Americans are Returning To Work – and To Their Closets

by | Jul 23, 2021 | Image consulting for Men, Image Consulting for Women

Back to Work is Different Post Pandemic

The 7/2/21 article Millions of Americans are Going Back to Work Where They Actually Work states that by September the percentage of full-time employees back to work at the office either full or flex/part-time will be 90%.  Menswear brand J.Hilburn released findings from a 2000 men survey, (of which a third were not clients of the line) and they all are bullish on going back to the office.  In fact, 47% of them said they already were back, or at least part-time, and 62% said they would be back in August.

What will these millions of men and women be wearing?  No surprise that in the last 18 months apparel buying dropped to the bare necessities which has created a consumer backlog of need and more importantly desire to own clothing. CNBC says clothing sales rose almost 20% in March from February.  That’s huge!  94% of men in the J.Hilburn survey responded they plan to buy more in 2021/22 than in 2019.

We may be more casual, but the desire to look good has actually increased as self-awareness increased, particularly in Millenials.  In the J.Hilburn survey, almost half of the under-40 population were “excited to wear suits”, a surprising statistic when all we hear about is casual.  Which prompted this article and my own research.  Here’s what we can expect from consumer spending, and what you will see at the office:

The menswear jacket is here to stay (good!), worn both formally or casually.  The most drastic shift is what’s worn under the jacket, a move from dress trousers to casual cotton and tech pants, and dress shirts over to knits.

For women, those who follow fashion more than the classics will see an “optimism trend” of bigger, bolder patterns and colors.  Also, there is a strong retail market growing for rented garments – from office wear to evening, shoes to handbags layered in with a heavy dose of sustainability.  Forever 21 is gone, perhaps H&M and Zara (all fast-fashion brands) to follow?   I also found that “sexy” (revealing, provocative) as the direct opposite of wearing baggy sweats was fast coming as well.

I leave you with these two pearls:

  1.  FIT IS KEY –  No one is reading your thread count, but they can see a block away if your Yves St Laurant is too big or small
  2. THE MORE CASUAL, THE MORE QUALITY ACCESSORIES COUNT – you can wear Gap jeans, a Goodwill jacket, and Target tee, but your shoes (wallet, belt, bag) need to be killer.

For more help or to personalize my advice to your own needs and tastes, I am at the ready!  See you at the office!

Ann Lindsay is Style of Success and Suited for Love 

I work to make you look effortlessly confident.

Image Consulting      —       Personal Styling

Concierge Shopping       —       J.Hilburn Menswear Stylist

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