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Half of adults now buy more "relaxed" clothes than ever before

Tom Bottomley
07 October 2020

A new study by shopping destination centre:mk in Milton Keynes has revealed that almost half (49%) of adults now own more relaxed clothing than they ever have due to changing living circumstances amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The poll of 2,000 adults highlights that Britain has become a nation of "fashion loungers" due to a more "flexi-lifestyle" and working from home.

The study found that 28% of respondents feel they need to give their wardrobe a refresh to suit their new lifestyle, and adults are now 10 times as likely to buy a jumper over a suit, with women five times as likely to purchase jeans over a maxi skirt, and 35% are ditching their heels in favour of trainers.

On average, the 25-34 age group have been the biggest spenders over the past few months, splashing out £123 on new fashion - with a fifth of this bracket spending £200 or more.  And 18% plan to buy more comfortable clothes to accommodate their new flexi-lifestyle, with the average adult planning to spend £103 on their AW20 look.

Just over half of respondents (51%) conceded that their clothes shopping trips will be different from usual due to a lack of social occasions likely to take place this autumn/winter.

As a result, 31% plan to opt for more casual pieces over smarter looks, and 21% need to buy flexible items that they can wear both working from home and in face-to-face meetings.

Kim Priest, Head of Marketing at centre:mk, said: “Our research shows that shoppers are opting more for comfort particularly when working from home.

“However, while they’re a bit more relaxed in their attire, they are still keen to look as good as ever, often paring comfort on the bottom half with a smart top to take the children to school, jump on an important Zoom meeting or for those rare real-life social occasions we all want to make the most of now.”

The study also found that the new ‘flexi-wardrobes’ include a fashionable face covering, oversized T-shirts, gym wear and leggings, and Brits are planning to fork out £48 on beauty products for the autumn/winter season.

Professor Carolyn Mair PhD, Behavioural Psychologist and author of ‘The Psychology of Fashion’, who collaborated with centre:mk as part of the research, commented: Many people miss the opportunity to be spontaneous, so we are choosing clothing items that can be combined effortlessly to work in multiple contexts.

What we wear is our second skin, it expresses who we are. Prior to the pandemic, we associated traditional workwear with conscientiousness and professionalism, but working from home has changed what we wear to perform our jobs and the associations that we make about appearance.”

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