The remaking of menswear: where the growth is in 2023

The remaking of menswear: where the growth is in 2023

Posted by ZOE HU on 15th Feb 2014

The menswear sector has been through a transformation: formalwear fell out of favour as consumers embraced a new, relaxed silhouette following the pandemic.

In 2023, shoppers are shaping up to smarten up once again, but not before the sector gets ready to face a barrage of industry headwinds, from rising energy, supply and import costs to falling consumer spend. However, it is set to remain stable as the menswear shopper evolves.

The UK menswear clothing market grew by 12.2% in 2021 reaching a value of £14.7bn, after a 14.9% drop in 2020, market research agency Mintel has reported.

Consumer data company Statista predicts that revenue in the UK menswear sector is to reach £18.52bn in 2023 and is to grow 2.06% annually until 2027, compared with womenswear's sales forecast of £34.26bn and annual revenue growth of 2.17%.

As the sector emerges from the pandemic, menswear brands and retailers have seen an uptick in tailoring and smart dressing, fuelled by the return of events and office working.

“People want to dress up to go to parties, and my shirts continue to be very strong,” Simon Carter, founder and CEO of the eponymous menswear brand, tells Drapers. It has five stores in the UK, plus 11 globally and sells direct to consumer. “We have seen a slight increase in our cufflink business, which suggests that there is a bit more formality coming back to office wear. I think people will want to smarten up their wardrobe in 2023.”

However, rather than traditional tailoring pieces, customers are increasingly looking for comfort. Menswear retailers are focusing on relaxed styles and soft fabric to adapt to this new demand, explains Scott Anderson, menswear design director at AllSaints.

“There has been a definite move away from the lockdown loungewear trend into something a bit more refined,” he says, “However, the element of comfort, to which people had become so accustomed, still remains, so silhouettes are relaxed and fabrics are soft and easy to wear – for example, deconstructed blazers in tactile corduroys and tailored trousers in brushed jerseys.”

James Kearns, managing director of suiting specialist TM Lewin, agrees that office and formalwear has evolved from strict, structured shapes. The menswear retailer plans to invest more into the “modern workwear wardrobe”, which allows customers to easily switch from the office to after-work events.

“We will play more into how consumers dress going into work at the back end of the week,” he says, “It’s not two-piece suits or even a formal shirt on a Thursday or Friday. It could be a beautiful, mercerised [treated cotton] polo shirt or a smart jersey T-shirt with a casual jacket, so we are going to invest more into that modern workwear wardrobe.