'Invest in yourself': Local business attire clothiers also pinched by the pandemic

Posted at 7:26 PM, Dec 22, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A decent chunk of the retail sector has been hammered by the pandemic, and those who specialize in men's and women's business clothing have been one of the nails. At Logan's of Lexington, clothier Darrell McCarty estimates sales of suits, dress shirts, slacks, and ties are down 20% since March.

"A lot of guys aren't zooming in suits or sportscoats, and that's fine," McCarty said just before the store was set to open on Tuesday morning.

What's allowed Logan's to keep opening day after day has been its sportswear lines.

"They're wearing a lot of nice sportswear," he said of the men who are working from home.

McCarty believes, as most clothiers do, that a new suit or tie or a nice article of business casual clothing will not only make you look better but might help you to function on a higher level while commanding a little more respect from colleagues, clients, and superiors.

"Is that fair," he asked. "Probably not, but it's how we view people. We try to let people know, don't try to out dress your boss, but act like you deserve to be there," he said.

On the other side of town at Betty Spain's Bella Rose boutique, the challenges have been similar. Here, they specialize in not only women's business attire, but dresses for specific events like weddings, the Kentucky Derby, or the spring and fall meets at Keeneland. As we know, fans were not allowed into those events in 2020, so there was no need to shop for them.

"We're hanging in the best we can. On this corner, a lot of magic happens here!" Spain said.

Spain said that weddings, and gift card purchases have helped keep her above water since March, and she's adjusting to the times when it comes to stocking her racks, but there's a limit on how far she's willing to go after 40 years of being known as "the pretty dress store."

"Yes, we've brought in some more casual (clothing), but I want to keep it at a level that's expected of us," she added.

Logan's is doing that too. There's still a full arsenal of men's business clothing, and the belief is it'll begin to move at a fast pace once again.

"Right now, we're doing buy one get one free on suits and sportscoats. That's pretty good," McCarty said of the current sale. "You can get some really good value for your dollar on that," he added.

McCarty believes freshening up the wardrobe can put a little more pep in one's step. And while you may not need that suit or tie today, the day will soon come when you will be able to wear it again.

"We're suggesting to get ready, be prepared. It's an investment in yourself, and in tomorrow," McCarty said, before ending the conversation with something we could all use in our closets right now.

"…we have to have hope."