Some Americans are finding little comfort in returning to the office — with retailers reporting a rise in the sale of dressy clothing, including pants with buttons and zippers.
As New York and other cities begin sending employees back to work amid decreasing COVID-19 cases, sales of comfy knock-around duds that people have been wearing while working from home are taking a back seat to more professional gear, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.
“The fact that sales came back so strongly so quickly before offices [fully] reopened speaks to the need for people to dress up as they get out there and socialize,” said Haggar Clothing Co. CEO Michael Stitt to the outlet.
Haggar’s employees are currently working overtime to provide enough blazers and trousers to retailers, the company said.
L.L. Bean, Inc., told the Journal its sales of pants with zippers and buttons have recently begun outselling elastic-waistband ones.
And Saks Fifth Avenue reported peddling more formal women’s clothing — including dresses, sandals and blouses — than before the pandemic surfaced last year.
Still, that doesn’t mean many people won’t be wearing comfier clothes at times, continuing the pandemic-era trend and in anticipation of potentially fewer in-person office shifts.
“I don’t foresee any business circumstance that would require me to wear a suit,” Michael Stiver, a 24-year-old online businessman from Washington, DC, told the paper — adding that he has already ditched his dress shirts.
Retailers said many shoppers appear to also be looking to wear cross-over clothes that can serve several purposes.
For example, Macy’s said it is seeing more people looking for slippers with the search words “indoor/outdoor.”
“People are figuring out ways to take their casual clothes out of the house,” the department store chain’s chief merchandising officer, Nata Dvir, told the WSJ.
Levi Strauss & Co. noted that it is selling more casual “mom jeans’’ — or pants that have more give around the hips and thighs. “The looser fits are our fastest-growing styles,” President Jennifer Sey told the outlet.
The easing of pandemic restrictions has also paved the way for people to return to in-person shopping, retailers said — as they reported an uptick in foot traffic.
Resume consultant Michelle Diamond, 46, of Beverly Hills, Calif., said she just recently bought a pair of white beach shorts at her first shopping trip to a clothing store in more than a year.
“I am starting to buy real clothes again,” Diamond told WSJ.
“It makes me feel alive.”