Kiss your sharply-tailored menswear, your sheath dresses and high heels goodbye.
The new work-from-home reality has rapidly recalibrated the fashion code for professional wear, and that spells trouble for the retailers who sell formal office clothing.
On July 8, Brooks Brothers, the 202-year-old menswear retailer that has dressed 40 US presidents and is synonymous with the classic Wall Street banker look, filed for bankruptcy as demand for suits plummeted amid the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Ascena Retail Group, which owns Ann Taylor and Lane Bryant apparel chains, told Bloomberg it's weighing all options to stay afloat after its business was hit hard by a pullback in clothing purchases, including officewear. Ascena is reportedly planning to shut at least 1,200 stores. It has 2,800 locations in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
The turbulence has ensnared Men's Wearhouse, too. With more than 10 million men who've lost their jobs and millions more working from home in recent months, buying a suit is hardly a priority. Tailored Brands, which owns Men's Wearhouse, could be another retailer in the space mulling bankruptcy.
Men's Wearhouse品牌也难逃此劫。近几个月来逾千万男性失业，还有数百万男性在家工作，没有人着急买西装。拥有Men's Wearhouse品牌的服装零售商Tailored Brands也正在考虑申请破产。
With more work calls and team meetings now taking place from the comfort of home, office wear has become decidedly more relaxed. It's a shift that's been occurring for years.
The pandemic may have ended formality forever.
"The reality is that workwear trends have been shifting for a while now and sadly the pandemic was the final nail in the coffin," said Jessica Cadmus, a New York-based stylist whose clients mostly work in the finance industry.
Even prior to the national shutdown, Cadmus said her clients were gravitating to a more relaxed work look. "There was an enormous shift taking place towards business casual," she said.
Last year, Goldman Sachs announced that its employees could start dressing down for the office. The Wall Street firm has historically favored collared shirts and suits.
"Then when Covid-19 hit and people were forced to work from home, there was an absolute halt in buying formal workwear," said Cadmus. "The emphasis from my clients now is on polished loungewear, where the fit is not as tailored and comfort is key."
Her male clients, she said, are looking for new shirts but not trousers. "They are not asking about sports coats, suits, or shoes. It's just shirts," she said. Women want statement necklaces, earrings and broaches instead of suits and dresses for a more put together look for video calls.
Some people aren't even changing out of their pajamas. In June, 47% of consumers told market research firm NPD they are wearing the same clothes throughout most of their day while at home during the pandemic, and nearly a quarter said they liked wearing activewear, sleepwear, or loungewear most of the day.