Even During This ‘Work From Home’ Era, Men’s Clothing Store Owners Say Suits Are Still In Demand

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If you normally wear a suit and have been working from home recently, you’ve probably had to only dress from the waist up. With that in mind, KX News wanted to know how sales have been at men’s clothing stores, specifically suit sales.

Alex Dahl has been working in men’s fashion for 10 years and has been co-owner of Halberstadt’s in Bismarck for about a year and a half.

“I’ve always liked men’s fashion, just because you can express yourself. There’s always different colors or fits,” Dahl said.

He said business has been good since the Bismarck location opened three years ago; it’s also been a bit of a challenge.

He took over as co-owner in February of 2020 and then a month later came the coronavirus.

“It was nerve-racking, obviously being a new business owner.”

He said there was a definite lull in business, but there are plenty of suits still being sold. With more online meetings, he says he’s seen a change in what customers are wanting to wear.

“Sportcoats have definitely been more upticked just because it’s a lot more versatile. You can pair it with jeans; it doesn’t always necessarily need a necktie,” Dahl said.

“My parents started it and I came into the business right out of college, worked for my dad and mom for a few years, and then they sold it to me,” Barry Hansen said.

Since 1981, Barry Hansen has been the owner of Hansen’s Mens Wear. He, like Dahl, has a passion for men’s fashion and really hasn’t thought about any other career choice. Hansen said great customer service, loyal customers and just being in business so long has helped throughout the pandemic, along with a different kind of help.

“The government had the EIDL and the PPP it got us through it. So, it’s pretty much back to normal now.”

Hansen said his clients are wearing suits more now for occasions, such as weddings or funerals. And while he still sells about the same amount, he has noticed a trend to the more casual.

“I did notice that my jeans sales got better,” Hansen said.

To button up this story, both men say don’t worry, suits are here to stay. It’s just up to the customer and their need or desire to buy one.

Dahl said Halberstadt’s is putting confidence in the fact that men in North Dakota want to stay fashionable. They’re opening a second location this Fall, which will be located at Kirkwood Mall. As for Hansen’s, Barry said he’ll be running the store for about another 5 to 10 years. After that, he’d like to see his family’s store press on, but in the hands of someone who can continue to provide great customer service.

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