Unlike previous generations, millennials don’t need nor want three wardrobes: wear to work, recreation and going out. The casualization of the workplace has ostensibly shrunk their closet and their apparel spending when compared to the prior generation. The millennials dress more individualistically and are less likely to conform and buy into a current trend, making it tougher for apparel retailers to offer product that appeals to them… the priorities of the millennial consumer are much more focused on technology (the smart phone!) and experiences (travel and dining out), further heightening the shift in spending away from apparel.
Richard Jaffe, a business analyst at Stifel, as quoted in this Buzzfeed piece on the struggles of retailers like the Gap and J. Crew. The theory goes that most people (not just millennials) now want either luxury, aspirational stuff or fast fashion, and that the youth don’t care as much about dressing to fit in (although I think the crowds at cheap, on-trend clothing sources like H+M refute that a little).
As a borderline millennial with a desk job, I still pretty clearly demarcate my work clothing, my chillin’ clothing, and going out clothing. How about you?