The Lighter Side of Business
NO MATTER WHAT tantrums Old Man Winter appears to be throwing outside, spring is right around the corner. And with spring comes change—particularly, a change in apparel. The time has come to ditch the tweed jackets and wool slacks for a lighter (and brighter) style of dressing. In the business-casual sector, this means a re-embracing of popular styles that not only help end-users bring a little leisure to the office, but also make for an easy sell for distributors.
WHY BUSINESS CASUAL?
Arthur Weiss, corporate sales account executive at Miami-based Perry Ellis International, praised the
business-casual category as one that can foster employee productivity. “Years ago, everybody dressed in long-sleeve shirts and ties at work,” he said. “However, we’re seeing a lot of companies now encouraging their employees to dress in business-casual attire. The employees are more productive because they’re comfortable.”
In addition to laid-back fashions helping end-users’ businesses boom, Rhonda Johnson, director of marketing and merchandising at Hartwell Classic Apparel, Hartwell, Ga., said business casual is a viable apparel niche for distributors to sell,
pointing out that garments in the category are easier on clients’ checkbooks compared to other apparel categories. She said net pricing on some of Hartwell’s moisture-management polos is as low as $7.95. “Overall … business casual is more cost-effective while still providing a professional appearance,” she affirmed.
WHAT’S NEW AND NOTABLE?
Considering the fact this year’s business-casual spring selections feature items that won’t put a dent in the bank, it’s time for distributors to help clients take stock of their inventory and stock up on the latest fashions. Below, Johnson and Weiss weigh in on the
corporate-casual must-haves for when the weather breaks.
• Moisture management is still in. According to Johnson, performance features will stay strong this spring, which is practical for climbing temperatures. “Our main focus continues to be on moisture management for spring 2008,” she said. She pointed to her company’s companion polo styles 500 and 505 as being “by far, our biggest hit of the year.” Besides their moisture-management features, the garments make good use of current fashion trend colors. They are offered in ocean blue, tangerine and celery
—hues that are sure to brighten up any office setting after a long, gray winter.