Searches For White Pantsuits Have Gone Way Up — Hm, Wonder Why

Photo: Ida Mae Astute/Getty Images.
The public's near obsession with Hillary Clinton's pantsuits has added a bit of levity to a long election cycle. Her inspiration has been analyzed, and her style signature emulated by supporters. The pantsuit has also become symbolic, both for the candidate herself and for the voters supporting the first female presidential nominee for a major political party. The impact is real: Searches for women's pantsuits have grown by 460% on the e-commerce platform Lyst since January (an average of 24% a month).

It's not just that savvy online shoppers are favoring a business-formal wardrobe in 2016. Lyst sees this as a direct reference to the Democratic nominee — because of where these searches are coming from (95% from the U.S. in the past year!) down to the colorways users are seeking. For instance, before the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this summer, white pantsuits ranked fourth in popularity. However, when Clinton wore a matching set in that hue to accept the nomination in July, they reached No. 1 — exceeding black pantsuits, which previously held the top spot, by 7%, according to Lyst. "The interest in white pantsuits in particular has certainly confounded expectations," Katherine Ormerod, the platform's editorial director, told The New York Times, "especially as we usually see a seasonal dip for white colorways across every category."

Clinton hasn't been the only key player in the 2016 presidential election to move merchandise. For a full 48 hours after the second debate, Lyst saw a 483% increase in searches for pussy-bow blouses — and the exact Gucci style Melania Trump wore to the event saw a 243% boost in traffic. The same can't be said for her spouse, though: A representative for Lyst noted that while the platform hasn't observed a noticeable or comparable trend in searches related to Donald Trump's wardrobe choices, it also doesn't carry his namesake brand. (Meanwhile, interest in Ivanka Trump's label is up 138%.) Lyst's business intelligence team notes it generally doesn't see changes in searches as a result of a male politicians' fashion choices.

Other political players that have given products a boost on Lyst include German Chancellor Angela Merkel's colorful suits in the spring of 2012 (which resulted in yet another bump in pantsuit searches that May) and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May's leopard-print kitten heels, which she wore on her first day in office. Clinton, too, has a penchant for that footwear silhouette, and has contributed to its popularity on the site, as well. In fact, searches for kitten heels are up 85% from last year, according to Lyst.

It's not just curiosity about pantsuits that's been piqued: People are actually clicking buy. Lyst reports that U.S. shoppers buy 79% more pantsuits than consumers in other countries. The No. 1 style is one by Giorgio Armani — though Clinton herself prefers American label Ralph Lauren. We'll see how many of these very users will don their pantsuits with pride on Election Day, perhaps to skirt electioneering regulations in their states while still supporting their candidate of choice.
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