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The Future of Tailored Clothing

Herders_Gulch

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BOF and McKinsey annual report on fashion/apparel is out. Big section on metaverse stuff. Still, very skeptical on that front personally. Some other interesting thoughts too...

Available here:

Scanned through this report from McKinsey, and noted the following about the trend toward casualisation (on page 49):

In contrast to the reinvigorated demand for occasion dressing, workplace wardrobes will witness increased casualisation in some markets, such as the US and UK, as people adjust to new ways of working, including hybrid office-home patterns. “Work looks and feels different now,” said US-based retail consultant Kathy Gersch “Virtual work and flexible hours aren’t going to go away. Brands that believe old patterns will revive will fall by the wayside.”​

In another sign of creeping casualisation, workplace returnees in many regions have been shopping for casual blazers rather than suits: global search volumes for blazers were more than 100 percent higher in August 2021 than in August 2019. In some markets like Germany, searches for suits were down. Even some traditional and corporate offices will adopt hybrid styles, replacing suits and heels with business-casual styles and sneakers. Of course, there are nuanced differences between markets, where dress codes in some regions and professions will necessitate a return to formality. This said, brands will still find opportunities to tap into the casualisation shift by developing products with new fabric options or hybrid styles. For example, athletic brands Lululemon and Athleta have expanded into workwear, while Hugo Boss collaborated with Russell Athletic to produce suits in jersey fabric, some of which have shorts in place of trousers.​
 

smittycl

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I could handle a little casualization. Would allow me to work in more sport coats and sweaters. Maybe we'll devolve into just keeping a staple suit (charcoal or dark navy) in the office for use when needed?
 

vida

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I could handle a little casualization. Would allow me to work in more sport coats and sweaters. Maybe we'll devolve into just keeping a staple suit (charcoal or dark navy) in the office for use when needed?
This is exactly where I believe CM is headed.
 

dieworkwear

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My impression is that, for the majority of men in the United States, dark worsted suits will one day become like wedding dresses. Worn once on your wedding day and never again, but kept in the closet for memories.

There may still be people who are clothing enthusiasts and wear suits, but my guess is that they will continue to evolve. I was thinking the other day that we will probably never see the menswear scene that existed from about 2005 until 2015. IMO, that period was not just about the revival of the suit, but a convergence of two things

1) Craft: I think the heritage menswear movement grew out of the hipster movement of the early aughts, which was consumed with finding old, supposedly more authentic things. The show Portlandia, which lampoons this section of cuture, is filled with this theme. See the skits on lightbulbs, knots, farm to table, etc. They also had one on raw denim, but it doesn't seem to be online.

2) Tailoring: Mad Men also helped spur a revival in suits. The show was so popular, they even did a suit collaboration with Banana Republic.

I think you see a reflection of this convergence on menswear forums, where people were obsessed with canonical clothing (e.g. Ivy Style, Apparel Arts, Golden Age Hollywood) and bespoke craft. Alan Flusser published his book Dressing the Man at the right time (the first edition was published in 2001, IIRC). I can't imagine a book like that ever catching the same interest.

Popular culture moves in unexpected ways, but the seeds for a movement are often planted early on. Just as the hipster movement of the late 90s/ early aughts gave birth to the heritage menswear movement from about 2005 to 2010, I assume whatever will come next will be an outgrowth of what's happening now. It's hard for me to see the same interest in classic clothing and craft in the near future, although there may be a revival at some point in tailored clothing, just a different form.

Even on this forum, it often feels like interest in bespoke craft and canonical clothing has waned. People used to fawn over the nubby stitching on a Neapolitan shirt. Now people post fully bespoke outfits from world-class tailors in the same limited threads, and it gets a few likes before people move on.
 

Knurt

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I think suits will survive, and that go for dark suits as well. There are needs for something serious to wear apart from weddings and funerals. Occasions arise. Contractual accomplishments, doctoral dissertations, celebrations etc. call for serious clothing. Right now suits are used less and less, but my take is that that is related to the reorganisation of business to flatter organisational structures and the need for top management to level with their educated workforce. So they dress down and impact the rest of the organisation. Such a developmemt does not do away with special occastions, however.
 

FlyingMonkey

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doctoral dissertations [...] call for serious clothing.
I'm not sure when you last attended a doctoral examination but I do about 4 a year and I haven't seen anyone wearing a serious suit, students or examiners, in the last decade (apart from me).
 

Knurt

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I'm not sure when you last attended a doctoral examination but I do about 4 a year and I haven't seen anyone wearing a serious suit, students or examiners, in the last decade (apart from me).
Well, they have been done in Zoom lately. But otherwise I think the aspiring doctor and the committee usually are properly dressed.
 

FlyingMonkey

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Well, they have been done in Zoom lately. But otherwise I think the aspiring doctor and the committee usually are properly dressed.
I said a decade not during the pandemic - in other words, not anywhere I've examined for a very long time, although this is mainly in social sciences and humanities.
 

Knurt

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I said a decade not during the pandemic - in other words, not anywhere I've examined for a very long time, although this is mainly in social sciences and humanities.
Sorry, I read too fast. So let me correct myself. I do agree that not everybody are wearing suits, but I have not noticed a shift in the last ten years. I think there was a shift much before that. But, still, most of involved do have suits.
 

smittycl

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comrade

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A possible linguistic development resulting from the decline in
wearing suits is that the expression" suits" referring to corporate
upper management and the like will have lost its meaning in the
not too distant future. I ask our UK members is the term Squire,
meaning member of the landed gentry still in use?
 
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SimonC

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I ask our UK members is the term Squire,
meaning member of the landed gentry still in use?
It is usually used ironically, as in a term of greeting to a friend or acquaintance who is clearly not part of the landed gentry - for example to someone as they walk into the pub. I use it occasionally, but very rarely hear it from others - the one person I know who uses it has spent over a decade working in Asia.
 

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