Shropshire Star

The business suit is back and more accessible than ever, says firm's MD

The business suit is back – and it's not just in the office that men are dressing to impress.

Austen Pickles

Covid may have, for a time, sounded something of a death knell for the suit as millions set up work at home and, no longer under the watchful eye of bosses, settled for a day in loungewear.

But there has been a big rise again in the suit market since Covid and it continues to grow year on year.

The Asda Collection

Annual sales of men's formal wear in the UK – formal trousers, blazers, suits and shirts – value £1bn, with total suit sales at £430m.

And according to Austen Pickles, 54 – who has led the team behind a new Asda suit collection, costing just £60 – things are showing no sign of stopping.

"Things went off-the-scale in terms of casual wear in the pandemic," said Austen, Managing Director of PDS Tailoring. "But what we are seeing now is that everyone has got smart again and no-one want to wear joggers any more. The market is 60 per cent bigger now than the end of the pandemic and growing every year."

And it's not just for business that men are now dressing up. Indeed, Austen says there's an appetite for a smarter look at the weekend.

"We are seeing more men wearing blazers and smartening up as a bit of a fashion thing," he said.

"Ten years ago, men were wearing suits in the office and, almost as the antithesis of that, they would wear casual clothes at the weekend – jeans and trainers et cetera.

"But actually, as more and more have dressed casually for work, especially with days at home, there's now more of an appetite to be smarter at the weekend. I'm not saying people are going to the pub with a tie on but people put, say, a smart blazer on with a t-shirt to go out. You have seen a casualisation of formal tailoring, a suit with trainers, for example."

Austen Pickles

Austen speaks with great passion about the importance of a business suit and is a believer that they should be accessible to everyone.

"Everybody deserves to look a million dollars, but not everyone has thousands to spend on a suit" is something he believes.

And it's why he's proud of the new suit collection he has created with Asda.

"We do a lot of business with George at Asda," he said. "It started with a premium range, called Studio Edit, which was great but now we worked really closely with their design team and put together this new collection."

Costing just £60 for a jacket and trousers, it's available from 200 stores, including in Asda Donnington Wood in Telford, plus stores in Staffordshire and the Black Country.

The new range includes six versatile suits, with trousers from £20 and fully lined jackets for just £40. It also comprises waistcoats in plain navy and grey classic cuts.

"It ticks all the boxes of essential wardrobe classics and we are proud of the collection," says Austen.

"Asda are becoming a destination for formal tailoring, capitalising on the fact there is growth in the market and the demand for suits is strong.

"But wearing a suit shouldn't only something that someone with a lot of cash can do."

In discussion about the suit collection

"This range has made it accessible to people who want to dress up and be smart. It's unbelievable value, the cheapest on market and a brilliant range.

"It's a great value outfit with a big impact and I just think it's so important to own a business suit. A well-tailored suit has an incredibly positive impact on how you look and feel and increases your confidence in all kinds of situations. You command respect and are taken seriously. Hopefully with more initiatives like this, tailoring will be more affordable, more will be able to wear them, that's my hope."

You can find out more about the suits at

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