By Paul Burton

BOSTON (CBS) – Fancy suits, shoes and ties normally keep retailers busy year-round, but this was no normal year. “I have an extensive suit collection that the moths are using more than me,” Paul Walsh of Newton said.

With big weddings and galas canceled, office buildings closed and people working remotely, many stores selling men’s suits had to tailor their situations. “We did see a bit of a trend towards more casual stuff. Sport coats, button down shirts, polos to the office,” said John Airasian of Eastern Clothing of Watertown.

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“It’s been a year, certainly of transition,” said Dana Katz, President of Miltons – the Store for Men. Katz said the minute he reopened last June he had to expand his sportswear presentation. “We really geared things for people working at home. We have great Zoom shirts. The wardrobe for work in the near future is also going to reflect this hybrid model,” Katz said.

Another industry greatly impacted by the lack of suit wearing is the laundry and cleaning community. Jeff Davidson owns Holly Cleaners. “We’ve been dramatically affected,” Davidson said. “The business dress and smart casual dress are just items people have not been wearing. We are 90% less than what it was.”

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He also made adjustments to keep customers coming to his four locations during the pandemic. “Patio cushion cleaning. In home drapery cleaning, a lot of flatwork, sheets, pillowcases,” Davidson said.

One positive sign that retailers are seeing is in the area of special occasions. Weddings and larger gatherings are now allowed to take place, which means people are looking for the perfect outfit.

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“Weddings, bar mitzvahs, first communions that’s all coming back. But it’s also an indication that people are starting to return to work,” Katz said.

Paul Burton