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Finally, a Hot Trend: T-Shirts, Cargoes Lead The Stars of Summer

The T-shirt and cargo pants are the runaway bestsellers this summer. Here’s what else is hot at stores around the country.

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Photo By Kyle Ericksen

WWD Image

Photo By Kyle Ericksen

WWD Image

Photo By Kyle Ericksen

NEW YORK — What’s fashion’s summer sizzler? It starts with T and ends with shirt, with cargo pants a close second.

According to a spot check of specialty and department stores around the country, T-shirts, as well as cargo pants (notably from Joie), have driven summer business, coming in first and second, respectively, as the season’s top categories. Other hot items this summer have been miniskirts, floral pants, sundresses and bustiers.

And price is not a determining factor — shirts for less than $30 are on fire, but so are miniskirts and dresses at all prices, pants for $200 to $300, $1,200 Prada handbags, which have a waiting list, and $6,000 Chanel jackets. Summer business apparently has more to do with latching on to a hot trend.

Retailers around the country were asked to name their best-selling item or category this summer. Here’s what they had to say.

Jim Famalette, chief executive officer, Gottschalks, Fresno, Calif.: “Overall, it was the junior tops business. Novelty logo screen-printed T-shirts, at $15 to $20 — that’s probably been the strength. We’ve chased items there. Once you find something of this type that’s working, you want to beat it to death. And the business environment of late hasn’t lent itself to those kinds of things.”

Luciano Manganella, owner, Jasmine Sola, Boston and five locations in New England: “Michael Stars is still the best performer in T-shirts, particularly the solid shirts.” The retailer sold 400 units of a crewneck baby T-shirt at $24, while 250 units of the three-button Henley sold at $34. Overall, the store sold roughly 3,600 Michael Stars T-shirts in various silhouettes.

Ann Stordahl, senior vice president and general merchandise manager, Neiman Marcus: “Cargo pants. It started with resort with a D&G style for $295, and the big performers of the season have been the Blumarine satin at $950 and Joie’s satin cargo at $210. They continue to sell and have been reordered. We have sold thousands and thousands of cargo pants.”
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