ACTIONABLE RESEARCH ON GEN Z AND MILLENNIALS
Here’s Where Millennials Are Actually Buying Their Work Clothes

Here’s Where Millennials Are Actually Buying Their Work Clothes

Millennials have been changing the workplace, and what’s worn there. So where are they actually buying their work clothes? We’ve got the top 15 retailers they’re turning to…

As Millennial employment continues to improve, they’re taking over more workplaces—and bringing their non-traditional approaches with them. As we found in our Millennial Employee Handbook research, flexibility is one of the values they’re bringing to their jobs—following only salary in importance to their career happiness. In fact, 90% of Millennials believe you don’t have to work traditional work hours to do good work, and 79% would like to be able to work from home.

But they’re also notoriously bringing a more casual approach to offices everywhere. Fast Company reports that lengthy work emails are being replaced by gifs, emojis, and other visual communication shortcuts thanks to Millennial employees. And of course, workplace attire has gotten increasingly casual as their employed numbers have grown. This doesn’t just impact the way workers look, but multiple industries that depend on professional shoppers. According to Racked, dry cleaners are struggling to attract Millennials as they opt for casual workwear, with revenues for cleaners on a steady decline. But it’s the fashion/retail industry that has the most adjusting to do. The Wall Street Journal reports that suit retailers are struggling in the face of these changing workforce norms. Goldman Sachs Inc. and Target Corp. are the most recent to shift away from suits. Because of the trend, Tailored Brands, the parent company of Men’s Warehouse and Jos. A. Bank, saw sales slip 10.7% in their most recent quarter and only expect the dip to deepen. To fight the slide, they’re showcasing more casual choices, like khakis and jeans, and at Jos. A. Bank’s NYC store, the suits are kept on the upper level.

In our most recent survey on employment and career goals, a full, potentially surprising, 72% of young consumers told us that being able to dress casually is important to them when thinking about their career—and 42% say that it is very/extremely important. So where are they actually buying their work clothes? In that same survey, we asked them to tell us, “Where do you purchase clothes for work?”—and we’ve ranked their top responses. For this list, we’re looking at post-college Millennials specifically, to get a sense of where those who have officially entered the workplace are finding their professional (or not so professional) wardrobes. Here are the top 15 places that those 23-36-year-olds told us they’re buying their work clothes:

Where They’re Buying Their Work Clothes

23-36-year-olds

      1. Target
      2. Online retailers
      3. Kohl’s
      4. Walmart
      5. Amazon
      6. Thrift stores / Goodwill
      7. Old Navy
      8. Macy’s
      9. Loft
      10. J. C. Penney
      11. Ross
      12. TJ Maxx
      13. Express
      14. Banana Republic
      15. H&M

*These were open-end response questions to allow us to capture the full range of places that Millennials are buying clothes for work—without our preconceived ideas shaping their responses. As with any qualitative question, the responses include those that are top of mind and those that are most popular. The lists are ordered according to number of responses received, and alphabetically when ties occurred.

The casual attire Millennials are known for is reflected in this list, with Target topping the ranking of places that they’re shopping for work clothing. Online retailers come in second place—representing all of the respondents who told us they shop at online stores for their work attire, without specifying exactly what sites they’re visiting. This likely encompasses a mix of both large and small online retailers. Females were more likely to say they shop at online retailers for their work attire, while males were actually most likely to say they’re getting work clothes from Amazon.

The top places that they’re shopping for work clothes align with some of their favorite places to buy clothing in general—signifying that many are not interested in visiting different retailers specifically for work clothing. Of course, many Millennials aren’t working in offices, with Education and Medicine/Healthcare/Mental Health topping the list of industries they’re currently working in. But even so, the dominance of more casual clothing sources on this list speaks to the generation’s approach to their workplace style. And another important theme is clear in the retailers named most: affordability. Young workers are most likely to be shopping at lower-priced stores, a big takeaway, and potential warning sign, for those currently trying to reach them with more exclusively priced professional items.

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.