With variants like omicron making it tough for companies to set return-to-office dates, new fashion trends are emerging among hybrid workers, according to the 2022 Stitch Fix Style Forecast. These include a prolonged move toward comfortable attire — and there are no signs of a comeback for the beleaguered business suit.

Based on data gleaned from its orders, the apparel-subscription company says trends include the category of “business comfort,” featuring items such as stretchy blazers, knit and woven tops and elastic-waist bottoms. While demand for work outfits is rising, a majority of consumers are looking to balance style with comfort, according to Stitch Fix. Denim and dresses are making a comeback, while sales for larger sizes are also growing fast.

The report found clients ditching the business suit in droves, with about half of millennials saying they’ll never wear one again.

The changes represent a challenge for retailers that specialize in office attire, such as Brooks Brothers and Gap Inc.’s Banana Republic, which have attempted to pivot during the pandemic amid sudden change in tastes. While consumer spending on apparel has returned, with Stitch Fix saying that spending exceeded pre-pandemic levels during every month of 2021, it’s being deployed differently. After nearly two years of lockdowns, a closet refresh is underway with many looking to replace swaths of their wardrobes.

People are ready to return to a new normal and excited to dress up and go out, the report said.

Source: Bloomberg