The phrase “clothes make the man” is more relevant than ever (though “clothes make the woman” is certainly just as fitting), and today’s young adults are always on the prowl for the hottest, latest trends and styles in clothing. The Millennial generation, those individuals born from about 1982 to 1995, has its sights on particular trends and patterns for browsing, selecting, and purchasing and tailoring their duds, and some trends may be surprising to older shoppers and retailers alike. Today’s women are a particularly robust crowd, since the average woman owns thirty outfits, one for every day of the month, compared to the average nine outfits in 1930. In fact, the average woman will spend 100 hours per year shopping for clothes. Designer clothing on the pricey end, as well as grunge-like cheap but practical outfits, are all in demand for today’s youthful shoppers, and creativity in one’s wardrobe is something to be celebrated. How should today’s tailoring keep up?
Men and Women Blend on the Coat Rack
Tradition for men’s and women’s clothing is finding new company. On one hand, traditionally feminine clothing still has a strong presence in clothing retail, such as prom dresses, wedding gowns, and any variety of skirts, blouses, and sun dresses. Fashion for men can also go the familiar route with grunge-like outfits including work boots (often leather), jeans, loose flannel shirts, and baseball caps or cowboy hats in the Southwestern United States. A new middle ground has emerged, and modern tailoring is looking to keep pace. It can be argued that Millennials are highly tolerant of new gender identities and self-representation, and creativity for this new frontier is abundant.
This isn’t to say that there is a newfound proliferation of drag queens or tomboys (not that there’s anything wrong with either of those concepts), but then again, young men and women are exploring a middle ground. Girls, for example, have long since borrowed jeans from men’s fashion and made it their own, often with sequins and threaded patterns on the denim, as well as a form-fitting shape. During the era of grunge (about 1988 to 1995), there was some androgyny of clothing among grunge fans, and that may be true today. Girls can easily look good with loose flannel shirts, ripped jeans, work boots, and knitted caps, along with plastic frame glasses (often decorative rather than prescription).
Today’s young men experiment with their own skinny jeans, lighter and more expressive colors, and modest jewelry, such as lip studs, stud earrings, and trendy hair styles. This blending of traditional masculine and feminine paradigms can create a rich middle ground for tailoring and designer clothes. Unisex brand clothes and tailoring choices can create clothes and trendy styles that are accessible to both major sexes, as well as matching the gender role rebellion that is a common theme to Millennial thought and social criticism.
Millennials also have clear preferences in how they shop. They, and the younger Generation Z (born 1996-2010), show a heavy preference for online shopping. In fact, e-commerce in general has exploded in the last 15 years, and that includes clothing retail. In 2018, for example, the fashion industry made $481.2 billion in e-commerce, and that figure is estimated to reach a staggering $712.9 billion by 2022. Brick and mortar retailers are working to keep this trend going, competing with online-only markets by offering their wares and tailoring services online with well-managed catalogues. A good e-catalog needs sensible organization, plentiful and clear product images, and quality item descriptions to succeed, and if so, they can make big business with the under-35 crowd of shoppers.