Nordstrom Sees 165 Percent Increase in Online Searches for Work Clothes

We surveyed 2,000 Americans to explore how the pandemic has affected their fashion choices and found after spending the last year in lockdown, the future of getting dressed feels uncertain.  

Coming out of the pandemic, 36 percent of people feel they don't have anything to wear. They are also looking for fashion inspiration as they transition from a wardrobe rooted in comfort. As people begin attending more social engagements, they want help finding styles that reflect current trends yet maintain the accessible style they have grown accustomed to during the pandemic.  In the past few months, Nordstrom.com has seen a 165 percent increase in searches for "work clothes" as people gear up for the office.  

"Coming out of the pandemic, people have a chance to reimagine what style means for them and become reacquainted with the joy of fashion," said Fanya Chandler, senior vice president at Nordstrom. "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."   

The below survey results reveal how respondents evolved their personal style during the pandemic, their "go-to" items and how they plan to dress moving out of quarantine life.    

Work, but Make it Fashion 

Thirty-six percent of people said they haven't bought new work clothing since before the pandemic, in the past few months there has been a 165 percent increase in customer searches for "work clothes" on Nordstrom.com. For those planning to return to an office this fall, they are excited to get out of their "comfort" zone and say yes to dress pants (28 percent), dress shirts (28 percent) and dresses (26 percent).   

Styling Inspiration Help 

Forty percent of respondents feel stuck in their personal style and one in four say their wardrobe feels outdated coming out of the pandemic. Forty-three percent shared they struggle to find clothes that fit, and 45 percent say they struggle to find clothes that are flattering for their body type.    

When it comes to special occasion outfits respondents are looking for help finding looks for dining out (32 percent), events (34 percent), travel (21 percent) and work (20 percent).   

In 2020, we produced 40,000 salesperson videos—these videos provide styling and product advice to customers shopping on Nordstrom.com. Nearly 25 percent of our 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.   

Office style

Comfort is Key—so is Style

While 41 percent say that they plan to dress comfortably for the rest of their life, they aren't giving up on style for comfort as 35 percent say they are more open to trying new styles post-pandemic.    

"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-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."