The ever-popular t-shirt has taken on a new role within the past year as an everyday essential. Now, the same casual tee can transition from a full day of work to a (virtual) happy hour and even to bedtime. For wearers, comfort matters just as much as durability does.
Ipsos Coronavirus Consumer Tracker found that 39% of adults are wearing work clothes less often, and 33% are wearing athleisure more during the day than they had before the pandemic’s start. The trend isn’t entirely spurred by the stay-at-home orders and work-from-home company policies. It was a tendency in the making pre-pandemic as the line between formal and dress-down clothing blurred. The Ipsos study pointed out that it could be difficult for workers to return to even business casual.
An article by Daniele Fay Mathras, an associate teaching professor of marketing at Northeastern University, shared similar views. “It’s going to be hard to get people back into those uncomfortable clothes after a really long time of being in very comfortable clothes,” she wrote. “Consumers will be very resistant to that.” Mathras’ research also showed that consumers are seeing the value in better quality apparel. Instead of being concerned with social feedback and fads, they’re focusing on minimalism and choosing staples that can stand the test of time.
Likewise, corporations are seeing the benefit of investing in higher-quality tees that translate into valuable brand awareness. There is a correlation between the image of a company and the quality of the products they chose. As companies learn that the better-quality, retail-oriented-style t-shirt often becomes the wearer’s favorite, by investing in higher-quality attire with subtle decoration, they are securing more brand impressions than they would by opting for a lower-quality tee that is worn less.
Though office workers adjusted their wardrobes to something more comfortable in 2020, many workers were already experiencing the comfort of a t-shirt on the job. Many industries, such as tech, have incorporated the tee as part of their corporate uniform. This has increased the demand for premium tees, i.e. better quality ringspun, combed cotton, bamboo/organic cotton, and blends which give a more professional appearance during online events such as Zoom meetings.
We are likely to see a rise in dressed-up casual wear, for example, t-shirts paired with oversized blazers. Fashion trends are constantly reinventing themselves and corporate wear will return, however, likely with a more comfortable spin on the traditional looks of bygone years.