

 

It goes without saying that travel has looked a little different this year, especially this past summer. As coronavirus continued to spread between countries and across continents, travel became increasingly restricted, and many major airlines cut their capacity—some by more than 90 percent, writes WWD—in order to protect customers’ safety while still continuing to operate. National restrictions were implemented by President Trump to control travel into the U.S. from select countries, namely China, Italy and Spain, where the rate of spread was particularly high. And even though months have passed since the first stay-at-home orders were issued and face masks became required by businesses and public spaces, the travel industry faces a slow recovery. In July, the International Air Transport Association announced that international air travel likely won’t fully recover financially from the effects of coronavirus until 2024.

But Americans haven’t given up on the quest for a refreshing getaway—most are simply choosing to vacation locally. In a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults conducted in late April by Twiddy & Company, a vacation rental company serving North Carolina’s Outer Banks area, only seven percent of respondents said they were willing to travel internationally and only nine percent said they’d be willing to go on a cruise, while 72 percent said they were more comfortable driving to destinations. The survey also found that younger respondents were more eager to hit the road; 30 percent of respondents under age 25 were willing to travel right then or as soon as the social distancing mandates relaxed, compared with less than 15 percent of people age 54 and older. Demographically, respondents from the Midwest were most likely to travel, with more than 40 percent saying they were not afraid to; something that contrasted sharply with respondents from the Northeast, where 73 percent said they were fearful about traveling.

The most popular vacations Americans are taking this year include road trips to parks, local cities and camping, as well as "staycations," according to Twiddy & Company. In another survey conducted of 1,000 U.S. adults by Longwoods International, a Columbus, Ohio-based market research consultancy, when asked about the first trip they’d take when it was appropriate to travel, more than half (52 percent) of respondents said they planned on traveling to visit friends or family, and among them, 76 percent planned to drive and 24 percent planned to fly. Overall, 86 percent of respondents said they planned on visiting a domestic destination, four percent said they planned on traveling internationally, two percent said they planned on taking a staycation locally—whether that’s at a nearby destination or within the comfort of their own homes—and eight percent said they didn’t intend to travel over the next six months. For those driving to their destinations, the distance was almost an equal split: 52 percent were traveling within 200 miles of their homes and 48 percent were venturing further.

The trend of “microcations,” or vacations that are fewer than five nights, are also popular. In 2019, Allianz Global Assistance, a travel insurance and assistance company, reported in its 2019 Vacation Confidence Index, a study of 1,005 Americans, that most (57 percent) did not take a vacation longer than four nights in the past year. The trend was headed by Millennials, 72 percent of which took at least one microcation that year, followed by 69 percent of Gen-Xers and 60 percent of Baby Boomers, while 28 percent of Americans didn’t travel at all. Forbes reported that nearly all bookings (99 percent) made through HotelTonight.com are for fewer than five nights, 77 percent of which are for fewer than two nights. The top areas to visit, writes Forbes, are Atlantic City, Baltimore, The Hamptons, Monterey and Napa.

And for those Americans who aren’t comfortable with traveling at all, there are virtual options available, too. Many companies, such as Club Med at Home, YouVisit and Czech Tourism, offer 360-degree tours of local landscapes and sites. In December 2019, New Jersey-based marketing firm Travel World VR launched an app enabling users to view 360-degree virtual reality videos of cruise lines, hotels, destinations, resorts and tour operators—all in attempts to better engage travelers, prospective travelers or curious wanderers to continue exploring, and to keep the global travel industry moving.

With people spending a lot more time indoors, locally or at home, and to complement travelers taking long road trips to their destinations, companies in the travel, tourism and hospitality space can tap into changing vacationing trends by making comfort a top priority. Luxury hotels can conduct a product-with-purchase campaign where guests booking rooms in the penthouse or presidential suites receive a pair of branded sweatpants or a hoodie in the mail, prior to hitting the road, that they can wear on their journey, while those participating in virtual tours can send a mailer with a related promotional product—like a magnet of a landscape or monument—along with a self-promo resembling a postcard. With a quick transition to casual and even pajamas on those days without virtual meetings or conferences, companies can offer loose-fitting and cozy apparel that’s convenient and meets end users’ current needs, while keeping their branding top of mind.

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Whether end users are recreating a spa-like experience at home or traveling to it in person, the Terry Velour Hooded Robe is a high-quality heavyweight option for spas and luxury resorts, and companies selling personal care products looking to reach at-home end users. The hooded bath robe is made from 100-percent cotton and is available in white, navy and black (shown).

Terry Town  /  PPAI 230911, S7  /  www.terrytown.com

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With a retro-resort-inspired feel, the Women’s Waffle Weave Spa Wrap will make for a true spa experience. Made from a blend of 60-percent cotton and 40-percent polyester waffle weave, the wrap is lightweight and elasticized for a secure and snug fit. Available in one size—29 inches long—for a flattering above-the-knee length, the wrap comes in 12 colors, shown in aqua.

