Clothing sales are on the rise as COVID-19 transforms office attire

With no social events to attend, people didn’t buy new outfits, he said. “As restrictions are eased, people are becoming more confident about going out – and that means buying new dresses and suits.”

Saba marketing manager Monica Woo said there was a “slight dip” in sales of workwear – shirts, outerwear and dresses – during the COVID-19 shutdowns.

Despite the traditionalists, athleisure and casual wear are beginning to complement each other with suiting in the workplace.Credit:Flavio Brancaleone

“As the lockdown eased, we saw the trend of ‘revenge shopping’ positively affecting our sales as customers who had saved up or not purchased during lockdown were looking to refresh their wardrobes and start looking for outfits to wear to events,” she said. .

Mr Zahra said the pandemic had caused a shift towards more casual clothing and that a “dressy version” of sports and leisure wear would remain popular.

“Our outfit choices are becoming multi-functional, so we can go from bed to office, from coffee meeting to the gym, and then from office to dinner,” he said.

Annabel Talbot, Myer’s general merchandise manager – women’s apparel, said customers were leaving leggings and sweatpants for the weekend. But there was strong demand for a style of casual footwear that workers can wear “effortlessly as part of their job and their everyday wardrobe”, she said.


David Jones womenswear general manager Bridget Veals said there had been a “remarkable increase” in fashion sales as COVID restrictions were eased: “Activewear is still important but it’s save for the gym.”

Ms Veals said sales of luxury goods such as watches, jewelry and handbags had increased during the pandemic: “Luxury skincare was another huge category for us during the peak of COVID, and continue to be, as customers were more conscious of their skin due to being constantly on Zoom calls and having to do their own skincare routines at home.

The department store’s managing director of menswear, Chris Wilson, said smart clothing was back for men who wanted to “get out of denim, t-shirts and polo shirts and were looking to dress with it again.” jackets, shirts and trousers”.

“They lived in runners, who still have their place; However, we are also seeing strong demand for more formal men’s shoes.


A Hugo Boss spokesman said shoppers who would normally buy suits and workwear from the luxury brand were now buying sports and leisurewear to incorporate into their new wardrobe.

Flexible working was changing the way customers shopped and dressed, he said. “The Sydney male CBD consumer tends to push the envelope a bit more in terms of professional attire, this can range from body shape to color given the climatic differences – while the Melbourne shopper opts for a style more classic.

By contrast, Myer customers in Melbourne are moving away from their “I’ll take it black” mindset, Ms Talbot said. “Instead, they embrace a cheerful burst of color normally associated with their neighbors to the north.”


Cue brand manager Kate Bielenberg said “the rules are out the window” as traditional corporate dress concepts have been disrupted by the COVID-19 crisis.

“The blurred lines created by hybrid work environments have seen a relaxation of dress codes, while women have come to approach dressing for work in a more holistic way focusing on styles that work 24 hours a day. out of 24, not just nine to five,” she said.

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