The Biggest Fashion Trends of 2016 (According to Google)

While we may look to the runways of Fashion Week to spot the hottest trends for the coming seasons, Google’s Fashion Reports offer an intriguing insight into what people are currently buying and the strongest trends of the moment. Google’s latest report reveals some of the biggest fashion trends of 2016 so far, highlighting three key trends: military chic, free-spirited, and ready-to-wear outfits.

The Rise of the Bomber Jacket

Over the past few seasons, androgynous style has emerged as a regular at Fashion Week. This has been confirmed by consumer trends which have reported women buying into items traditionally considered more “masculine” such as bomber jackets. In Google search data, the term “bomber jacket” saw a 297% rise in searches in the UK for SS16 and a huge 612% in the US. While classic colours including olive and navy are among the most popular, this year has so far also seen an increase of men searching for bombers in more “feminine” colours and prints, with pink and floral printed styles being among the most popular.

Related keywords also indicate how we are being influenced to buy into such trends. While “bomber jacket” was often searched for in conjunction with the words ”flight”, “army” and “MA1”—harking back to the jacket’s military past—it was also frequently searched alongside celebrity names including David Beckham and Kanye West, highlighting celebrities’ ability to influence our shopping.

Bomber Jacket Rise

A Boho Summer

As we moved towards the warmer days of summer, Google recorded a sudden spike in searches for free-spirited styles of dress including off-the-shoulder tops and dresses, boho dresses and kimonos. Searches for the term “off-the-shoulder” grew 261% in the UK between December 2015 to May 2016, and related terms including “dress”, “bikini” and “beach” marked it out as one of the key trends for summer 2016. Similar to the bomber jacket, search data shows the style was often searched alongside the names of Michelle Obama and Kendall Jenner, two of the leading figures who have influenced the sudden popularity of off-the-shoulder pieces.


Source: Google Internal Data, U.S. and U.K., Jan. 2016 vs. May 2016.


Boho and off-the-shoulder styles join hand-in-hand with the third trend of 2016 to outline one of the overarching themes for the 2016 so far. Ready-to-wear outfits including jumpsuits, playsuits and two-piece dresses all saw steady growth from 2013 through until to this year, highlighting the increasing appeal of fuss-free clothing that is easily slipped on and off. Google’s search data suggests the trend in ready outfits is led by large metropolitan cities including London, New York and Los Angeles where searches were first seen to hike and where the largest concentration of searches comes from. Interestingly, related keywords indicate consumers to be searching across age (“baby,” “teens,” “adult”), occasion (“festival,” “wedding,” “beach”), and even gender (“women,” “girls,” “men,” “boys”) for playsuits, indicating their universal appeal.

Future Trends

Looking at the three key trends of 2016, it is interesting to see what we can glean about future trends in fashion. While we may not be able to identify next year’s key styles, we can use this year’s data to look at how and why this season’s trends were so popular and quickly identify new trends as the arise in the future. From this year’s trends, there are three clear overriding themes woven between this year’s trends:

  1. Celebrity Influencers: Google’s data clearly suggests that each of this year’s biggest trends is associated with key influencers. From Kanye West and David Beckham to Michelle Obama and Kendall Jenner, we are looking to celebrities more than ever to herald the arrival of new fashion and beauty trends.
  2. Androgynous Style: Gender boundaries are becoming increasingly dissolved to mark a new era of androgynous fashion. Men and women are swapping their bomber jackets, men are seeking out playsuits, and an androgynous sense of style seems key to the future of fashion design.
  3. Modern Convenience: Increasingly time-strapped juggling work, family and our mobile phones, we are looking to easy-to-wear but on-trend pieces that can be worn on multiple occasions across the different seasons. Whether it be an off-the-shoulder top to take you from a wedding to the beach, or a lightweight bomber jacket to transition you from spring into summer, fashion is becoming an increasingly functional affair.

Shop the latest men’s and women’s fashion trends on The Hut.

You can read Google’s full report here.

Images and data property of ThinkWithGoogle

Sarah Atkinson

Sarah Atkinson

Writer and expert