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Why Bloomingdale’s Is Banking on Soft Tailoring for Spring/Summer 2020

It’s good to be in menswear.

With men’s retailers ramping up their online outreach and offerings, and brands adding more performance qualities to versatile garments, a surge of newness is giving consumers reason to update their closets. In fact, a 2018 L2 report projects menswear revenues will outpace women’s wear revenue by 2020.

And the buzz building on opposite ends of the men’s wear style spectrum is undeniably helping. Both casual streetwear and traditional tailoring are poised have a strong Spring/Summer 2020 season—trends that excite Justin Berkowitz, Bloomingdale’s director of menswear.

This week at Project New York, Berkowitz shared his fashion wisdom and what lies ahead for the new buying season.

“We’re really at an exciting moment in menswear,” he said. “Men are more open to trying new things like different colors and patterns, and maybe picking up some things that they would not have historically touched, which I think is really, really exciting.”

Justin Berkowitz, Bloomingdale’s director of menswear
Justin Berkowitz, Bloomingdale’s director of menswear

Prep is back

Color, prints and tailoring are among the key menswear stories for Spring/Summer 2020.

“We’re seeing a lot of great pastels,” Berkowitz said, noting that these seasonal options add excitement to the sales floor. And while the average city dweller may live in black, navy and gray, he expects these pop colors to become a popular choice for travel, weddings and other social occasions.

With the much talked-about return of tailored fashion, Bloomingdale’s finds itself in a strong place.

“At Bloomingdale’s we’ve never really stepped away from the tailored clothing customer,” Berkowitz said. “For us, it’s a really core part of our business and thing that will never move away from. We feel very strongly that a guy will need a suit or a sports jacket for some moment in his life.”

Streetwear to stay

The intrigue surrounding streetwear can’t be ignored. Defined by Berkowitz as “anything with a sports infliction” like a graphic tee or pant with a stripe down the leg, streetwear, he says, has the ability to lure in a new customer, or give the tailored customer a fresh option for the weekend.

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The garments are also prime Instagram bait.

“I think one of the reason that we’ve had this huge influx of streetwear is because we’ve also had a huge influx of social media,” he said.

The clothing is graphic, colorful and oftentimes emblazed with a bold logo or artwork—elements that Berkowitz says tends to play well across apps like Instagram. This combination of social media and streetwear, he added, has translated into a much broader base of consumers than most fashion trends experience.

Soft serve

Comfort will continue to drive future trends. Berkowitz sees a “softening” of menswear—a trend spurred by streetwear’s emphasis on jersey constructions. The result will be menswear finding a middle ground between street and tailor.

“I think what we’ll see is this coming together with more a tailored aesthetic that is a little bit softer,” he said. “And a streetwear aesthetic that is little bit more polished.” Garments that speak to the idea of athletic inspiration, he said, will take on a more fluid feel and be done in a more elegant way than jersey or sweatshirt materials. Expect to see soft jackets, trouser with a drapey hand feel or pants with a drawstring waist as opposed to a fashion belt.

For S/S 2020, Berkowitz says Bloomingdale’s is betting on what it’s calling the “easy” pant—an elevated version of an athletic track pant.

The bottom, he described, has a classic rise, a single or two pleats and maybe a drawstring waistband or elastic in the back. “It’s a slightly less literal translation of a very high fashion concept, but also happens to be incredibly comfortable for the male consumer,” he said.

It’s the mix, Berkowitz said, that makes men’s fashion feel modern. “It’s not quite so scripted or defined that it should be certain things head to toe,” he said. “It’s about how people choose to put things together in unexpected ways.”