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'Year Of Transition': Suit Shops Say Work Wardrobe Will Now Reflect Hybrid Model

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Fancy suits, shoes and ties normally keep retailers busy year-round, but this was no normal year. WBZ-TV's Paul Burton reports.

Video Transcript

- PJ's, sweats, and comfy clothes. That's what a lot of people have been living in for the past year while they've been working from home.

- And this easygoing wardrobe has really left some men's suit stores in danger of closing. But as the WBZ's Paul Burton discovered, business may be coming back.

JOHN AIRASIAN: There's nothing like putting on a good suit and looking good.

PAUL BURTON: Fancy suits, shoes, and ties normally keeps retailers busy year-round. But this was no ordinary year. With big weddings and galas canceled, office buildings closed, and people working remotely, many stores selling men's suits had to tailor their situation.

JOHN AIRASIAN: We did see a bit of a trend towards more casual stuff-- sport coats and button down shirts, Polo's, to the office.

DANA KATZ: It's been a year, certainly, of transition.

PAUL BURTON: Dana Katz, president of Milton's the Store for Men says the minute he reopened last June, he had to expand his sportswear presentation.

DANA KATZ: The wardrobe for work in the near future is also going to reflect this hybrid model.

PAUL BURTON: Like these stretchy elastic slacks that have the look of a suit pant.

JEFF DAVIDSON: We've been dramatically affected.

PAUL BURTON: Another industry greatly impacted by the lack of suit wearing is the laundry and cleaning community. Jeff Davidson owns Holly Cleaners.

JEFF DAVIDSON: The business dress, the smart casual dress, are just items that people have not been wearing.

PAUL BURTON: He also made adjustments to keep customers coming to his four locations during the pandemic.

JEFF DAVIDSON: In-home drapery cleaning. A lot of flat work, sheets, pillowcases.

PAUL BURTON: One positive sign that retailers are seeing is in the area of special occasions. Weddings and gatherings are now allowed to take place, which means people are now looking for the perfect outfit.

JOHN AIRASIAN: Weddings, bar mitzvahs, first communions, that's all coming back.

- It feels good to get dressed up and go out and be normal.

JOHN AIRASIAN: People going back into the office and things getting a little more serious I think is-- we're welcoming that.

JEFF DAVIDSON: I think we'll see the future will be bright.

PAUL BURTON: In Braintree, I'm Paul Burton, WBZ News.

- What do you think, David?

- Well, I mean, I've made some subtle changes. I'm wearing pajama bottoms right now. A lot of people can't see it, but--

- We weren't supposed to mention that. No, but I think people will enjoy getting dressed up once again when we can.

- Nothing makes me feel better than putting on a really well-fitted, nice suit.

- And you always look so handsome.

- Oh, well thank you very much, Paula. We should talk more about this. But we can't because the news at 6:00 starts right now.