We may first see them on the runway, but the trends that truly stick with us all live in one place: our Google search bar. It's where we ask our deepest, darkest fashion questions — "Are cropped flares really a thing?," "Does anyone actually like baby bags?" — and hope to find answers. Last year, the search engine finally recognized the power that lies in its records, introducing a fashion report that documents which trends are in and out, according to search volume. In 2015, we saw the popularity of one-shoulder and peplum dresses fall, making way for tulle skirts and jogger pants. (This was the year of athleisure, after all.) For 2016, Google's calling out items we've already seen pop up in our closets — and those we could already sense falling to the back shelves. This time around, the company expanded the scope of its research to include the U.S. and the U.K., looking into the top searched-for apparel categories between May 2014 and May 2016. In a somewhat surprising turn, some early-aughts trends appear to be on the way out, even though the '90s are very much in the zeitgeist right now (the two are close cousins, after all, and had been trending together). Google observed a steady decline in interest in drop-crotch pants, see-through clothes, acid-wash jeans, and babydoll dresses. It predicts asymmetrical skirts and waist trainers will experience a similar drop (despite constant Kardashian endorsement) over the next few years — something to maybe keep in mind during your next closet purge.
The search engine grouped its findings into three main stories: military-inspired (think bomber jackets and biker pants), free-spirited (in line with the easy-going nature of off-the-shoulder tops), and ready-to-go (think one-pieces and rompers). Then, there are the specifics: Google identified a set of trends it calls "rising stars," which have seen a spike in interest over the past few months but might not have staying power. These include off-the-shoulder tops, bodysuits, and bralettes. The lace-up top was also highlighted in this category for the U.S. market; for the U.K., it was the co-ord. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the "falling stars" — pieces that have enjoyed their moment and are now losing steam when it comes to Google searches. (Suede skirts, we're looking at you.) Google does point to certain categories it considers "safe bets" — both because they've seen more user interest and because they have seasonal potential to come back. In 2016, biker pants (skinny-fit trousers with ribbed and moto elements) and ripped jeans are looking to be a pretty solid choice, if you trust American and British Google users. The search engine also predicts bomber jackets, coatigans (a coat/cardigan hybrid), and shirt dresses will become even more ubiquitous as the year rolls on. (It's no surprise, then, that these trends are already featured prominently in Zara's fall '16 offering.) The report, which you can read in full here, details the rise of each trend and corresponding item down to the color, fabric, and pattern that's proven to be most popular. Here's to going about your fall shopping in the most informed way, ever.