Kiss Casual Friday goodbye!
- Maker of Wrangler jeans sees shift away from formal clothes
- Company maintaining online presence while stores shuttered
Stuck-at-home employees are getting used to wearing more comfortable clothes during the workday. When it’s time to go back into the office, they might not be so eager to pull those stuffy suits and itchy dresses out of the closet.
“You’re going to see people walking back into the office and saying, Why am I all dressed up? I could wear denim today just fine.”Scott Baxter
CEO Kontoor Brands
It might be wishful thinking for the head of the Wrangler and Lee brands, but there’s reason to think the coronavirus quarantine could be another nail in the coffin for formal office attire.
Companies had already been loosening rules on work clothes. Patagonia vests have become staples on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley. Women have traded business suits and tailored pants for clothes with more stretch. With millions of Americans now using their living rooms as offices, donning casual tees or hoodies during video calls has become the norm.
This paradigm shift could give Kontoor a much-needed lift. Like many clothing companies during the lockdown, it was forced to temporarily shutter brick-and-mortar stores, and Kontoor withdrew its full-year guidance in March due to “uncertainty and significant business impacts” caused by the pandemic.
Sales haven’t dried up entirely. The company is maintaining an online presence, which Baxter said is benefiting from a trend toward casual clothes.
There may be limits to just how informal the office gets, Baxter said.
“I don’t think we’re going to get to the point where people are going to wear yoga pants to the office……… But I think a sharp blazer and a pair of denim? A dress shirt and some denim? I think it’s clearly appropriate.”Scott Baxter
CEO Kontoor Brands