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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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Move to darker suits reflects darker employee mood


It appears that, since the start of the recession, navy suits are no longer de rigueur but have instead been replaced in sartorial terms by charcoal as a reflection of employees’ darker mood.

According to workwear specialists Alexandra, sales of navy blue suits have dropped from 47% of the total in 2005 to only 37% last year, while the number of charcoal suits walking out of the door has risen steadily from 9% to 11%.
Nick Acaster, the firm’s marketing director and a qualified psychologist, said: “While people may be continuing to rise to the many challenges that come their way, subliminally, their work clothes are projecting a different image, which has become more monotone in line with the bleaker economic climate.”
Colours such as charcoal and black are commonly connected to depression as they absorb other shades and reflect nothing back, while blue is associated with soothing and calming feelings, he added.
The sale of black suits remained stable at 40% between 2005 and 2011, however, implying perhaps that British workers are not the happiest of souls at the best of times, while the sale of pinstripe suits rose from 2% to 7%. But it was unclear what the latter meant in psychological terms beyond professionals feeling that they should look a bit smarter maybe.
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Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett

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