The COVID-19 pandemic led many to say goodbye to their beloved pieces of clothing and instead opt for more casual and comfortable outfits. Even the office, where we would normally dress smart, was moved into our own homes – so the necessity to dress well for work was suddenly gone.
Once our lives began to edge back into normality, it became an opportunity to embrace our finest staple pieces. The demand to be well dressed in formal attire for many occasions, big or small, has risen. But for what reason have people been inspired to continue this fashion after lockdown?
Here, we explore the reasons behind the desire to be well-dressed.
The anticipation of normality
Offices have noticed a switch in attire. Swapping formal for comfort is now the popular option, leaving people wondering if business casual will ever return. But interestingly enough, consumers are dressing up for social occasions instead. After all, the working world didn’t quite come to a halt as our social lives did. So while we may have opted for more casual but no less dashing items for our working life, our style was certainly enhanced outside of work.
In fact, Brits were planning their outfits and predicting the fashion before we were even given our freedom back – particularly a roaring 20s style. While this was perhaps a very specific expectation, there has undoubtedly been an increased demand for dressing smarter. Google trends data from the past year reflects the desire for tuxedos in particular, with there being a spike in searches for the term between July 4th-10th 2021. Of course, everybody is aware that this was near the anticipated event of lockdown restrictions lifting on 19th July, indicating that many consumers were keen to dress sharp for the long-awaited social events, known as ‘revenge buying’ to make up for lost time.
Looking good boosts our mood
The smarter clothes in our wardrobe might have started to collect dust during the pandemic. As much as we longed for a valid reason to wear them it seemed a waste to lounge around our homes wearing our high-end items. But when we aren’t looking our best, it can affect how we feel too.
Wearing our best formal clothing is known as power dressing, and doing so instigates a mood boost as it inspires how we aim to feel. But with no one to see our clothing other than family during lockdown, it undoubtedly contributed to low mood. Out of lockdown, we can now appreciate the ability to socialise and show off our treasured items, allowing us to feel good. Thus the desire to dress well is certain to stay.
The return of weddings
While some Brits were embracing their striking wardrobe for social events, others were in search of attire for their special day. Since March 2020 there has been a lot of uncertainty surrounding weddings. Many couples were forced to reschedule their big day to a date further in the future. But with announcements of COVID restrictions easing, grooms were eager to jump back into formal clothing.
It didn’t take too long after the lockdown was lifted until grooms and guests were on the hunt for suits. Between July 25th-July 31st last year, Google witnessed the highest number of searches for the term ‘wedding suits’ since March 2021. So once the reality of normality had sunk in, consumers were quick to start their quest for formal attire. Your wedding day is, of course, a moment to cherish – but it seems from the data that the opportunity to dress smarter than they had in months was weighing heavy on the mind.
Although the pandemic altered fashion within offices, it has certainly had a lasting impact on occasions that were once considered to have a casual dress code. The return of formal events has demonstrated that the excitement for the smart attire is dominant. But after a difficult two years, it would be rude not to invest in our wardrobes and choose a more striking look.