Technical Features Modernize the New Work Wardrobe – WWD

Consolation, consolation and extra consolation — that’s what’s going to outline the wardrobe for guys heading again to the workplace this fall.

After spending greater than a 12 months camped out at house in sweatpants and shorts — with a dressier shirt for all these Zoom conferences — males are demanding flexibility in each their wardrobe and their work life. With the Delta variant inflicting some corporations to delay the return of employees till later this 12 months and others permitting a hybrid schedule, wardrobes are anticipated to be versatile as nicely.

The times of carrying tight, fitted fits, cotton gown shirts and ties are over for many males. As an alternative, they’re choosing shirts and pants with stretch, wrinkle resistance, wicking and different efficiency attributes that they acquired used to of their activewear throughout the top of the pandemic. However they should look skilled and polished on the similar time.

These calls for are being addressed by most of the manufacturers they gravitated to throughout the well being disaster, that are increasing their attain to supply a extra tailor-made different.

Doug Wooden, chief government officer of Tommy Bahama, stated: “The entire world is now informal, and if a man goes someplace, he needs to really feel cool and look good. Even in 2019, earlier than the pandemic, we had seen a transfer towards efficiency.” He gave credit score to Lululemon as being on the forefront of this motion to “carry efficiency into sports activities.”

Taking a web page from that playbook, Tommy Bahama introduced its personal model to market with its IslandZone assortment, which incorporates efficiency pants and tops, together with items such because the Boracay blazer, Delray Fronds polo, Tobago Bay full-zip sweatshirt and even its signature camp shirts in additional subdued strong colours.

The client is responding. Wooden stated the top-selling merchandise for the model is the Palm Coast polo throughout the IslandZone assortment, which is comprised of recycled polyester and is obtainable in 19 colours. Different high sellers embody a long-sleeve half zip.

New items discovering followers embody the Chip Shot IslandZone efficiency brief — the model’s second bestselling merchandise — which gives stretch and technical options in a smooth silhouette. “Our [customers] are on the lookout for stretch and efficiency of their bottoms,” he stated. “And one thing that’s informal however seems good and performs. We acquired in entrance of that previous to COVID-19 and now that’s all he needs.”

Consequently, Tommy Bahama has managed to navigate its manner nicely by way of the pandemic. Wooden stated the corporate appeared again on the recessionary years in 2008 and 2009 for classes and labored exhausting to “make certain we had a powerful model when the purchasers got here again.” The model was additionally in a position to take the stock that it had stockpiled when its shops have been closed final spring and inventory its boutiques with recent merchandise this 12 months.

It additionally served as a superb hedge towards the present provide chain points going through the business. “There isn’t anybody who isn’t operating into points,” Wooden stated. With COVID-19 inflicting factories in different international locations to shut or scale down and important delays in transport, corporations are doing their finest to adapt by ordering earlier and lowering inventories. “In case you return to February 2020, we didn’t know the storm we have been headed into,” Wooden stated. “However we’re working seven days per week with our factories so we predict we’ll be in tremendous form for vacation.”

Rhone, too, has benefited from the brand new work wardrobe because the model strikes past its roots in activewear to offer its prospects with extra choices.


Seems from Rhone’s Commuter assortment.

“Males are targeted on consolation greater than anything at this time,” stated Nate Checketts, Rhone’s CEO and cofounder. “As individuals start to transition again to the workplace, there’s going to be a extra versatile work schedule and a extra snug work surroundings — and our ‘uniform’ has to match our new work life.”

Enter the Commuter Assortment. “These tendencies began three to 4 years in the past and the pandemic simply accelerated it,” Checketts stated. “Once I see somebody in an itchy, tight cotton gown shirt, I simply really feel sorry for them.”

As an alternative, the Commuter shirt seems like a standard button-down, however it’s light-weight and gives four-way stretch, pure wrinkle launch and moisture wicking. Ditto for the Commuter pant and brief.

“Neglect informal Fridays, you may get away with that each one week now,” he stated. “So all the things at this time should provide a higher flexibility for the brand new office.”

Checketts stated the Commuter gown shirt didn’t even crack the highest 20 of the model’s bestselling gadgets earlier than the pandemic, however since Might, it has constantly landed within the high three to 5 each week. “Final 12 months, it was all about loungewear and activewear,” he stated,” however this 12 months, it’s all concerning the Commuter line.”

Rhone is searching for to drive much more males to its model by placing heightened emphasis on the gathering in all its advertising and marketing channels. “We’re telling guys there may be an possibility between a T-shirt and an itchy cotton gown shirt and there are many methods to look skilled and nonetheless be snug.”

Joe Kudla, founder and CEO of Vuori, has additionally embraced what he calls “journey commute — aka work leisure. Our enterprise on this class is exploding and we see the chance to [quadruple sales] over the subsequent three years. If males weren’t already into consolation and athleisure earlier than, they’re now.”

Vuori's MetaPant

Vuori’s MetaPant


For Vuori, meaning pants that transfer and are breathable however look adequate to fulfill the calls for of a hybrid office. “Our enterprise is rooted in health, however technical sportswear for the workplace or the golf course was rising even earlier than the pandemic,” he stated. “And it’ll develop north of 30 p.c over the subsequent three years.” Vuori’s “anchor” product is its $98 MetaPant, a traditional five-pocket silhouette in a knit materials that “wears like a woven. That represents a really large enterprise for us.”

In tops, it’s the smooth, moisture-wicking Strato cloth that the model initially utilized in tees that has been prolonged into polos, which Kudla stated has grown into the model’s hottest journey commute high. Vuori additionally gives an Ace long-sleeve button-down in a efficiency pique that works nicely with a gown pant.

Going ahead, the plan is to supply extra chinos, button-downs and polos, together with quarter- and half-zips in technical materials to deal with demand. This will even assist fill the shops the corporate might be rolling out. Already at 9 models, Vuori expects to have 14 shops in operation by the tip of the 12 months and add one other 15 to twenty subsequent 12 months, together with a flagship in SoHo.

Brian Berger, founder and CEO of Mack Weldon, which began out as an underwear model, has additionally seen elevated curiosity within the model’s dressier choices.

Mack Weldon

Mack Weldon has expanded nicely past underwear prior to now few years.

The model was planning to introduce a brand new technical chino in April 2020, however when the pandemic hit, Mack Weldon slammed on the brakes. “It was going to be our third main bottoms introduction, however we shelved it,” he stated. Though the model quietly put the Maverick, with its tailor-made, clear match and stretch cloth, on the internet web site, it was Mack Weldon’s sweats and loungewear that became its hero merchandise throughout the well being disaster.

Extra lately, issues have modified and the model’s “sensible, informal merchandise” have seen “an actual pickup in demand,” Berger stated.

The corporate’s site has a bit dedicated to The Operator, which is focused to the working man, with oxford shirts, polos, chinos shorts and pants, puffer vests, underwear and socks with technical options.

“There’s a mass casualization occurring and tech-infused, modern, life-style attire will dominate the day,” he stated. “It’s a crisp, trendy look that isn’t essentially a swimsuit or tie or uniform. There might be much more flexibility and these merchandise will play into that.” | Technical Options Modernize the New Work Wardrobe – WWD


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