Nordstrom Gauges Americans Wardrobe Needs, Post-Pandemic

That’s the message from a Nordstrom survey of 2,000 Americans, conducted June 9 to 12, exploring how COVID-19 affected their fashion choices and their perceptions of what they need to return to the office and start socializing again, as the pandemic appears to be subsiding and life returns to normal in the U.S.

Nordstrom, which conducted the survey with OnePoll, concluded that the future of fashion feels “uncertain,” and that 35 percent of those responding to the survey felt bored with the clothes they currently own.

Also, 36 percent haven’t bought new work clothes since before the pandemic; 40 percent felt stuck in their personal style, and one in four said their wardrobe feels outdated.

The Seattle-based retailer reported that in the past few months nordstrom.com has seen a 165 percent increase in searches for work clothes as people gear up for returning to the office.

Thirty-two percent of those surveyed said they want help finding looks for dining out; 34 percent want help finding outfits for events; 21 percent want help selecting travel clothes, and 20 percent want help selecting clothes for work.

Among Nordstrom’s other key findings:

• Those planning to return to an office this fall said they are looking forward to getting out of their “comfort” zone and are keen on dress pants, 28 percent; dress shirts, 28 percent; dresses, 26 percent; handbags, 22 percent; skirts, 22 percent; statement boots, 18 percent; heeled shoes, 17 percent; blazers/sport coats, 16 percent; suits, 15 percent, and ties, 10 percent.

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• Forty-three percent shared that they struggle to find clothes that fit; 45 percent said they struggle to find clothes that flatter their body type.

• Forty-one percent indicated they would dress comfortably for the rest of their life, and 26 percent said they no longer care about keeping up with trends.

• Thirty-five percent are more open to trying new styles, post-pandemic.

In 2020, Nordstrom produced 40,000 salesperson videos which provide styling and product advice to customers shopping on nordstrom.com. According to the company, nearly 25 percent of customers engaged with salesperson videos during that time with conversion rates nearly two times more than customers who didn’t engage with salesperson videos, resulting in more trips and lower return rates.

Fanya Chandler, senior vice president at Nordstrom, said that coming out of the pandemic is an opportunity for people to reimagine what style means to them. “For some, that means adding more comfort to their wardrobe, even as they return to normal. Others are ready to emerge from their homes looking their best and trying something new.”

“It’s been exciting to see customer demand come back in occasion categories, whether that’s travel, social or work. There is great enthusiasm for celebratory dressing — color, print, and new silhouettes,” said Shea Jensen, executive vice president and general merchandise manager of women’s and men’s apparel. “Customers are looking for ways to refresh their closets after a year of mostly staying home: from new occasion wear, such as a suit or dress for an upcoming event, to new pieces that offer versatility from day to night.”

“We were interested in learning more about how peoples’ approach to style evolved during and post-pandemic,” a spokesperson added. “We use a variety of tools and surveys to monitor customer feedback and market trends on an ongoing basis.”

Nordstrom’s survey of the 2,000 Americans also found that…

• One in three feel stuck in “style limbo.”

• Thirty percent get fashion inspiration from social media.

• Seventeen percent said that sweatpants, yoga pants or leggings were their most treasured item during the pandemic.

• Twenty-three percent said T-shirts were their most treasured item during the pandemic.

• Thirty-seven percent said their personal style changed during the pandemic.

• On average, people removed seven items from their wardrobe during the pandemic.

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