by Karen Alberg Grossman

The entire MR team is proud to present our February 2023 print edition. Haven’t gotten your copy, yet? Feel free to page through a digital copy at Issuu, and we’ll continue to post the individual stories on If you haven’t been getting MR in print, be sure that you are on our mailing list for future issues by completing this form.

THERE’S NO QUESTION that tailored clothing was a bright spot in 2022. Merchants across the country reported strong gains, despite supply chain issues that left them short of inventory early in the fall season and (for some) over-inventoried when fall orders were finally shipped.

Above image, clockwise from left: Coppley, Zanetti Blue, Hickey Freeman, Isaia, Iconics by Samuelsohn.

Reasons for strong year-end increases: offices opening again, lots of spring/summer weddings, and a whole new way of dressing that involves softer unstructured jacket-like pieces (can someone please come up with a better name than shackets?) and lightweight outerwear pieces—both categories to be worn indoors and out, dressed up and dressed down.

According to MR research, independent specialty stores in 2022 did an average 35 percent of their total menswear volume in tailored clothing, ranging from 11 to 60 percent. A healthy 29 percent did half or more of their menswear volume in tailored clothing, and 44 percent did a third or more.


According to Blacks Retail data (representing 110 specialty stores), increases (2022 over 2021) were impressive, especially for the spring/summer
season: 68 percent in suits, 121 percent in formal- wear, 58 percent in special order, 56 percent in sportcoats, 44 percent in soft coats and 38 percent in dress pants. Look at those maintained margins: 60 percent in suits and dress pants, and 59 percent in formalwear and sportcoats. Yes, plans for spring 2023 are up only in the low single digits, but on top of a record year, that’s worth celebrating.

In the pages that follow: a state-of-the-industry with Peerless president Dan Orwig, a close-up look at Canadian retailer Tip Top Tailors, whose president and CEO Lance Itkoff is gaining share in the still-booming wedding business, an interview with Belk’s GVP Selena Hanks on how they’re setting records in tailored clothing, and insights from various clothing makers on how men will be dressing this fall.

We believe that, even beyond weddings, men want to dress up again. The “new wardrobe” involves creative combinations, much layering, and interesting accessories. It’s an art form that, explained and presented with impact, could prove the dawn of a whole new fashion era for men.

Year-over-Year Retail Performance of Dress-Up Categories: Increases, Margins and Plans Research courtesy of Steve Pruitt from Blacks Retail, representing 110 upper-moderate to luxury stores.


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