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Fashion Retailers Focus on ‘Hybrid’ Dress Codes Amid Delta Variant Surge

Fashion retailers in the United States, such as Target and Macy’s, are focusing on pushing “hybrid” dress codes as the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus surges around the nation. After a boost during the second quarter and a good back-to-school season, apparel retailers are attempting to stick with the changing times in a way that benefits consumers.

While many students have returned to the classroom — some for the first time in a year, or since the pandemic began in 2020 — some parents or workers are still working at home, or working remotely. The Delta variant has caused COVID-19 cases to surge nationwide, halting some workers from returning to the office. Remote work has, therefore, stuck around longer than some people previously anticipated.

Remote work has caused a shift in dress code for workers, allowing a more casual office style to reflect the new environment where they are working. As a result, fashion retailers have focused on selling “above-the-keyboard” clothing, perfect for Zoom conferences and video calls. This type of clothing includes blouses, slacks, and dress shoes — anything that appears to be a casual business style.

Consumers are, according to retailers, focusing on shopping for clothing items that are a mix of returning to normalcy and their everyday life, yet also compensating for remote work or hybrid learning. Consumers have invested in a mix of “above-the-keyboard” clothing and outfits for special occasions, or for returning to public life.

As a result, retailers such as Target have ensured that they have “hybrid” clothing options for those who may be affected by the Delta variant. These hybrid options are a result of the Delta variant, which has threatened students’ return to schools and also impacted many remote workers. Hybrid clothing, therefore, is designed to be worn both at home while on video conferences, yet also for when people actually attend school or work.

Sales have been particularly strong in the apparel industries in the United States for the past few months. According to NPD Group, a research firm that collects apparel data, unit sales volume for apparel rose about 12% in the second quarter when compared to 2019. NPD also reveals that 35% of United States workers now have a casual dress code for work, up 7% from where this number stood before the pandemic.

As a result of all of these uncertain times, Macy’s and Target seem intent on keeping these hybrid clothing models around for a bit, hopefully to encourage their prominent sales and keep their profits growing as the year continues. 

The Delta variant has affected many businesses around the nation, as COVID-19 cases have surged in many parts of the country. This surge in cases has resulted in many to regulate masks while indoors again, even for the vaccinated. Companies have also kept workers from returning to the office, instead continuing to rely on remote work. Currently, as the Delta variant continues to spread, many businesses are attempting to keep an eye on the cases while still conducting business amid the pandemic.

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