The Analyst Team

November 2, 2021

Dress for Succession - How the TV show can revive workwear

Why the time is ripe to back workwear styles inspired by the ruthless Roy family.

Workwear is bouncing back, and its recovery perfectly coincides with the return and renewal of the boardroom-based hit TV show

Read on to optimize your hybrid working assortment with inspiration from Succession's best-dressed characters, new market arrivals and future runway direction.

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Key takeaways

  • An uptick in consumers returning to the office, coupled with a combined 17% increase in new workwear styles YoY, presents a lucrative opportunity for investment in this space. With the third season of Succession airing now and confirmation of a fourth, retailers can continue to look to the Roy family and its cohorts for workwear direction.

  • While Kendall Roy is known for his sharp suiting, retailers can commercialize his looks with more relaxed tailoring to appeal to a broader consumer base. To engage the commuter, promote Tom Wambsgans-inspired puffer vests or update Roman Roy's longline woolen coat with functional parkas.

  • Modernize Shiv Roy's signature high-waist trouser and turtleneck combo with investment in wide-leg silhouettes and oversized jackets. Retailers can capitalize on the rising blazer dress trend as a directional piece to create social media buzz.

  • The underpinning theme of Succession dressing is exuding wealth with quality over quantity. While the Roy's are infinitely rich, their dress style isn't flamboyant. Keep this in mind when backing the above trends and invest in premium materials, merchandised alongside timeless leathergoods and delicate jewelry to increase basket spend.

The state of workwear

A recent survey found that more than half of working adults in the UK are traveling to work again, with rising numbers seeking a hybrid approach. Specifically, research shows that Gen Z is looking forward to getting back to the office, with 32% feeling more productive working away from home, whereas their Gen X and Baby Boomer counterparts prefer working remotely. While many companies in the US have delayed their return dates due to the threat of COVID variants, 45% of workers want to be back in the office full-time and 24% would prefer a hybrid arrangement.

After a sluggish 2020, workwear is showing signs of recovery in retail. Matalan recently reported a pickup in full price smart and formalwear sales as consumers trickled back into the office and updated their wardrobes. Retailers have tapped into this demand with overall new apparel styles up 59% YoY in menswear, driven by shirting and trouser investment. In comparison, women's workwear grew 5%, overshadowed by partywear drops. However, tailored blazers and trousers are seeing backing - up 22% and 31% YoY.

succession-trends

Menswear Succession trends

Arguably the most stylish male character, Kendall Roy sported earthy green and brown hues in season two before returning to dark suits for season three. While arrivals for brown-colored suits have decreased YoY, green color options are rising and, after navy, are the fourth top-stocked color at all retailers. However, green hues only make up 5% of all suits that have seen a majority SKU sell out this year, making it a high-risk investment for fashion-forward retailers who want to get involved in the rise of Gen Z green.

succession-trends succession-trends succession-trends succession-trends Images via HBO, Zara, Canali Spring 2022, Officine Générale Spring 2022

Tom Wambsgans regularly wears a puffer vest on the show. For 2021 arrivals, quilted appeared in 17% of product names compared to just 9% last year, highlighting an increase in smarter styles. boohooMAN dropped a "Quilted Smart Gilet" in khaki within its Fall 2021 line, while Mango's offering included a water-repellent vest, ideal for those traveling to and from work.

succession-trends succession-trends succession-trends succession-trendsImages via HBO, Mango, MooRER Spring 2022, Eleventy Spring 2022

Roman Roy is rarely seen without his formal, grey long coat. Checked overcoats have increased in popularity this year, making up 14% of all arrivals for the category when there were no options for 2020. However, as functionality trends, the longline coat has decreased investment for 2021, while anoraks and parka newness has increased by 91% YoY.

succession-trends succession-trends succession-trends succession-trendsImages via HBO, Mango, Fendi Spring 2022, Undercover Spring 2022

Leading the pack, CEO Logan Roy is known for his love of cardigans. In 2021 the market saw an increase of 13% in cardigan arrivals, with varsity themes appearing at Zara for fashion-forward consumers. Aside from black, neutrals see a more extensive investment YoY, making up 14% of all retailers' offerings.

succession-trends succession-trends succession-trends                 succession-trends               Images via HBO, H&M, Fendi Spring 2022, Dunhill Spring 2022

 

Womenswear Succession trends

From season two, viewers have witnessed the sartorial glow-up of Shiv Roy, complimenting her story arc of coming into power at Waystar Royco. Her soft, bohemian style has given way to razor-sharp tailoring, with turtleneck sweaters and high-waist trousers becoming her go-to uniform. Despite the noise around low-rise styles, high waists remain dominant, making up 83% of new trouser arrivals in the US and 63% in the UK.

succession-trends succession-trends succession-trends succession-trendsImages via HBO, Mango, Fendi Spring 2022, Rejina Pyo Spring 2022

 Shiv makes a statement as she guns for control in a male-dominated board room with figure-hugging silhouettes and sharp-shoulder suiting. New blazers have seen a 22% increase YoY, though the trend is commanded by oversized, relaxed fits complimenting the slouchy tailoring trend. With demand for workwear heating up, Shiv-approved blazer dresses are landing at Missguided and Zara. At the same time, their presence in Versace, Saint Laurent and Chanel's Spring 2022 collections underscore their future as a hero item in workwear assortments.

  succession-trends succession-trends succession-trends succession-trendsImages via HBO, H&M, Versace Spring 2022, Saint Laurent Spring 2022

With her no-nonsense attitude and unconventional relationship with Roman, the internet has dubbed Gerri Kellman the "Queen of Succession." Impeccably dressed in glasses, skirt sets and structured outerwear, Gerri is an icon for the mid and mature customer. Reworking the lengths of skirt co-ord sets can help retailers connect this style to all age groups, while applying check patterns, which are currently available on 35% of new skirt arrivals, can evoke the office prepster workwear story.

succession-trends succession-trends succession-trends succession-trendsImages via HBO, Missguided, Chanel Spring 2022, Moschino Spring 2022

Logan Roy's mysterious third wife, Marcia, snatches screen time with an agenda and style of her own. Always elegant and poised, Marcia favors fitted dresses and jewel tones. While pencil silhouettes have fallen out of favor for more relaxed attire, office-appropriate dresses are getting the WFH treatment in soft fabrics like ribbed jerseys, tactile knits and buttery viscose - evergreen styles amid the hybrid workwear boom.

succession-trends succession-trends succession-trends succession-trendsImages via HBO, Zara, Michael Kors Spring 2022, Jitrois Spring 2022

Contributions by Retail Analysts, Heather Ibberson and Kayla Marci

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