Terry Town  /  PPAI 230911, S7  /  www.terrytown.com

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The Heather Performance Joggers are the perfect complement for at-home or outdoor exercise, or for those quick trips to the store. Made from 100-percent polyester, the pants feature an elastic waistband, a black dry cord and a faux fly, along with knee piping, a back pocket, side zipper pockets and hem cuffs. Available in black, heather charcoal, heather navy and heather gray (shown) in sizes S-3XL.

Burnside/Sierra Pacific  /  PPAI 184396, S1 /  www.sierrapacificapparel.com

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The epitome of loungewear, these Fleece Joggers are made from 100-percent polyester fleece and feature details that seem designed for relaxing—an elastic waist and bottom cuff, and a drawstring closure. Additional details include a back right pocket and side pockets. Available in sizes S-3XL in black, red, heather, charcoal and navy (shown).

Burnside/Sierra Pacific  /  PPAI 184396, S1 /  www.sierrapacificapparel.com

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Perfect for throwing over a bathing suit or to wear while lounging in the hotel, the Women’s Vansport Pro Riviera Polo is made from a blend of 92-percent polyester and eight-percent spandex, with a fresh stripe pattern and convertible sleeves. It’s also moisture-wicking and has UV properties, shielding wearers from some of the sun’s harmful rays, and features a two-button placket and quarter-length sleeves with roll-up tabs. Available in sizes XS-3XL in seagull gray, sunset orange and Atlantic blue (shown).

Vantage Apparel  /  PPAI 113235, S10  /  www.vantageapparel.com

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For a look that’s more athletic- and streetwear-inspired, look to the Ladies Long Sleeve Lace-Up Tee. Made from a blend of 60-percent combed ring-spun cotton and 40-percent polyester fine jersey, this semi-fitted, long-sleeve shirt features shoulder-to-shoulder self-fabric extended cuff detail, a double-needle drop-tail bottom hem with side vent construction and a tearaway label. Available in S-2XL in nine colors, shown in vintage royal/white.

LAT Apparel  /  PPAI 254347, S4  /  www.latapparel.com

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Family-friendly hotels and resorts anticipating younger guests can welcome parents and their little ones with the Infant Hooded Towel With Ears. Made from a soft blend of 50-percent ring-spun cotton and 50-percent polyester terry cloth, details include a two-ply construction on the hood and ears, rounded corners, self-fabric binding around the edge and a tearaway label. Best of all, it features character ears, adding fun to pool time or bath routines. Made in one-size-fits-all in ballerina, black, key lime, white and navy (shown).

LAT Apparel  /  PPAI 254347, S4  /  www.latapparel.com

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A great choice for end users headed to cold-weather destinations, the Ladies’ Boundary Shag Full Zip and Men’s/Unisex Boundary Shag 1/4 Zip are midweight and made from an ultra-soft 100-percent polyester multicolored shag fabric. The ladies’ style features a full zipper placket, side welt pockets and a drop-tail hemline, and the men’s/unisex style features a quarter-zip placket and side welt pockets. Both are available in sizes S-3XL, in grey (above, left), navy (above, right) and black. Also available in this fabric style is a large blanket that is 54 inches wide by 84 inches long and folds into a pillow.

J. America  /  PPAI 351699, S1  /  www.jamericablanks.com

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The Imperial Wrightson Performance Rope Cap features stylish accents, but it’s still low-key enough for daily wear. Made from a blend of 97-percent polyester and three-percent spandex, details include a five-panel, mid-profile retro fit with a braid, pre-curved visor and performance sweatband, an Imperial woven label and plastic snap closure. Available in 10 color combinations, shown in white/red/black.

Kati Sportcap  /  PPAI 113758, S5  / www.katisportcap.com

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End users enjoying an at-home or local spa experience will use the Q-Tees face towel to dry themselves after using a face mask or scrub. Made from 100-percent cotton, one side of the towel is velour and the other is terry for a dual sensory experience. The towel measures 30 inches wide by 60 inches long and is available in 14 colors, shown in yellow.

Kati Sportcap  /  PPAI 113758, S5  / www.katisportcap.com

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Available in a selection of 29 bold and alluring color choices, the Hanes ComfortBlend® EcoSmart® Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt is medium weight and made from a fabric blend of 50-percent cotton and 50-percent polyester, with up to five-percent polyester created from recycled materials. Select colors, including ash, light steel and charcoal heather, feature slight variations in fabric composition. Details include a double-needle, cover-seamed neck and armholes, a ribbed waistband and cuffs, roomy front pockets and a dyed-to-match drawcord. It’s also machine-washable and pill-resistant for long-lasting wear. Available in sizes S-5XL.

Hanes  /  PPAI 191138, S10  /  www.hanes.com

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Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.

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