At the beginning of the pandemic, Dina Gachman was not exactly wearing her Sunday best. She has a toddler who was out of school. She was trying to work.
“I probably had a robe on half the day and my hair was just a complete mess,” Gachman said. “And then I started to think, ‘OK, it’s gonna make me feel better, and it’s going to be better for my sanity if I maybe put some mascara on or put on an actual outfit.”
Eventually, Gachman, who lives in Austin, Texas, even bought some new clothes.
“I got one pair of pants from Target that are very soft, comfortable cargo type pants that I could probably sleep in, but then I could also wear with heels,” she said.
Sorry, heels? What are those again?
But that right there — that is the sweet spot retailers are aiming for. Clothes that are comfortable but don’t make you feel like you’ve completely let yourself go.
Zara, the Spanish fast fashion retailer, just announced that it has a new lingerie collection, much of which could be described as stuff you’d wear to lounge around the house — loose-fitting cotton pajama pants and silk button-down shirts. Also, Kohl’s says it will be launching an athleisure brand in the spring.
Bronwyn Cosgrave, who hosts the fashion podcast A Different Tweed, said there’s a particular consumer these retailers are targeting: “a woman who did get dressed up to go to the office and doesn’t want to lose that aspect, however, is not dressing up to the degree of a year ago.”
Buying lingerie and athleisure is becoming a form of retail therapy for many women, Cosgrave said.
“It is an affordable luxury,” she said. “It’s an impulse buy that’s not going to dent one’s mortgage payments or car payments.”
In recessions past, women bought lipstick instead. But lipstick and masks …not the best combination.
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
Pfizer said early data show its coronavirus vaccine is effective. So what’s next?
In the last few months, Pfizer and its partner BioNTech have shared other details of the process including trial blueprints, the breakdown of the subjects and ethnicities and whether they’re taking money from the government. They’re being especially transparent in order to try to temper public skepticism about this vaccine process. The next big test, said Jennifer Miller at the Yale School of Medicine, comes when drug companies release their data, “so that other scientists who the public trust can go in, replicate findings, and communicate them to the public. And hopefully build appropriate trust in a vaccine.”
How is President-elect Joe Biden planning to address the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic turmoil it’s created?
On Nov. 9, President-Elect Joe Biden announced three co-chairs of his new COVID-19 task force. But what kind of effect might this task force have during this transition time, before Biden takes office? “The transition team can do a lot to amplify and reinforce the messages of scientists and public health experts,” said Dr. Kelly Moore, associate director for the Immunization Action Coalition. Moore said Biden’s COVID task force can also “start talking to state leaders and other experts about exactly what they need to equip them to roll out the vaccines effectively.”
What does slower retail sales growth in October mean for the economy?
It is a truism that we repeat time and again at Marketplace: As goes the U.S. consumer, so goes the U.S. economy. And recently, we’ve been seeing plenty of signs of weakness in the consumer economy. Retail sales were up three-tenths of a percent in October, but the gain was weaker than expected and much weaker than September’s. John Leer, an economist at Morning Consult, said a lack of new fiscal stimulus from Congress is dampening consumers’ appetite to spend. So is the pandemic.
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