Year-over-year sales revenue for tailored clothing and other dress apparel increased by 5% and has surpassed 2019 levels

CHICAGO, June 29, 2023 Consumers are stepping into summer with dressier attire in their closets. U.S. sales revenue for adult tailored apparel, and other dress clothing, grew by 5%, from January through April 2023, versus last year, led by men’s dress shirts, men’s suits, and women’s skirts. The dress clothing market is larger than it was before the pandemic, with sales revenue 8% higher than 2019 levels, according to Circana, formerly IRI and The NPD Group.

Tailored and Dress Clothing US Sales Trends
Based on dollar sales, January-April 2023 versus 2022 and 2019

Source: Circana/Consumer Tracking Service, U.S. dollar sales, January-April 2023 vs. 2022 and 2019

“Hybrid work is also hybrid play,” said Maria Rugolo, apparel industry analyst at Circana. “Dressier trends, coinciding with the return to offices, events, travel, and other activities, have consumers mixing and matching how they are wearing their wardrobes – a reflection of the hybrid lifestyle that has become second nature to many. Men and women are pairing styles together in non-traditional ways, such as from wearing blazers with shorts and active pants with dressier tops. This year, the fusion of casual and dress attire is particularly prominent. People want their apparel to be adaptable.”

In the women’s market, sales of dresses experienced a slight dip this year, following a spike last year, as consumers likely made replenishment purchases; however, the market for dresses is still 12% larger than it was in 2019, and dresses are currently the top-selling clothing items in the overall apparel market. In the men’s aisle, higher-priced suits are leading sales in the tailored clothing business and are the highest they have been since the pre-pandemic period.

Layered onto these sales trends is the fact that consumers are choosing not to sacrifice quality when it comes to their dressier apparel purchases. According to Circana’s latest Omnibus Survey findings, dress pants rank among the top three apparel items, in which the importance of quality supersedes price, just behind jeans and coats. More than one-quarter of consumers are also more concerned with quality over price for their suits and dress shirts.

“Replenishing less often, consumers are not skimping on quality when it comes to their dressy apparel purchases,” said Rugolo. “This is an important behavior for brands and retailers to take into account as they plan their marketing strategies. Touting traits, such as adaptability and long-lasting, can go a long way, especially as the fashion lines continue to blur between casual and dress.”

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