COVID-19 and the indeterminacy of working from home have ushered in the relaxation of the office dress code and workwear, pushed on by trends from technology companies and other fresh-faced start-ups.
However, this trend has placed formal menswear companies in precarious positions. Businesses like Brooks Brothers and Men’s Wearhouse both declared bankruptcy last year.
Some fashion brands have already started pushing cotton and linen clothing, signalling a casualisation of workwear.
The women’s workwear market offering was down 40 per cent, showing that retailers decreased inventory but sales did not dip as drastically as predicted.
In addition, the traditional men’s workwear saw a 38 per cent decrease.
The future after COVID-19 will signal consumer trends in hybrid clothing, and investment in clothing with longevity and fabric innovation.
This has occurred amidst a rising increase in sales of casual wear and loungewear, with consumers turning to comfort and a balanced work wardrobe.
Statisca estimates that the global loungewear market could generate up to 37.7 billion dollars in retail sales in 2021.
“We have had a ‘flexible’ dress code policy for almost two years now, which encourages our people to use their own judgment for what is appropriate to wear for their workday,” stated a Goldman Sachs. spokesperson.
David Hart, a New York-based luxury menswear designer has decided to take “a step back” from traditional tailoring, focusing his energies on knitwear, masks, sweaters and polo shirts.
“Suits and ties were already going away in IT,” he comments. “The pandemic gave the last hangers-on an excuse to let go.”