Women’s fashion has now become more accessible than ever. Investment buys are a huge market in the fashion industry, meaning that expensive work clothes aren’t just for runways anymore. The global women’s wear market is predicted to reach peak value by 2022, to the tune of 830 billion dollars. But, women in the workplace is not a ground-breaking concept. Why is this industry growing so much, and why now?
In a recent article exploring this topic Deb Ferraro, vice president of the workwear line Carhartt said, “Where we have the most success is where we take similar [men’s] product, and we don’t shrink and pink it, but we fit it appropriately for women’s shape.” While Carhartt specialized in durable outerwear the sentiment applies to women’s professional wear as well. Brands are more successful when they produce clothing that has been designed for women, not shrunken down version of clothing designed for men. The fact that more brands are designing with women in mind is a huge reason for the growth trends in the women’s workwear line; which seems painfully obvious and again begs the question, why now?
Part of the blame lies in women’s work culture over the past decade. Women often had strictly enforced dress codes based off of cultural standards that gave them little room to expresses themselves. The lines between everyday wear and workwear blurred together causing workwear suites and other styles to be catered to men. Into the 80’s the opposite happened, women in male-dominated industries stayed away from feminine styles, often choosing to wear masculine cuts to help them “fit in” their industry. Now, the rise of women, particularly millennial women, in the workforce and female empowerment movement is showing the workwear industry that women are equal to men when it comes to strength and capability in the workplace and that they deserve the same level of treatment.
“"A lot of women find that their workwear acts as armour."
With the rise of women in the workplace, Kate Reardon is right, workwear is armor and women are demanding brands give them the best armor possible. Women are investing more in themselves, fighting for equality in the workplace, and their wardrobes. The growth of social media and e-commerce have made it easier than ever for women to access this industry and women are demanding the quality that they deserve. Workwear should make women feel confident enough to ask for what they want out of life. It is an investment in yourself and in your future, women know this. That is why I started Citrine Grey, to fill the gap that I saw in this industry, brands are finally starting to listen and I can’t wait to see what the future of women’s workwear holds.