Trends - Dressed for Success

Dress Shirts Are In Today In Offices Across The Country

Dressed for SuccessMen and women are dressing up again, and not always out of obedience to stricter office dress code requirements. Even Millennials and Gen-Xers now sport formal and semiformal dress on a daily basis as a personal fashion statement. In pop culture, well-tailored apparel is on prominent display in the hit TV series Mad Men, centered on a 1960s Madison Avenue advertising agency. While the execs drink constantly during the workday and often have messy personal lives, they know the importance of dressing well, including the value of a crisp, bright white dress shirt.

Now, 50 years later, the dress shirt is no longer limited to business executives' wardrobes. Givenchy recently featured them in the fall/winter 2013 collection, and Giorgio Armani offers items in off-white, light blue and lavender, plus options in chambray fabric and floral patterns. At a lower price point, retailer J.Crew offers similar shirts, bright plaids, vivid blues, bright whites and even denim, as well as crisp cotton and more casual garment-washed styles.

This rediscovered penchant for dress shirt styles bodes well for the imagewear segment of the promotional industry. Edwards Garment Co. (asi/51752) currently offers 23 dress shirt styles for men and women.

"They seem to be all the rage for image apparel programs throughout North America," says Taraynn Lloyd, marketing director. "We've seen a resurgence in dress shirts and blouses in a variety of colors and fabrics."

Lloyd explains that customers' demand for certain colors, like gray, French blue and traditional white, has remained strong. "Hospitality – including hotels, resorts, restaurants and casinos – is a huge industry for our distributors," Lloyd says. "A dress shirt plays a strategic role in their uniform programs."

When the fine dining uniform market recently asked for something new and fresh for its servers, Edwards got to work. "They wanted something that was contemporary and featured a retail fit," Lloyd says. "Our response was the Batiste Café shirt."

The Batiste Café features a soft and supple fabric made of a contemporary weave. It has a modern fit, covered placket and narrow collar. The ladies' companion features front and back darts and princess seams. "The shirt is easy to care for at home and is wrinkle-resistant," says Lloyd. "We now carry this style in five colors and will expand the offering in 2014."