Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Rental vs. Purchase - Style Trends

I was recently interviewed for a newspaper article asking about formalwear trends and the differences in rentals versus purchases. That is, were people renting the same type of tuxedos as they were purchasing?

Interesting question. Rentals are a short-term committment. People who rent are often younger and looking to make a sharper fashion statement (or perhaps not yet sure of their fashion level and more willing to experiment). We have noticed that "hot" rental tuxedos tend to be high fashion garments - Jean Yves Mirage - a prime example. Very sharp. But are these fashion tuxedos (mandarin collars, knee length coats) tomorrows powder blue puppies? Will you look back at photos in ten years time and wonder why on earth you wore that?

Far and away our best selling tuxedos are one and two button notch lapel tuxedos. These are classics that will stand the test of time and vagaries of fashion. We assume purchasers are thinking long-term and don't want to have to think if their formalwear is acceptable for the next invitation they receive.

But it got me to think about the differences between how men and women shop.

Women think nothing of buying an expensive formal gown and wearing it once, maybe twice. Average cost/wearing $xxx.xx. Men routinely ask us if their purchase will be in fashion in 5 to 10 years time and will wear it 3 or 4 times a year. Average cost/wearing - peanuts. (which, of course, proves the point it's cheaper to buy than rent - but I digress. . .).

What's the point? Why don't guys say to themselves, "Hey, I want to look different tonight. I'll buy an outstanding fashion tuxedo and know it will be retired within a year but look FANTASTIC while I'm wearing it"? Perhaps we should instead be asking why is it acceptable for a woman to spend hundreds (thousands) for one night?

I summarized the trends for the reporter as follows: customers who rent tend to be younger and tend to be looking for sharper fashions. Customers who buy tend to purchase for the long run and are willing to spice up their outfit with different vests/ties/cummerbunds over the course of time. Nonetheless, I couldn't help but envy '' selling formalwear to women who will come back event after event to purchase another new outfit . . .


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