As summer gets underway, women and men are stepping out with dressier wardrobes. U.S. sales for adult tailored clothing and other dress clothing increased by 5 percent from January through April, led by men’s dress shirts, men’s suits and women’s skirts. In fact, the dress clothing market is larger than it was pre-pandemic, with sales revenue 8 percent higher than 2019 levels, according to Circana, formerly IRI and The NPD Group.
“Hybrid work is also hybrid play,” said Maria Rugolo, apparel industry analyst at Circana. “Dressier trends, coinciding with the return to offices, events, travel and other activities, have consumers mixing and matching how they are wearing their wardrobes as a reflection of the hybrid lifestyle that has become second nature to many. Men and women are pairing styles together in nontraditional ways, such as from wearing blazers with shorts and active pants with dressier tops. This year, the fusion of casual and dress attire is particularly prominent. People want their apparel to be adaptable.”
In the women’s market, sales of dresses showed a slight dip this year, following a spike last year, as consumers likely made replenishment purchases. However, the market for dresses is still 12 percent larger than it was in 2019, and dresses are currently the top-selling clothing items in the overall apparel market, according to Circana.
In the men’s category, higher-priced suits are leading sales in the tailored clothing business and are the highest they have been since the pre-pandemic period.