Britons are saying ‘so-long’ to the pandemic loungewear and causals with a return to dressing-up again. Google search terms for ‘tailoring are up 600% and now back at 2019 levels.
Moss Bros known for its tailoring and formalwear, have reported a surge in profits which are up £17 million year-on-year, even higher than pre-pandemic levels with the retailer confirming that “smart is back in fashion.”
The company’s trading figures and indeed the google analytics are at odds with ONS (Office of National Statistic) reporting which recently announced that it had dropped suits from the basket of goods used to calculate the latest inflationary figures. The contention is that suits are no longer a regularly purchased item on the general UK household’s ‘shopping list’.
Yet popular culture seems to be driving alternate trends. The airing of the new Netflix series Bridgerton is creating a boost on searches for three-piece suits (jacket, trousers and a waistcoat) up 500% as a search term since the first episode aired.
“The look of a suit follows trends in fashion like every other item of clothing,” explains Brian Brick, CEO of Moss Bros. “What we are seeing is a softening of formal wear and a smartening of casual. What hasn’t changed is that men still want to look smart whether they are back in the office or on a night out.”
With celebrities dressing up again for major events such as the Grammys and the Oscars, suiting is back but brighter and bolder than before.
Celebrity stylist, Phill Tarling is the go-to expert for many famous names; he is a big fan of the suit. “When it comes to tailoring I am a strong advocate of fit comes first. I have my tailor on speed dial.”
Whilst Tarling agrees that fashion will always be transient in its trends, he feels there is a realization from buyers that investment pieces of clothing are the way forward.
“I will always guide clients towards investing in clothes that suit their body shape, rather than towards trends, fads and fashion.”
The image consultant who has worked with Sony Music & BAFTA is an advocate for consumers finding out more about what suits them as it can have a big impact on the way you feel. “A sharp fitted suit cuts like a knife, and is rarely out of fashion. There is a positive impact on the people around you when you dress like a boss, and it’s known to boost confidence and productivity” says Tarling.
Moss Bros CEO, Brick agrees and adds that the formalwear styles of old are being switched up: “We are seeing a ‘recoding’ of the male dress code with styles and colours that are bridging the gap between formal and casual for the very first time.”
“A well-fitted suit is something every gent should have in the wardrobe. It’s not fashion. It’s common sense. It’s not about how much money you spend on a suit, but on how well it fits and flatters your body shape”summarises Tarling.
So the suit is clearly not dead, but being restyled to suit the wearer in comfort and style stakes. In a world focused on buying better and more sustainably, a purchase could be an investment piece that lasts even if that is from a reseller or the cyclical fashion marketplace.
“The suit will never die but it will evolve. Putting on a suit is like putting on your armor and provides a confidence boost many need for that special event or meeting,” he adds.