Home working could spell the end of the stiletto as shoppers ditch killer heels in favour of comfy footwear, a study has found.
Research among 2,000 shoppers reveals how lockdown is reshaping the typical wardrobe, as shirts and dresses make way for jumpers and loungewear.
And it could be the death knell for high heels, with just one in 20 planning to buy a pair of stilettos this winter compared to 35 per cent who will invest in a new pair of trainers.
Nearly half (49%) said recent purchases mean they have more ‘relaxed’ clothes than ever before.
The survey echoes a trading statement released yesterday by online retailer ASOS, which saw annual profits rise 329% off the back of booming loungewear sales.
Kim Priest from centre:mk, which commissioned the research, said: “Our study shows how shoppers are reinventing their wardrobes this season to create the ultimate flexi-wardrobe.
“The new flexi-lifestyle we’re all living means shoppers are adapting their clothing items to become smart casual capsule collections, pairing new items with their timeless classics like jeans and blazers, and designing their top half to be screen ready.
“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 or for those rare real life social occasions we all want to make the most of.”
The study found that the new ‘flexi-lifestyle’ – working partially from home and the office and having social occasions in person and virtually – means 28 per cent feel they need to give their wardrobe a refresh.
On average, the 25-34 year-old age group, have been the biggest spenders over the past few months, spending £123 on new fashion – with a fifth spending £200 or more.
But 18 per cent of adults plan to buy more comfortable clothes to accommodate their new flexi-lifestyle.
As a result, the average woman’s wardrobe now contains five pairs of jeans, seven jumpers and six items of loungewear, the research by OnePoll found.
There are four casual skirts, four pairs of trainers and 10 t-shirts but four formal dresses are now considered enough, along with six shirts or blouses.
Prof Carolyn Mair PhD, behavioural psychologist and author of ‘The Psychology of Fashion’, who has collaborated with centre:mk, said: “Many people miss the opportunity to be spontaneous, so we are choosing clothing items that can be combined effortlessly to work in multiple contexts.
“This reduces uncertainty, increases confidence and provides a sense of control which in turn contributes to our wellbeing.
“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.
“We can exert and command authority in casual clothing in many different ways.
“Although we make a judgement about a person in under one second based on their appearance alone, we often change this when we know them better.”
The average Brits’ ‘flexi-wardrobe’ currently includes:
Jumpers – 7
Jeans – 5
Casual skirts – 4
Smart skirts – 3
Trainers – 4
T-shirts – 10
Suits – 1
Day dresses – 5
Formal dresses – 4
Gymwear – 5
Suit trousers – 2
Coats – 5
Shirts / blouses – 6
Jumpers – 5
Jeans – 4
Trainers – 3
Loungewear – 5
T-shirts – 10
Suits – 3
Gymwear – 3
Suit trousers – 3
Coats – 4
Shirts – 7
Chinos – 2