Overall, there was excitement this winter at our trade shows in NYC. In a separate series of blogs, I am featuring the fashion trends that stood out for me.
Today, it is my intention to highlight a few of the empirical trends that men’s wear has shown over the past year. As I travel around the country to my custom appointments and meet business professionals from all walks of life, it is interesting to hear what other business leaders think is the status of men’s clothing. Many believe sales numbers are declining with casual clothing dominating sales numbers.
The following gleaned from GQ, MR Magazine, and discussions with some of the country’s leading men’s clothing manufacturers might surprise a few!
- Men’s Tailored Clothing Sales for the 12 months ended Sept. 2013- $8.6 Billion!
- Change over 2012? 9.3% INCREASE!
- Suits as % of total: $3.2 billion 2013 vs. $3.093 billion 2012. 5.2% Increase
- Sport coats/blazers as % total: $2 billion 2013 vs. $1.7 billion 2012. 18.5% Increase!
In a previous post, I mentioned that sports coats were definitely back…a glance at the above increase shows just how much!
Made-to-measure and custom (M2M) continues to surge ahead as the new better men’s clothing distribution channel! Hart Shaffner Marx, the iconic suit manufacturer known for it’s ready-wear lines including Hickey Freemen, reported that M2M is now approaching 15% of their annual sales.
Neckwear, primarily ties, was up 5% in for most better retailers. Knit ties in silk and wool combined with elegant silk wovens lead the way. Pocket squares also have contributed to “neckwear” sales. Many retailers reported sales of “squares” up while ties were flat to down. I have seen an increased interest in pocket squares. A colorful square does as much to brighten up an outfit and express one’s personal style as a well-chosen tie!
So…Men’s Tailored Clothing sales were up. Suit and sport coats sales were up. Custom clothing is making up a larger portion of many manufacturers’ and retailers’ clothing sales.
These statistics mirror my personal experience. I definitely notice a return to elegance in my customer’s offices. Many prefer to wear open-collars with suits, and many prefer sport coats to suits…but there is a noticeable movement back to elegance. Younger customers have a renewed interest in fashion…and are pretty specific about their fashion ideas. Certainly the fit is critical to younger customers and those with youthful attitudes…trimmer is in for sure. Creativity in casual shirt detailing is also a refreshing change…from button colors, to thread color, to inside collar/cuff/yoke trim…it’s all about the details!
Be sure to seek out your custom clothier this spring to see what new and exciting ideas you can design into your wardrobe!
Vinnie Rua- Founder, Christopher’s Custom